In the spirit of inclusivity and connectedness, several new clubs are starting up across disciplines and thematic areas at the upper school to provide a place for shared interests and dialogue. This semester, the new clubs include creative writing, chemistry, and masculinity.
Creative Writing Club
As a student who loves doing creative writing on her own, twelfth grader Lucy W. recently started the new Creative Writing Club in the hope of sharing her work with peers, and giving and receiving feedback on writing projects.
"The way the club came about is that I really love creative writing," Lucy said. "I really enjoy sharing my work and having friends read my work, but I felt like there should be an exchange component; the two goals of the club are to connect writers and to give and receive feedback. Art is such a subjective thing, and I’m excited to see what my peers come up with!”
Kaitlyn P., an eleventh grader, described the club as “a creative support group where you can talk about your writing and your life, and you can help each other to live better lives. Creative expression is part of living a happy life.”
One of the most exciting parts of the new creative writing club, according to Lucy, is that Nueva’s student writers have different interests in terms of genre and style, ranging from poetry to nonfiction to realistic and surreal fiction, which, Lucy commented, “brings cool diversity to the group.”
The Creative Writing Club is advised by Lee Holtzman, history of science teacher, and Jennifer Paull, Writing Center director.
Chemistry Journal Club
Tenth graders Anna K. and Jacob L. recently took the initiative to start the Chemistry Journal Club at the upper school. After a recent visit to the Stanford chem lab, Anna was motivated to start the club and learn more about molecular syntheses for drug contenders, which she finds "super fun."
Anna and Jacob envision the chemistry club as a journal club with a focus on studies of specific diseases. Every other week, students will read a journal and then come together in a group to discuss their reading. Through study and discussion, Anna and Jacob hope that students will get a sense for how chemistry works. At each meeting, one student will lead discussion by generating questions for the group and facilitating a deep dive into the subject matter through analysis. Anna and Jacob hope that students will then find add-on papers so they can continue to read in a given subject area to broaden their knowledge base.
“Hopefully we can center our work around studies on diseases like depression and Alzheimer’s, focusing on the chemicals associated with these diseases and how those chemicals function,” Anna said. Jacob added, “I hope this club allows other people to find the joys in chemistry that I do."
The chemistry club plans to meet on Tuesdays in club advisor and chemistry teacher Francine Farouz’s lab.
Masculinity Affinity Group
Recently, upper school students attended an all-school meeting where faculty members and students participated in a panel on masculinity. At the end of the meeting, upper school teachers Jamie Biondi, Ben Chang, and Anthony Perry announced a new Masculinity Affinity Group they will be leading.
“The people who spoke at the assembly reflected on diverse experiences of being a man and on how getting in touch with masculinity has affected their lives,” Ben said. "My hope is that we can have conversations relevant to the student population and the young men of the Upper School to unpack some of these issues on the macro level, but also here at Nueva and in students' friendships and family lives."
The new Masculinity Affinity Group seeks to give Nueva students a space in which to redefine and expand the definitions of masculinity. “At the all-school meeting, I kept thinking about how the process of defining my masculinity for me is ongoing," Ben said. "When I was in high school, that wasn’t something I was thinking about, so I'm excited to have exploratory conversations with Nueva students about our culture’s messaging about what masculinity is.”
In addition to redefining masculinity, the group will be a place to process current events and theoretical perspectives. For certain meetings, Jamie said, the group might read and discuss articles on gender.
Anthony emphasized that the new group is “a safe space for male students, both those who are gender conforming and nonconforming, to find fellowship and discuss issues that are specific to the realities of being a young man in today’s society.”
By Lily Brown, Upper School English Teacher/Advisor
March 7, 2018