According to Assistant Principal Eric Hutchinson, fewer students may “overclub” these days.
Hutchinson believes that so many new things vie for students’ attention today that traditional pursuits such as club participation are waning. This year Hutchinson has only seen two applications for new clubs returned to him for Student Council’s approval. According to Hutchinson, this is unusual, and he thinks it may be due to these distractions, such as social media, or to increased detachment from school.
Hutchinson believes it is different now than it was for this generation’s parents and their parents—it’s generational and societal. “Your generation has so many more distractions now and it has led to a lack of interest in clubs, I think,” Hutchinson said. “Kids are into things they shouldn’t be.”
Although some club members don’t have as much enthusiasm for the Green Club’s environmental efforts, Green Club president Isabel Robertson still harbors hope for Cleveland’s environmental future.“I hope that after [the leadership] leave, they continue to look everywhere for opportunities…and they aren’t afraid to find [environmental] things to go to.”
Clubbers, like Cherie Lo and Robertson, encourage recruitment. “People should join clubs,” Lo said. Lo is also 2015 Student Council president and said taking part in council helped her grow as a person. “I was more introverted and now I have better people relations,” she said.
Although these students exemplify the benefits of clubs, not all students are involved. “There is a growing number of young people who walk these halls and those across the country that are not involved in those things that would help make them better individuals,” Hutchinson said.
“Many of today’s young people have fallen in love with the motifs: ‘it’s cool not to care’ or ‘I don’t give a blank,’ ” Hutchinson said. Right now, “it is uncool to wear school colors, or to hang out after school,” according to Hutchinson. He wants kids involved in something such as a club, something with a “selfless intention.”
Hutchinson believes that more encouragement to become a part of something is necessary. He wonders what the school and its adults can do to encourage more involvement.
“What is cool? What would make our young people return [to the school]?” Hutchinson wonders. He reminisces about when he was in high school, and the love and loyalty kids had for their school through extracurriculars. That involvement helps kids form positive relationships with peers and adults. “Those relationships were the driving force.”
Clubs may not be as central to students’ lives as they once were, but Hutchinson thinks involvement is still crucial. He also believes the blame for detachment is shared.
He said, “Young people get away with what adults allow them to.”