Do we really ever have the full picture of high school clubs? When some students think about joining a school activity, they consider the sports teams, the musical groups, student government and academic clubs, and then, oftentimes, assume they don't fit in with any of the clubs at their school. However, many school clubs go far beyond the conventional. Throughout Western New York, high schools are crawling with quirky, interesting and extraordinary clubs.
The City Honors Quidditch Club is perhaps as quirky as they come. Every spring, members can be found running around Rumsey Field in Delaware Park on broomsticks, tossing quaffles (balls) through hoops. Following rules set by the IQA (Intercollegiate Quidditch Association), the students play a modified version of Quidditch, the sport from J.K Rowling's "Harry Potter" book series. The club, founded just last year, had an impressive 30 members in its intramural competitions.
Team member Nadine Pershyn, a sophomore at City Honors, says, "I'm a Harry Potter freak, so it's helped me feel closer to the characters and the books. It's also nice to just fool around with my friends and just have fun."
While City Honors students explore a fantasy world, some Lake Shore students are out exploring ours with Outdoor Adventure Club. This offbeat club is for outdoor lovers and hikers. The members meet every other Tuesday after school to plan their next hiking trip and organize fundraisers.
According to second-year member, Amanda Bailey, the club traveled to Thunder Rocks and the Eternal Flame at Chestnut Ridge last year.
The 2010-11 school year is only the second year of this club, and the cozy group of 35 last year more than doubled at their first meeting this year with an overwhelming 78 students.
Amanda says that what she really likes about the club is being able to just be outside with her friends and never worrying about how she'll get to her locations since it's run through school. She says she also enjoys learning about wildlife and survival.
Although Lake Shore lives on the wild side with hiking and camping trips, some Canisius students just like to chill out after school every Thursday. The Canisius High School Meditation Club has helped senior, Luca Beale, to keep a cool head through all of his studies.
Not a strict club, the number of attendees fluctuates from week to week. Every Thursday, the meeting starts with a relaxation exercise led by Amy Kimmel, the club's teacher adviser. Kimmel leads the students through a process in which they tighten every muscle group in their body and then loosen them one by one to help them relax and release tension.
Luca says his favorite part of meditation is "the few moments right after. I'm feeling completely relaxed, my mind is calm, and everything seems quiet. The sheer power of meditation is always an exhilarating experience, each and every time."
Orchard Park High School has an out-of-the-box club of its own, Rock Band Jam Club. This club does exactly what the name implies. Students get together after school with their various musical instruments and jam. It's a relatively small club, with only 10 members, but that doesn't stop them from covering big rock songs.
Currently, they're working on "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day.
Second-year member Nic Hooper, says, "I really like playing my guitar with other people and being exposed to new music."
Rock Band Jam Club members perform mostly current, well-known rock music, although they have dabbled in classic rock as well.
For some students at City Honors, activism is their club of choice. The City Honors Gay Straight Alliance is an extraordinary group of students, gay and straight, led by president Cypress Marrs, a senior.
Cypress has been a member since her freshman year and says that GSA serves as an opportunity for members to engage in activism, provides information on current issues and also acts as a support group.
Typically, about eight members attend each meeting, but throughout the school many more partake.
When asked how many activism events the GSA participates in during the school year, Cypress responded, "I don't know, I feel like the club existing -- just existing -- is activism, that being present somehow changes the climate of our school."
In the relatively liberal City Honors community, GSA does just that, urging students to be more accepting and open-minded.
Whether an under-the-radar school club is odd, adventurous, calming, rocking or extraordinary, they all deserve as much recognition as is given to the conventional clubs and activities. These are only five examples of quirky and extraordinary clubs throughout Western New York. Chances are, if you look around your school, you'll find a few and maybe one that interests you.