Students Explore Variety of Topics with Three New Clubs


Students recently created three new clubs of varying focuses. Photo: Sidwell Friends.

Sidwell Friends students recently created three new clubs: the Girls Mental Health Awareness Club, the Creative Writing Club and the Transgender Student Union. These clubs join the 92 other clubs at Sidwell, which span a wide variety of student interests and passions. 

Started and run by juniors Liane Bolduc and Ava Strong, the Girls Mental Health Awareness Club held its first meeting on Jan. 26. The club advisors are Upper School Psychologist Kasaan Holmes and Interim Upper School Counselor Patrice Copeland. The club serves as a space to express feelings, talk about exciting events and support and uplift club members. 

The club specifically aims to alleviate the pressures that girls face. 

“A lot of focus in society is about girls needing to be perfect and fit some sort of standard,” Bolduc explained.

 The club also attempts to create a coalition of students who identify and raise awareness about mental health issues across the school. 

Because the guidance counselors are the club advisors, “our meetings help them figure out what people are most worried about, so [the counselors] can have bigger, grade-wide support days to address wider issues,” Strong explained. 

In terms of challenges, Bolduc and Strong recognize that mental health can be a difficult topic to discuss, so they are aware that they will need to navigate topics carefully. 

“Learning how to manage [mental health discussions] ourselves and learning how to talk about these different emotions is a balance we’re all learning how to achieve,” Strong said.

Another club founded recently is the Creative Writing Club. Created by junior Sofia Flores and Nour Burik, the club had its first meeting on Feb. 9. 

Advised by Upper School Librarian Stephanie Gamble, the club hopes to give students a space to practice their writing skills outside of the school curriculum. 

“The English classes at Sidwell … don’t really do a lot of creative writing … so we saw a space that needed to be filled,” Burik said. 

Burik explained that a space without pressure and deadlines will serve as a relaxing and necessary outlet for writers, though coming up with group writing activities may pose a challenge. Meanwhile, Flores hopes that the Creative Writing Club will give students an opportunity to explore a different part of themselves. Both heads, however, are determined to bring a community aspect to the often solitary task of writing. 

Many members expressed that they feel the club is meeting this goal. 

Freshman Krish Batra, a member of the Creative Writing Club, recalled that the first meeting included discussing favorite books and then writing together.

“I’ve always been interested in creative writing, and I wanted to get into an environment where I could cultivate those interests and pursue them,” Batra said. He immediately felt welcome at the club, which he felt “got into the creative aspect of things.”

Additionally, the Transgender Student Union, founded by juniors Asher Edelman and Sean Wallace, held its first meeting in the beginning of February. The club advisor is Equity, Justice, and Community Coordinator and Choral Music Teacher Sarah Markovits. 

After talking about making more trans-inclusive spaces, Edelman and Wallace decided that it would be helpful to create a student union to discuss these issues in a space “for trans people, by trans people.”

The club has already begun to advocate for change. 

“The first issue we brought up together was the issue of there only being one gender-neutral bathroom on the entire campus,” Edelman explained. 

Wallace said that their goal for the club is to create changes at Sidwell, additionally noting that discussions are already happening with faculty to remedy the bathroom issue. 

Both Wallace and Edelman hope that the club can serve as a space to respond to the needs of the transgender student body. 

Wallace explained that while the school may not assist individual students seeking change, “when you have enough numbers, it’s hard for [Sidwell] to refuse to help.”

While these three clubs have differing subjects and ideas, they share one goal: bringing like-minded, passionate students together in community. Students look forward to embracing and welcoming these new clubs into the Sidwell community.