By Camie Strojny, Sports Editor

It is not a secret that Covid-19 is affecting everyone’s lives. Extracurriculars at Nantucket High School are especially suffering with the hybrid learning module and difficulty with reaching virtual students for Google Hangout meetings. A lot of seniors are struggling with gathering the graduation requirement of completing twenty-hours of community service because many volunteering opportunities are not available with this COVID lifestyle being the new normal.

In the beginning of the school year, there were 21 clubs offered for students to sign-up for and get involved in. As far as Veritas can discern, there are now only 12 clubs that are active, defined as meeting at least semi-regularly. In the last year not affected by the pandemic, there were fully 28 clubs.

This is not to say the other nine clubs that are not active did not make an effort to function, because a lot of clubs were simply unable to. Senior Bella Cutone, co-president of Spirit Club, a now inactive club, speaks about the difficulties in running a club with the ongoing pandemic: “With the inability to attend games and the absence of pep rallies, it’s proved to be a challenge to keep our club running this year. Our friend Hank the Harpoon Man would have loved to watch everyone compete in their games and meets, however, due to covid restrictions he’s been unable to. It’s the little things like this that have caused some trouble for Spirit Club during this crazy time,” she said.

Along with this, gaining interest and attention in underclassmen in joining extracurricular activities has been extremely difficult. Thus, they have been underrepresented across the clubs presented at NHS. Debate Club, for example, is primarily composed of pre-existing members, as President of Debate Club JohnCarl McGrady states, “we don’t meet very often at all, and it’s basically impossible to draw in new people.” A lot of clubs are experiencing challenges with gaining overall interest in new and young students. 

Freshman Lily Remick accounts for her class, “It’s been hard to want to be around groups of people, especially people I don’t know or that I’m not close to, due to the fact that we were in quarantine for so long. We haven’t been in many social settings or been able to get comfortable around many people again.” It is normal for freshmen to feel intimidation by new surroundings and adjusting to high school in itself, let alone during a pandemic. Freshmen, like Remick, have ventured out to an extent by joining sports teams over clubs for the most part. She goes on to say, “I think that the pandemic has caused social anxiety for many, especially freshmen who are adjusting to being in high school. Clubs can be intimidating right now because of the lack of in person school exposure.”

As far as volunteer hours go, students must keep an eye out for the limited events and organizations that are offering community service. One can do this by checking the Advisory Announcements email sent out by Mrs. Manning every Tuesday and Friday with service opportunities listings. Seanda Bartlett, Innovation Pathways Coordinator, agrees that Covid-19 has impacted community service hours. It is primarily because many organizations that normally offer community service at their events are holding virtual events nowadays, which require far less volunteers. However, this is not stopping administrators from aiding in the students, “Because the organizations are not reaching out looking for students, we have had to be more proactive and create opportunities for students to volunteer,” Bartlett says.  

Seniors that have not been volunteering actively throughout high school will be taking the biggest hit when it comes to scholarship season. Ms. Bartlett states, “Many of the scholarships seniors will be applying for are community service-based,” but adds student’s don’t need to worry too much because she is “always willing to work with students.” She advises struggling students to come and talk to her, and not to put it off, for the school breaks provide a great time to get your hours completed.

It is hoped that once more vaccines are distributed, life can slowly return to normal and students will have the opportunity to live a normal high school experience. While that normalcy is dependent on our actions, there are still ten clubs that are still active and awaiting new members: Diversity Club with Ms. Echeveria, Spanish Club, with Mrs. Surprenant, Sudoku Club, with Mr. Psaradelis, Veritas with Ms. Martineau, Debate Club with Mrs. Brannigan, Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) with Mr. Lucas, Quiz Bowl with Ms. Hickson,  Environmental Club with Ms. Erisman. ACKTeen Mentoring with Blair Janelle, and Yearbook Club with Ms. Mason. National Honors Society and Student Council also continue to operate as clubs, but to join these clubs you must either be selected or voted in at the start of the year, so they are not currently looking for new members. 

Editor’s Note: Many seniors involved in Veritas are also involved in many others clubs, as well. We are willing to help and guide any students through the difficult process of joining a club during the pandemic.

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