Olivia Von Lembcke, Headmaster and leader of Harry Potter club,  poses in her Hogwarts uniform with her “Nimbus 2000.” She competes for Gryffindor’s quidditch team. Photo by Emily Poole.

Mix of new, old clubs provides a variety of after-school opportunities

kristyhelscel ’11 & zoeywhitmeyer ’10

Ping pong playoff

Once the bell tones 3:05 p.m., most students rush to their lockers, eager to get home and forget about school. As some get dressed for practice, hit the weight room or even prep for an after-school nap, others make their way to the LC Forum—not for homework, but to play table tennis.

The table tennis club is comprised of 25 students and holds a variety of table tennis talent. ESL teacher Mary-Madora Mak advises the club and said the club attracts students with different levels of aspirations.

“There are always a few hard-core players who focus on their skills,” Mak said. “And there are some who use it as an outlet, a social and fun time.”

Though the club has yet to organize events with other schools, they create tournaments involving the players in the club or free play, a non-scoring game.

According to Mak, the level of play depends on the group members.

“When I started, I had a really competitive group,” Mak said. “They challenged [the math] teachers.”

Unfortunately, the club is unable to promote itself as much as it would like, due to a lack of equipment. With only three ping pong tables, the club cannot accommodate a large group, and students are forced to share, Mak said.

Sophomore Sunny Park said he is involved in table tennis club to stay in shape as well as make friends.

“Ping pong lovers come. [Either you really] like it or just want to be involved,” Park said.

Table tennis club is open to all students and all levels of play, Mak said.

“[You] come to just play,” Park said. “[People are] always welcome to the club.”

Following the force

Good luck, break a leg or may the force be with you are all forms of how to wish good fortune upon someone either on the football field, in theater or in Star Wars Club. Though Star Wars club does not compete or perform, Brian Chandler, adviser of the club, said that the group watches the films together and plays Trivial Pursuit.

“During the holidays, we watch a holiday special of Star Wars,” Chandler said. “I own a bootleg copy of it. It is very rare.”

According to Chandler, group members discuss their favorite characters and organize outside activities. Recently, a few students and Chandler traveled to Nationwide for “Star Wars in Concert,” an orchestra touring the United States.

“The live orchestra played music from all six films and rearranged the sound track to clips from the movies in a retelling. It was narrated by the man who played C3P0,” Chandler said. “Words can’t really describe how awesome it was.”

Chandler’s mug features the famous Star Wars character Darth Vader. He has been a fan of the series for years. Photo by Emily Poole.

In order to get this group of Star Wars fans together, Chandler said that two years ago three freshmen approached him asking him to be the adviser.

“I jumped all over it,” Chandler said. “There was a Star Wars club a while ago, but juniors Corey McMahon, Alex Clark and Jamie Vaughan were the ones who brought it back.”

Although meetings are not as frequent as they used to be, the group tries to cater to each individual’s schedule. Chandler said now that the main group has grown older, they are busier and have less time for Star Wars club.

Happy holidays

Neighbors compete for nearly everything—the most dazzling Christmas lights, the better Easter egg hunt, the ultimate Fourth of July party or even the most enthusiastic patron on President’s Day. And every year there are clear winners—that neighbor unopposed to sabotaging fellow neighbors to make sure they are the neighborhood champion.

It is hard to say which students will grow up to be this type of neighbor, however students can prepare by being a member of Holiday club. The club is dedicated to celebrating the holidays and helping less fortunate children around the world.

Juniors Mandy Pendery and Yan Wang, leaders of the club, aspire to maintain enthusiasm among fellow club members and encourage them to achieve the club’s ultimate goal.

“We just want to make UAHS a happier place,” Wang said. “[And] give [students] something to celebrate.”

Holiday club was created this year by Wang and Pendery, advised by social studies teacher Christine Hayes, and has quickly grown to 80-90 students. For such a new club, Holiday club has already been able to host several events. The club held a teacher-student basketball game, a fundraising event and has a good attendance rate, Pendery said.

“We do a lot of fundraising for underprivileged people,” Wang said. “This club is 60 percent parties and 40 percent fundraising.”

In December, the club also participated in Operation Christmas Child—a program that brings toy-filled shoe boxes to children across the world in desperate situations.

“We packaged Christmas boxes with gifts [that were] sent around the world,” Pendery said.

Although Holiday Club is young, the leaders have many ideas of possible activities they will host in the future.

“We have a lot of ideas, we just need to put them into action,” Wang said.

Junior Sam McBride said the club plans to feature a CD for each holiday.

“For Easter, we’ve been talking about having a school-wide egg hunt,” Wang said.

Holiday club has proven itself among holiday lovers and potentially may be the next generation of overly festive neighbors. This fundraising, enthusiastic club is on a mission to keep the school festive, one holiday at a time.

Magical muggles

On her 11th birthday, senior Olivia Von Lembcke waited for her letter of acceptance to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The letter never came, but Von Lembcke remained a passionate Harry Potter fan. This year, Von Lembcke decided to restart Harry Potter club with fellow magically gifted students after the club ended two years ago.

“[Students] should be allowed to celebrate Harry Potter,” Von Lembcke said. “ We should be given the opportunity to play quidditch with each other. We need to have some diversity in the school.”

In order to properly learn witchcraft and wizardry, members of the club are supposed to bring a broomstick to quidditch matches and a wand to meetings.

“We go over certain spells with each house and we learn to play quidditch,” Von Lembcke said. “We are going to try to take [club members] to the tri-wizard tournament and play against St. Charles’ and Watterson’s Harry Potter clubs.”

All members of the club were divided into the traditional Hogwarts houses: Slytherin, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw.

“We split the club into houses by ‘sorting’—that is the proper term,” Von Lembcke said.

According to Von Lembcke, there is a strong rivalry between the houses.

“Members of Gryffindor are smarter and more courageous than those of Slytherin,” Von Lembcke said. “Slytherin members are ruthless and will do anything to win—good or bad.”

Senior Gaven McDaniel, head of house for Slytherin said that Von Lembcke is biased against the other houses in the club.

Only the upcoming quidditch match will tell which House is truly better.