Club comeback

Students left in anticipation as future of Club Jamboree 2021 remains tentative


Photo by Johanna Wen

Abbie Hart teaches Maple Street Journal club members the history of a zine and how to make one. Zine-Making Day was hosted by the Maple Street Journal in Ms. Alter’s room, 3716.

Just beyond the cafeteria doors was sophomore Lizette Lara’s first exposure to clubs. Once she entered, she was surrounded by tables of clubs, crowds of students and officers advertising their club.

In early 2020, sophomore Lizette Lara was about to enter Bellaire High School’s, now old, cafeteria doors. This was her first Cardinal Kickoff, an event showing most of Bellaire High School’s clubs to rising freshmen. When she walked through the doors, she was surrounded by tables of clubs and greeted with crowds of students.

“People floating around, who were approaching you and asking you: “Hey are you interested in… JROTC, Girls Who Code, Bellaire Chinese club?” Lara said. “There were just so many clubs with so much diversity that could really expand your interest.”

Club Jamboree, like Cardinal Kickoff, served as a school event where freshmen and touring eighth-graders could visit Bellaire and peruse the various clubs available for them to join. Although last year’s Club Jamboree on Teams was far from the normal expectation.

“It was very odd,” sophomore Braeden Fields said. “I couldn’t get between clubs easily because there were so many links in so many places. It was a lot more difficult to get between places, and find out: “Oh I want to join this club.” Because it was so hectic last year with COVID-19, I can imagine in-person being much more organized, knowing where clubs are going to be and effectively managing your time to get between them.”

Now, after a full year of online school, students anticipate full club experiences that virtual schooling lacked. Although a major event is missing: Club Jamboree.

“Because there isn’t a Club Jamboree, a lot of kids might not know about the Gay Straight Alliance,” GSA president Cathrine Guillot said. “So that’s why I put up posters and announcements, which we didn’t do two years ago.”

GSA’s first club meeting featured Club Information and LGBTQ+ support through Gala-wear. This took place in Ms. Humphrey’s room, 3703, led by Catie Gulliot and Kat Vazquez. (Photography by Johanna Wen)

Along with no Club Jamboree in sight, the only forms of advertisement that club leaders can use to promote their clubs are posters on classroom walls (with approval), through the announcement system and by word of mouth.

“It definitely hurts,” sponsor for Dessert Club and Quizbowl, Natalie Christian, said. “We have our announcements on the speakers, and we have an announcement board this year on the Bellaire website, but that’s easily missed and announcements are not easily heard.”

Despite the struggles of advertising, students like Fields said they are eager to join the fun. Clubs such as the Maple Street Journal had almost a horde of students.

“We brought the Maple Street Journal to Bellaire three years ago, and every year it grows bigger and bigger,” Abbie Hart, Senior Writing Editor of the Maple Street Journal, said. “It’s been really exciting and I hope we can carry on the Bellaire tradition.”

According to Elizabeth Chapman, the new club coordinator, Club Jamboree is undergoing preparation for the upcoming month. As for Cardinal Kickoff, it will take place Feb. 16 of next year.

“There have just been a couple of things outside the school’s control that have meant that we needed to wait,” Chapman said. “We know this is a very important part of Bellaire culture, and we are eager for it to take place. Please know that teachers and administrators are actively working on making it happen.”