Extracurriculars prepare for extraordinary year

The Index staff meets virtually on August 30, 2020

This September, the school year begins with some unprecedented adjustments. The pandemic remains an obstacle in the school’s reopening process. With health and safety in consideration, the school has determined an appropriate academic calendar for the year. Still, curiosity continues to grow over the fate of extracurricular programs.

     “We are still trying to figure out how some of the programs are going to look, so we’re in the works of trying to figure that out,” Dean of Students Mr. Luqman Kolade said.

     In the meantime, major club organizations have already started their planning for the year.

     “We are still trying to see what would be best for the majority of members that we have in the Haligoluk, and when it will fit their schedules,” yearbook advisor Ms. Kristin Brown said. “We will still be meeting. There still will be a yearbook. We will be missing our breakfast sandwiches, which I think are everyone’s favorite thing about yearbook meetings.” 

     Unfortunately, clubs will have to make some accommodations to suit the new virtual environment. Speech and Debate co-advisor Mr. Javier Lluch said, “The most fun parts of debating are going to the national tournament and going to the hotels. The Thursday night practices were also really fun. But all of that is going to look and feel very different.” 

     Mr. Lluch suggested that this can be very difficult for recruitment. “What I want to put in the captain’s mind is recruitment,” Mr. Lluch said. “I think that’s going to be a really tough one this year.” 

     Ms. Brown agrees. “I don’t think we had any freshmen on the yearbook last year. Hopefully, we will be able to capture some freshmen this year and interest them in getting a really nice look at a very historic year. This has never happened before in Haverford history and we’re going to be documenting this in a book that will be around in the archives,” Ms. Brown said.

     In order to attract new members and maintain community activities, the yearbook will be making adjustments to improve its attractiveness.

     “Our new thing is going to be that every student who purchases a yearbook, along with all the seniors, get two free pages to customize themselves so they can put photographs of their year in the yearbook,” Ms. Brown said.

     The speech and debate team has some new plans as well.

     “A couple of the coaches have a really good idea of setting up scrimmages between the schools. So we would all have a place where we would post our availability and what teams we had,” Mr. Lluch explained. “If those local tournaments don’t happen due to the pandemic, I think we’re gonna take matters into our own hands and try to make it happen.”

     Aside from clubs that the school is familiar with, students also started new clubs to build connections and combat exhaustion and boredom. 

     “I’m a big football guy,” Fourth Former Harvey Pennington said. “I started fantasy football five years ago because I know a lot of people who like football also like fantasy. They had fantasy football at Haverford a few years ago but then they kind of stopped. So I said ‘You know what, I’m gonna start this club.’” 

     Pennington started the Fantasy Football League at the end of this summer and has begun recruiting. 

     “We got twelve people so far, which is perfect for a league. We got a few ninth graders. And we got all age ranges from new guys to seniors, which was cool,” Pennington said. “Everyone is kind of into it.” 

“The school wants to try and provide as many opportunities for you guys to engage with each other as possible. We want to do that. It’s just a matter of how we can do that.”

Dean of Students Mr. Luqman Kolade

     While many decisions and changes are happening in progress, the school certainly encourages community-building under the primary condition of ensuring a safe school campus.

     “The biggest part is getting everyone together in a space, whether that be virtual or physical. We can’t do the physical spacing, so we got to figure out how we can do a virtual one,” Mr. Kolade said. “The school wants to try and provide as many opportunities for you guys to engage with each other as possible. We want to do that. It’s just a matter of how we can do that. We’re figuring that out.”

Author: Jingyuan Chen '23

Jingyuan Chen has written for The Index since 2019. His news piece “Inside the middle school construction project” and his opinion “What can the U.S. learn from Chinese media censorship?” each earned a Silver Key from the 2020 Philadelphia-area Writing Awards.