Clubs adapt to virtual learning environments


Lane’s robotics team, the Chicago Style BotDogs, works on a robot in March 2020. (Photo courtesy of Mr. Law)

By Ella Dame, Managing Editor


Students power up their electronic devices, attend Google Meets, and virtually learn through the school day. As the school day winds down, however, a new facet of the day begins: club life. Filling out Google Forms to apply for various clubs, sending in video recording for dancing clubs, and attending 9th period video calls to meet with their clubs will be reality for students this year.

Clubs are an extremely important and consequential aspect of high school life and for the college admissions process, according to the Princeton Review; they provide students with an opportunity to meet others and serve as an extracurricular on students’ transcripts.

With school being completely virtual for the start of the school year, club meetings and events will have to adapt to being performed on an online platform. This year, Lane will be hosting virtual Club Days rather than the normal in-person one that occurs each year, according to the Student Council.

 Club leadership, as well as Student Council, is in charge of coordinating remote club activities. Executive Board President Alanna Gonoude, Div. 162, has been communicating with Assistant Principal Ms. Hanly and Gonoude’s fellow board members to adjust clubs and how they will function this year through Google Meets and emails. 

“Honestly I know it’s going to be a mess at first, but I hope students will be able to adapt and overcome the challenges of having online clubs and extracurriculars,” Gonoude said.

The Student Council has also been tackling a prospective drop in students’ interest in clubs. Gonoude said she fears that students may not be participating but hopes they try to stay involved and give online clubs a shot.

“I do think [freshmen] should try, as even though clubs are online, they’re still a way to interact with students and make friends, which are essential in high school,” Gonoude said.

Elizabeth Ziemer, Div. 170, Captain of the Robotics team, shared a sentiment similar to Gonoude’s when considering the upcoming obstacles this year will bring, as well as the positive outcome it could have.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little concerned — it’s not easy to stomach that things are changing so much and so quickly, but I can offset those worries with the fact that I’m not alone,” Ziemer said. “All of the team leaders, and our coaches, are working hard to make this happen. No matter how it turns out, I know it’s going to be worthwhile.”

The goals of the clubs may have remained the same but the methods which are used to accomplish them have been altered. For example, the Robotics team, also known as the Chicago Style BotDogs, is still planning to compete with new robots this year requiring a physical robot, according to Ziemer. While the team expects to need to produce a bot, the actual way this will be done is up in the air at the moment.

“We don’t completely know what to anticipate, but I have so much confidence in the team and it looks like we’re going to have a lot to offer while we’re remote,” Ziemer said. “There are ideas floating around that range from projects with common household materials to machine design competitions.”

Even with uncertainty, Gonoude hopes students will still join clubs and see the upside of things.

“Honestly just have hope,” Gonoude said. “We’re in really tough times right now, but we need to push through it and see the bright sides of things.”