Local high schools’ club activities get into full swing
October 25, 2011
Pingpong brings out competitive side of members
The sound echoes around the commons as pairs of people play in heated matches of table tennis, or as it’s more commonly known, ping-pong. Next week, Issaquah High School’s Ping-Pong Club will compete against each other for the titles of Master Ping and Disciple Pong.
• The club was founded last year by a group of pingpong fanatics, led by Pranav Mellacheruvu. They meet every Friday to play pingpong and sometimes compete. Tournaments are frequent, regimented affairs, with strict rules and even a small entry fee.
• The winner of a tournament will be crowned Master Ping — at least until the next tournament, when the title will once again be up for grabs. Mellacheruvu has kept the title for a long time, although recently he was upstaged by Kenneth Wang, the current Master Ping. Demoted to the humbling rank of Disciple Pong, it remains to be seen if Mellacheruvu will regain the ultimate title of the club he runs.
• A pingpong club meeting generally begins with a short talk from Mellacheruvu, who tells any newcomers the club’s purpose and goals, and then it’s off to the tables set up outside the gym, for an hour or two of pingpong before everyone heads home.
• Tournaments are a bit more festive, with a table of food set up for everyone to enjoy while they watch the best players duke it out for the championship. When the winner is declared, everyone cheers, and someone else will have the honor of being Master Ping, at least, for a little while.
Invisible Children Club has a global outreach
At Liberty High School, the Invisible Children Club is dedicated to helping those whose lives are filled with suffering. However, it differs from other clubs because its reach is felt on another continent.
The Invisible Children Club was founded to support the Invisible Children movement, a mass organization that seeks to end the suffering of the child soldiers who are forced to fight in the conflict in Northern Uganda. The organization’s main goals are to rebuild schools, educate future leaders and provide jobs to the area.
“I think people need to have a little bit more perspective about what’s happening in the world, and Invisible Children Club is a great way to help out with that,” club President Alex DuVall said. “You see what people’s lives are like halfway across the world, their struggling and how easy it is for us to help.”
At Liberty, the club’s main goals are to support the organization by both fundraising and raising awareness about the problem. Throughout the past couple of years, the club has organized screenings of films to educate people about the problem, and has had numerous fundraisers, the biggest of which was last year’s “Diversity Talent Show,” with performances from students, several short films and a multicultural fashion show.
Currently, the club is working on the Frontline fundraising campaign to support Invisible Children’s Protection Plan, which would build rehab centers for the ex-child soldiers and radio towers to alert people and keep them safe.
“All of the money in the Frontline fundraiser goes toward the Protection Plan, and the fundraiser goes on from now until Dec. 15,” DuVall said.
Liberty’s club has its own page for donations to Frontline and the Protection Plan at www.stayclassy.org/fundraise/ic-team?ftid=2714.
The Spartabots is more than just a robotics club
The Skyline Robotics Club is looking forward to an extremely exciting third year filled with team meetings, brainstorming sessions, workshops and competitions; all of these are centered around building robots that at times challenge even human abilities.
The creators of the robot range from ages 14 to 18.
The club’s mission statement states “We, the Spartabots, are committed to furthering the student and public knowledge in programming, tools and other skills associated with the development of a functional robot in the interest of promoting the future scientists and leaders of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields.”
In past years, the club’s main purpose was to engage in the National FIRST Robotics Competition, which is similar to any sports event. However, the players are 9-foot tall robots racing around, scoring goals for their teams, employing defensive tactics and climbing poles. Instead of sports coaches muttering into an earpiece, the coaches are exceptionally innovative students making their robots accomplish seemingly impossible moves and hoping their masterpiece doesn’t blow a fuse or start smoking on the field.
This year, the club plans to expand the opportunities it offers, including field trips that demonstrate robots at work every day — for example, a day at Swedish/Issaquah to witness the use of da Vinci surgical robots that operate on human beings. Students will also participate in workshops to expand their robot building skills, such as programming and CAD design.
The club is gaining new members every year. The Spartabots encourage every citizen of Issaquah to participate in the amazing world of robotics.
Students get published in The Sandbox
The Sandbox, a literary and arts magazine, is an annual publication of creative works by the students of Eastside Catholic High School. The magazine began in 1989 and collects submissions by students and is reviewed and put together by the editors, who have joined the club and attend its weekly meetings.
At this time of the year, the editors are busy advertising all around the school in artistic ways to call for submissions. For example, during the week of Halloween, The Sandbox editors are putting out a project called “Zombie Poetry.” All of the visual artists in the group are designing different pieces of visual art depicting zombies in some way along with a speech bubble for each zombie. The writers on staff are creating different short, silly poems for each day of the week leading up to Halloween — from the perspective of the zombies!
The Sandbox calls on people to showcase their gift of expression — essays, short stories, poems, photography, paintings, drawings, cartoons — any medium of literary or visual art.
This year, it is also adding a component of musical compositions and videography. Each magazine published this year will contain a CD/DVD to share the music or video projects selected. The submission deadline is Feb. 29. The magazine will be published in mid-April and will be sold to the community by early May.
The Sandbox is a venture that is committed to supporting emerging and established talents within the school while also promoting the importance of poetry, art, music, storytelling and culture in people’s lives.