Students at Highland Park High School aren’t afraid to step up and lead if they see a void in extracurricular opportunities.
That’s the story for three students who have started — or revived — clubs on campus this year.
Thankfully, students at HP are able to start new clubs on campus each year, given that they fill out the appropriate paperwork and get other students involved.
For seniors Alex Gerrese, Adam Shiffer, and junior Sawyer Lake, this year was the right opportunity. They are the founders, or in Lake’s case the revivers, of the TED-Ed club, the Bagel Boys club, and the Young Democrats club, respectively.
Each one serves a completely different purpose and offers something new to students.
Bagel Boys allows senior boys to give back by taking unsold bagels from Einstein Bros. Bagels and delivering them to the Austin Street Center once every two or three weeks.
“Last year, they did it at St. Mark’s,” Shiffer said. “My friend there graduated and they didn’t have anyone doing it, so I thought I’d bring it over to Highland Park. I thought it was a great organization and a great opportunity to serve Dallas.”
As for Gerrese — whose time abroad also inspired the Scotlingual club this year for language tutoring and immersion — the TED-Ed club is a chance for fellow students to take time out of their day for more intellectual pursuits.
“My English teacher in France showed our class a TED Talk, and after that I started getting into them and the different ideas that were being discussed,” he said. “We decided to set up the club so more people could be exposed to these ideas. And you can practice your public speaking.”
In the club, students meet every couple of weeks to watch one or two TED Talks and discuss them. They try to follow a series of lessons, with the end goal of each member presenting their own talk. Eventually, Gerrese would like for the club to put on a TEDx youth event.
Lake’s club also has to do with discussion. In reviving the Young Democrats club, he helped to put on a fall speaker meeting with state House candidate Leigh Bailey, who was running as a Democrat against Republican Morgan Meyer.
“I don’t really have a strong political view, but I felt that is was important that there should be equal representation,” Lake said.
The group is also planning a service project for the spring semester.
All three clubs were able to recruit members at HP’s annual Club Fair at the beginning of the school year.
HP has about 90 clubs each year, but upperclassmen are always eager to add new ones that might brighten a college application or resume.
But then the problem becomes making sure someone will carry the torch.
“We’re going to have to really hone in on getting [underclassmen] involved,” Lake said. “If we’re going to focus on getting them involved, that’ll be really motivating for people.”