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Extramural extracurriculars

By Bertina Fan, Janice Lee, Miranda Lu and Norah Shen Oct. 15, 2020


While the proceedings of academic courses in the wake of the pandemic have largely been settled, how extracurricular activities operate remotely is constantly changing, as many of them involve hands-on activities and work best in a shared physical location. Distance learning has brought many difficulties, but the students and staff involved in these activities continue to adapt while striving towards their goals. Luckily, students participating in activities such as peer tutoring, ASB, drama and speech & debate can still engage in their passions.


Courtesy of Peer Tutoring

Peer Tutoring

Aiming to provide students with an easily accessible resource for academic assistance, peer tutoring has redesigned their program to function entirely online.


“Although teachers give their best effort to provide as much support as possible, they can only help to a certain extent. Peer tutoring gives students the opportunity to get help in any class through a one-on-one setting that they can access from home,” Senior Kathryn Le said.


Moving the program online took months of preparation for Thoman and student leaders. All physical files and materials had to be moved onto online documents and all tutors had to create online profiles for tutees to choose from.


While most students were unfamiliar with the format of online tutoring at the beginning of the year, approximately 50 students have signed up to help the program grow and reach out to more students. Furthermore, peer tutoring’s new system is one that can potentially be used even after the school reopens.


“I would like to have online sessions as an option for peer tutoring when we return to campus. Some students prefer this to in-person meetings, and it is often more flexible in terms of tutor and tutee availability. Usually, tutors could only hold in-person sessions to 5 p.m. Online sessions can start at 7 p.m. or 8 p.m.,” Peer Tutor Coordinator Kat Thoman, Math Department, said.


Courtesy of ASB

ASB

When in-person classes were in session, Associated Student Body (ASB) was responsible for promoting and hosting school-wide events intended to bolster school spirit. However, due to the nature of the pandemic, the club has found itself working harder to reach out to the community.


“Because we do not have on-campus events such as dances and rallies that are taking up our time, we have more time to work on building connections,” Activities Director and Leadership Advisor, Meg Walsh said.


This year, ASB has been conducting activities with a greater focus on creating local connections. They wrote thank-you letters to local firefighters, conceptualized plans to recognize students and their achievements and are currently brainstorming ideas for a virtual homecoming rally. ASB also recently collaborated with Blvd Coffee in making the Super Charger drink, emphasizing bonds between the school and the rest of the Almaden community. Furthermore, to reach out to students, ASB has created a Google Classroom for each grade.


“While ASB cannot hold as many events as we did previously, we still want to stay in contact with students and other members of the community. Despite the pandemic, we aim to make high school more enjoyable for everyone,” Senior Sahana Venkatesh, ASB President, said.


Courtesy of Drama

Drama

Putting on plays and musicals, drama students typically spend their time preparing for live performances. While the ability to participate in group work has been hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the class continues to explore the different aspects of drama with individual assignments.


In class, cast members have been working on writing original monologues, while stage and sound management study scripts for light and sound cues. Additionally, costume designers create mood boards and sketches and prop masters brainstorm different props that could be used in performances.


To increase collaboration within each drama position, classes have also been rescheduled: actors now have class on Wednesdays and Fridays and crew members go on Tuesdays and Thursdays.


“Despite having different roles, drama students are usually very closely-knit. With all classes being online, it is much harder to get to know and collaborate with others,” Senior Lindsey Evon said.


Despite the challenges of building class bonds online, drama continues to brainstorm ways to effectively collaborate during distance learning. Furthermore, they are currently preparing for a virtual performance in November.


Courtesy of Speech and Debate

Speech and Debate

In a regular year, students in Speech and Debate compete in tournaments every weekend. Amidst the pandemic, students continue to attend tournaments virtually, but find that preparing for them is more difficult online.


During class, students now split up into their coaches’ personal rooms to work on their projects.


“The biggest challenge for Speech and Debate is the loss of the sense of community that people usually love. Video calls are much more awkward compared to in-person meetings, as it is easy to accidentally cut others off when talking,” Senior Parker Beyersdoerfer, Speech President, said.


Furthermore, Beyersdoerfer found that at tournaments, audience reactions and energy are now harder to gauge, as virtual tournaments essentially consist of people watching performances through their screens.


However, Senior Devon Shao, Debate President, made it clear that the changes were not all negative. For instance, chances to go to more tournaments across the nation, such as at Yale University and the University of Ky., opened up as restrictions imposed by transportation and money are less of a concern with virtual participation.

 

About the Contributors

Bertina Fan

Staff Writer


Bertina Fan is a sophomore at Leland High School and is a staff writer for The Charger Account. She likes to start off messages with "ヾ(°∇°*) Hi!"










Janice Lee

Staff Writer


Janice Lee, a senior, is a Staff Writer new to Journalism. Janice likes scouting in various gacha games, taking naps after-school, and reading visual novels.









Miranda Lu

Staff Writer


Miranda Lu is a sophomore at Leland High School and a staff writer. She enjoys hiking, reading, and watching movies in her free time.










Norah Shen

Staff Writer


Norah Shen is a freshman at Leland High School and is a new staff writer. She likes to read, listen to music, and relentlessly tease her younger sister.

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