Exciting New Clubs for the 2015-16 School Year

Kavya Tangella, Staff Writer

This year, Ward Melville is as busy as ever with the introduction of more than 10 new clubs! These clubs give students with a wide variety of interests an opportunity to learn and thrive. Three of these many clubs include International Cultures Club, Debate Team, and the Secular Student Alliance.

International Cultures Club (ICC) is run by Ms. Michel and was started by a truly culturally passionate junior, Kevin Wen. Wen was inspired to start this club because of his experience in Murphy’s International Day. He wanted there to be a club to celebrate cultures on a regular basis rather than on only one allotted day. Wen says that people will enjoy coming to ICC because they’ll be able to “discover the diversity within Ward Melville” and “learn about other countries around the world.” Every Tuesday, members of ICC will participate and learn about “crafts, cuisine, and information” relating to one particular culture and will leave the meeting feeling like they’ve had fun and learned something. Wen is “hoping for a fun-filled year in which we all can enjoy discovering parts of different cultures and increasing our knowledge of the world!”

Debate Team is another one of the many exciting new clubs being introduced to Ward Melville this year. This team will be run by Ms. Porter and was started by a devoted debater, Emily Xu. Xu started this club because she “was previously in a debate team and experienced a lot of success and fun.” This year, she hopes to teach students the basics of Lincoln Douglass debate and help them “improve public speaking and have the opportunity to experience debate in organized tournaments with other schools.”  She encourages all students with an interest in debate and speaking to join, and she is looking forward to an enjoyable and competitive year!

The Secular Student Alliance was formed by the active atheist, Thomas Sheedy. He realized that there were many students in Ward Melville who self-identified themselves as “Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists, Skeptics, and Freethinkers” but didn’t have a place to express the ideas that “they’re not allowed to share in their religious households.” Though he thought of this idea in September of 2013, he wasn’t able to find many willing to help form this club. However, he persevered and gradually gained support for his club. He “saw how John Raney used the Equal Access Act to his advantage” and followed in his footsteps to create this alliance for the benefit of Ward Melville students. His plan is to “discuss different events, secular holidays, terms, ideologies, and political viewpoints” and  “organize different events during the school year, such as debates, field trips, and speaker events” along with “local secular activism so students can be engaged outside the classroom.” Sheedy says that he wants his club to “provide a safe space for non-religious students” and “ eliminate the stigma that Atheists are immoral.” He encourages both atheists and non-atheists to join this mission for the separation of church and state. You can contact Thomas Sheedy at wardmelville.hs@secularstudents.org and be sure to check out his page on facebook at facebook.com/groups/WardMelvilleSSA2016.

Be sure to check out the Ward Melville website for listings of the many other new clubs formed. This extracurricular year is sure to be an exciting and rewarding one for students from all backgrounds!