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Marvin Ridge High makes caring a priority through clubs

Pictured, from left, are Future Business Leaders of America president McKinley Kelcy, 17; French Honor Society president Chelsea Gribble, 17; National Honor Society president Flavia Crobersi, 18; French and International clubs president Kirsten Haugsted, 18; the Math Honor Society -- Mu Alpha Theta president, Kaitlyn Sulser, 17; Spanish Honor Society president Nicole Frelier 18; and Beta Club president Jacob Mlakar, 17.

Marvin Ridge High School is barely two years old, yet because of its emphasis on its Student Life Program; the school already has considerably more clubs than is the norm for most schools.
   
In the short time since it opened its doors on August 27, 2007, Marvin Ridge High students have formed 38 clubs; with about 70 percent of its student body belonging to a club at the school.
   
School principal Bill Cook says clubs have become part of the culture of the school. “Because of the emphasis we’ve placed on clubs, and the importance of them, we have a lot of students who want to initiate their own clubs,” Cook said. “And we have put in a system in which they can do that. Plus, students just want to belong, and a club offers a sense of belonging to something.”
   
The clubs come under the umbrella of the school’s Student Life Program, which encompasses not only the clubs, but also the guidance support program, intervention teams for students facing challenges, and various school activities such as the senior tailgating party.
   
The school’s clubs are either “co-curricular” or “extra-curricular.” The co-curricular clubs are initiated because of the school’s curriculum. These include FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), FFA (Future Farmers of America), DECA (Distributive Clubs of America), and FCCLA (Family Career and Community Leaders of America – formerly Future Homemakers of America).
   
The school’s DECA (Distributive Clubs of America) program has made quite a name for itself. It was recognized at last year’s state conference as having the largest number of students in a school DECA chapter in the state of North Carolina. What makes this even more impressive is the club, like the school, is only two years old.
   
Marvin Ridge High assistant principal Juan Roldan, who coordinates the Student Life Program, said the school’s Student Life Program has become a pillar of the school and its service-oriented clubs teach valuable life lessons. “It creates an awareness of the importance of service, not only as students, but also service as citizens, and more importantly service of the global community,” he said.
   
These clubs, most of which are service oriented, also offer students an opportunity to make a difference in something for which they feel passionate. Kirsten Haugsted, 18, a senior, and president of both the French and International clubs, said she knows the students in her clubs have made a difference.
   
“I’ve always loved helping other people in general; whether it’s a friend or someone less fortunate than I,” she said. “To know I’m actually making an impact on someone’s life and making them happy, gives me that typical ‘warm and fuzzy feeling.’ ”
    
There are other clubs that are generated by students, like Hope for Haiti or Operation Smile. Hope for Haiti has about 20 members. Its mission is to alleviate the devastating effects of extreme poverty on the lives of the children in Southern Haiti.
   
“Hope for Haiti is a club that speaks loudly to one particular group of students. They want to tackle a global issue,” Roldan said.
   
“Then there’s Operation Smile,” he added. “This club was organized to help Doctors Without Borders in their efforts to treat upper cleft palate, (a congenital split in the roof of the mouth).”
   
Some of the school’s clubs address hobbies or future careers. These include the Chess Club, Speech and Debate Club, I-Q and Ping Pong Club, Aspiring Law Leaders, Photography Club and National Art Honor Society/Studio Artists Club.
   
A faculty member must be willing to sponsor the concept of a club and the idea of the club before it can be formed. This faculty member must also be willing to serve as an advisor.
   
Students aren’t the only members of the Marvin Ridge family to get involved in the action. The school also has a club called the Parent Book Club, which, as its name implies, is for parents, faculty and staff at the school.
 

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Jan 04, 2010 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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