Latin Extracurriculars Persevere Online


Robert Igbokwe, Co-Editor-in-Chief

When Latin closed its building in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, extracurricular and athletic events were canceled in tandem. However, many Latin clubs and organizations have found creative ways to stay active online, even with the lack of in-person contact.

For many clubs and organizations, social media platforms, especially Instagram, have been instrumental in ensuring that their members know they are not on hiatus. Henry Coleman, a junior grade representative, says, “Student government has been brainstorming ways to spark community engagement, mostly across social media. Specifically, each of the grades’ Instagram pages have been hosting meme contests with an Amazon gift card prize.” Similarly, Lulu Ruggiero, one of the heads of Latin’s Alliance for Women (LAW), says, “we’ve been active with emails and on Instagram to keep our members engaged and supply them with resources to use while in self-quarantine.”

A few clubs went the extra-step and began hosting meetings on remote conferencing services such as Zoom and Google Hangout. “Discourses has been working online together through Google Docs, Google Meets, and text. Our efforts have been pretty successful,” says Maeve Healy, one of the heads of Discourses. “It’s obviously not the same as meeting in person, but it still gets the job done.” LAW also began holding online meetings last Saturday. Lily Weaver is a co-head of the club. “We had about 12 members attend; I was so happy to hear everyone’s voices,” she said. “We discussed school, what we have been doing to keep busy, the pros and cons of remote learning, baking recipes, and summer plans. LAW is planning to hold another Google Hangout meeting this coming Saturday.” 

Even extracurricular groups that are particularly reliant on in-person contact have found ways to stay in touch during quarantine. “Roman-2-Roman sent out emails to mentors. We asked mentors to reach out to their mentees to check in and let them know that they are available to talk if needed,” explains Jess Flohr, a head of Roman-2-Roman. “Furthermore, we emailed mentees to let them know that their mentors should be reaching out and to also tell them that the R2R Steering Committee is more than happy to answer any questions that they may have.” Some mentor pairings have even held their own online meetings. 

Even though many of these organizations usually aren’t active during spring break, their efforts are motivated by a recognition that, now more than ever, students need to be reminded that they are part of a community. “The LAW heads and I wanted to make sure that our members feel supported by one another in this time of quarantine,” says Emily Breitenecker, a head of LAW. “We created a group Padlet where people can put creative suggestions on how they have kept busy. This list included making bread, taking online dance classes, listening to the podcast the Daily, and various types of coloring books, to name a few.” Henry agrees, saying, “In the future, we’ll probably try to do more things like the meme contests in an effort to bring the high school together a little bit more.”

Thankfully, faculty advisers who are usually on break have also been adaptive and willing to help the heads of clubs and organizations. Maya Passman, a head of LAW, says, “We have been able to get in touch with Ms. Barker. She has been super helpful.” The heads of Roman to Roman, Discourses, and Student Government have also stayed in contact with their advisers.

As the pandemic approaches its peak, and it becomes clearer that student clubs and organizations may not meet in person until next semester, more student leaders are adopting remote participation. Kiera Stallworth, a head of the school’s Black Student Union (BSU), is currently organizing a Zoom call for the affinity. “It’s obvious that we won’t be able to meet in person until at least May 1, so we’re trying to move online. I’m sure more affinities and clubs will follow because it’s either that or stay inactive for a whole quarter which isn’t productive at all.”