BY EMMA HUERTA
It is a well-known fact at this point that the 2020-2021 school year is taking an unconventional form amidst the effects of the pandemic. As students are now engaging in eLearning, whether on campus or at home, clubs are additionally functioning online as well.
Despite the already-drastic changes to CCHS clubs, some new developments have also been brewing since the start of the year. Three new clubs have been approved and subsequently established at CCHS: Mock Trial Team, Kids Association for Mindfulness in Education (KAME) and Red Cross Chapter club.
All students seeking to begin a new club on campus must undergo standard procedure as per the Inter-Organizational Council (IOC), which is the entity a part of the Student Government Association (SGA) that handles club administration.
“I’ve been apart of IOC meetings for two years already and the way we have been able to adapt to these new changes really shocks me. Everything is submitted online to the administrators and they have always been on time with project approvals,” SGA First Vice-President Paulina Lopez said. “It allows for clubs to keep their normality and run smoothly. Overall, it just shows how CCHS can achieve all.”
“I’ve been apart of IOC meetings for two years already and the way we have been able to adapt to these new changes really shocks me.”SGA First Vice-President Paulina Lopez
The process for new clubs begins, of course, with a unique idea that must follow the requirements on SGA’s website. Prospective club founders must then get at least 20 signatures from current CCHS students who support the founding of the club and would want to join. Then, the proposed club constitution must be created and it, along with the necessary IOC paperwork, must be submitted to SGA Advisor Natalie Flaten before going up to IOC for approval.
One of the new clubs at CCHS that has been approved through this process is the Mock Trial Team, founded by sophomore Matthew Feirstein. Social studies teacher Bradley Berke is the sponsor, and debate teacher Sarah Botsch-Mcguinn will be assisting with the club as well. Although a specific day of the week for club meetings is not set yet, they plan to meet every two weeks.
“I had the idea to start this club ever since I got to CCHS,” Feirstein said. “My mother wanted me to go to American Heritage because they had more programs for those interested in law (which I am). I chose not to and wanted to start a mock trial club at Cooper to have those same opportunities.”
Mock trial is a debate-style activity, in which students simulate court processes and learn about the law. Students have the opportunity to represent the attorneys and witnesses in a legal case not only for competitions, but also to gain an immersive look into the legal field.
“The purpose of this club is to give those interested in a career in law real-world experiences in the justice system.”Sophomore and Mock Trial Team Founder Matthew Feirstein
“The purpose of this club is to give those interested in a career in law real-world experiences in the justice system,” Feirstein said. “Additionally, [it will] give students an opportunity to enhance their presentation and public speaking skills.”
The new Mock Trial Team has held their first meeting and plans much more for the future, including collaborations with other CCHS clubs and tournament participation.
“I plan to work with Debate and [Future Law Professionals of America] (FLPA), as we all have similar goals and similar purposes,” Feirstein said. “My plan for the future of this club is to go to competitions and become more experienced, to which we can become competitive with other large schools in the state of Florida.”
Kids Association for Mindfulness in Education (KAME) is the second club that was recently approved by CCHS’s IOC. Founded by junior Adam Avin and also sponsored by social studies teacher Bradley Berke, KAME stands to promote mental health on CCHS’s campus.
“[The idea for KAME arose] a long time ago when I met the people who run the adult organization, Association for Mindfulness in Education, but now we [the students] have an opportunity to actually do it,” Avin said. “The goal is to empower student voice and youth advocacy, so the students become the teachers, and get Mindfulness Based Social Emotional Learning (MBSEL) mental health programs into schools K-12, while teaching the basics of mindfulness and SEL.”
“The goal is to empower student voice and youth advocacy, so the students become the teachers…”Junior and KAME Founder Adam Avin
While KAME is still finalizing their specific meeting dates, they are planned to take place monthly. Their first meeting is set for Thursday, November 12, with more projects and activities in the works.
“Hopefully, we will be able to work with other clubs and everyone at the school because these tools are incredibly important for teenagers,” Avin said. “I plan to get as many student ambassadors that can then teach these self-regulation tools to other students to help them cope with emotions and navigate the daily stress of life in a productive manner. And then, those students can teach other students, and so on.”
The third club approved this year by IOC was the Red Cross Chapter club. This club was co-founded by Ainsley Ciavarella and Samantha Carozzi, and is sponsored by social studies teacher Michael Jones. The two sophomores started the club when Ciavarella first came up with the idea after volunteering with the Red Cross.
“Setting up our chapter was a long, tumultuous journey, which was especially difficult because of the lack of in-person communication with both the school and Red Cross due to the pandemic,” Carozzi said. “[The purpose of the club is] to allow Cooper City High students to contribute to the community through volunteering with the Red Cross and to get engaged in service projects.”
“Setting up our chapter was a long, tumultuous journey, which was especially difficult because of the lack of in-person communication with both the school and Red Cross due to the pandemic.”Sophomore and Red Cross Chapter co-founder Samantha Carozzi
As of now, CCHS’s Red Cross Chapter has already had their orientation meeting. They have planned their meetings to take place biweekly, every other Wednesday, once they are able to get their members successfully registered with the Red Cross.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has severely limited the club’s functions, especially volunteering and service activities, they plan to resolve this barrier in the best way possible in order to keep contributing to the community.
“We have been working with Red Cross leaders to get trained to host activities, such as missing maps, movie nights and virtual Red Cross training classes in the next month,” Carozzi said. “When we are back in school, we will be fundraising for the charity, and hosting a variety of social service events, but we are currently limited on how much we can do.”
Despite the difficulties they have had to face this year with all the obstacles provided by the pandemic, CCHS clubs have been able to engage their members and host remote activities. These three new additions to the Cowboy club scene are no exception, and have kicked off their functions in preparation for the future to come.
Disclaimer: Emma Huerta is President of Future Law Professionals of America (FLPA).
Photo courtesy of Matthew Feirstein