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Clubs run rampant at Weber

The+Green+Team+and+GDSA+table+setup+for+Club+Fair+%28The+Weber+School+%2F+Mrs.+McCullough%29
The Green Team and GDSA table setup for Club Fair (The Weber School / Mrs. McCullough)

The Green Team and GDSA table setup for Club Fair (The Weber School / Mrs. McCullough)

The Green Team and GDSA table setup for Club Fair (The Weber School / Mrs. McCullough)

Matthew Sidewater

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With a vast amount of clubs to choose from this year, Weber students are increasingly afforded opportunities to discover what they are interested in. These groups help students to have fun and unwind during the week, and this can help them to take a break from their schoolwork.

Participating in clubs, many of which are considered student organizations, is also vital when it comes to being accepted into many colleges, as many colleges prefer to accept well-rounded students who are active in their communities. A handful of these organizations have been at Weber for many years.

The Model United Nations Club, which can also be referred to as Model UN or MUN, for example, “is a program where [students] learn about the rules and procedures of parliament style discussion,” according to Asher Stadler, the team’s president.

At MUN conferences, where MUN members compete, students debate current events such as the North Korean situation, water sanitation around the world, and the Syrian Refugee Crisis. These conferences are can be held out of state at various universities. In fact, Weber’s MUN team has been to UGA, Duke University and Georgia State University.

Since last year, the team has gone from meeting twice before a conference to once a week, each session lasting about an hour. Now, students are required to do more work than they did last year, which includes writing position papers and acting out mock committee sessions.

Mock Trial, another important student organization, run by Dean of 11th and 12th Grade Mr. Mitch White, started in the “2010-2011 school year when Sim Pearl, Jason Schneider (the current attorney coach), Jeff Brickman and Mr. White asked for and received an accommodation from the Georgia Bar Association to compete [in Mock Trial] on a day other than Saturday.” According to Mr. White, “Mock trial is an academic, rigorous extracurricular activity where students pretend to be attorneys and witnesses in a simulated courtroom trial.” Throughout these competitions, participants speak for two sides in a courtroom argument, the prosecutor or plaintiff, and the defense. According to Mr. White, students should understand how evidence works and how they may use it, while “witnesses pretend to be witnesses from the case.” The team is also extremely small, composed of 14 students: six witnesses, six attorneys, and two time keepers. However, if you are interested in Mock Trial, then you can speak to Mr. White or Coach John Barich about joining.

Last year, Weber’s Mock Trial team performed exceptionally well, getting to the district finals. If they had won in the district finals, then they would have gone on to compete at the state level in the next phase of the competition.

Mock Trial even incorporates Jewish ethics such as “education and inquiry,” according to Mr. White. He even went on to say that different areas of each case can mean different things depending on someone’s interpretation and argument of the case.

There are even organizations that help students put in some community service hours, such as the Office of Tikkun Olam, and the Friendship Circle.

The function of the Office of Tikkun Olam is to find volunteer opportunities for students, who need to complete 30 hours of community service this year. The Friendship Circle is an organization where students can volunteer to play with and befriend children with special needs, making life easier for them because they have more friends to spend time with.

Another important student organization at Weber is the Student Ambassadors Program, where Weber students advocate for the school and give tours to potential students. These student ambassadors are responsible for helping get Weber to having 269 students, the most amount of students enrolled in Weber history. The amount of Weber ambassadors has increased alongside the amount of Weber students. Mrs. Arkin, the head of Weber’s admissions, even began recruiting freshmen ambassadors in 2015. These students have been able to help meet individually with potential students to help them learn about specific activities that they are interested in.

Other student organizations are more fantastical, allowing students to find their inner nerdy self. One of these clubs is the Harry Potter Club, headed by Chloe Deutsch. Some activities planned include making butterbeer and their own wands.

Last year, the participants were able to take part in a fun scavenger hunt with a “fun active exercise that had to do with Harry Potter and your [each member’s] knowledge of the wizarding world. It was very satisfying in the end,” according to Sarah Lewyn.

Like any good Harry Potter Club, the students will be sorted into the four Hogwarts houses, Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw using a sorting quiz online. Each house’s occupants have different characteristics. Gryffindors, for example, are courageous leaders, while Slytherins are cunning people who will stop at almost nothing to achieve their ends. Ravenclaws are intelligent, liking to “learn for the sake of learning”, and Hufflepuffs are kind and dependable, according to Lewyn. Taking another sorting quiz helped her have faith that she was in the right house.

During meetings for The Breakfast Club, another fun, new student organization, “we [the club members] will digest the week and eat breakfast together, the most important meal of the day!” according to Sydney Fialkow, one of the group’s founders along with Brooke Orenstein (the Web Editor for The RamPage).

With the goal of helping its members to unwind before Shabbat, the club currently has around 60 members. Furthermore, Fialkow explained that the attendees will also have many interesting conversations during their meetings, such as “what is better- waffles or pancakes?”

Another new student organization, Rams for Israel, is aiming to teach Weber students to advocate for Israel both in and out of the classroom, and is currently over 20 members strong. Aaron Gordon, one of the founders of Rams for Israel, along with Sam Halpern (the Editor-in-Chief of this publication) and David Medof, explained that being able to advocate for Israel is an important skill for college. There may be anti-Israel and anti-semitic rhetoric on college campuses, so graduates need to be able to defend Israel against ignorant claims. Gordon further elaborated, however, that Weber students first need to be educated, stating, “something you don’t know about you can’t advocate for. Education is always the first step.”

Some aspects of Israel that Gordon wants to teach the students about are Israel’s culture, current events, and history. As part of its activities, the organization will be hosting speakers such as people from the IDF and Israeli Arabs. During meetings, members will discuss current events, partake in trivia, as well as in interactive activities planned. The group is also working with organizations such as AIPAC, StandWithUs, Jerusalem U, and the AJC.

From student organizations to the Harry Potter Club, Weber has a wide variety of clubs to choose from this year. By joining one of Weber’s many student organizations, students can pursue their interests and use their positions in these clubs in their college applications. Students may reach out to one of these groups and find out more about them here.

[The author of this article Matthew Sidewater is a member of some of the clubs listed here.]

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