BASH clubs tackle COVID restrictions

There is a plethora of clubs available to students at BASH. Much like it has for most things, the COVID-19 outbreak has thrown a wrench into the system, and these clubs have felt the blow.

The Accent- Mr. DiLanzo [email protected]

“BASH Accent is the school’s creative writing group. The club implements different creative styles and genres, freewriting, working on “pet projects,” and analyzing different techniques writers use. As the year progresses, members will add their favorite pieces to the magazine, read over and edit submissions from the student body, pair winning submissions with artwork, and publish and distribute The Accent at BASH’s annual Arts Expo.”

The Accent, in normal circumstances, would print and distribute the magazine at the annual Arts Expo each spring. However, due to COVID the club was unable to do so with their latest edition. To accommodate for this, Accent opted to release a digital copy of the magazine for the community to still enjoy.

And since there is a hybrid school schedule, The Accent hosts weekly zoom meetings every Wednesday, starting at 12:15pm in place of their usual flex meetings. While there has been a slight decrease in attendance with the adjustment, members are still enthusiastic and excited to work. This club is a great opportunity for anyone interested in creative writing; branching from poetry, short stories, and drama, to editing and literary discussion. Check out the Accent Instagram page to find the 2019-2020 edition. The Accent is always accepting new members or submissions! To join or learn more, email the advisor, Mr. DiLanzo, or the president, Emily Hanlon ([email protected]).

ARC- Mrs. Bramble & Mrs. Haydt

ARC stands for Acceptance, Respect, Compassion. It is a student run club that works with individuals with special needs. Through ARC students from the Life Skills program, Autistic Support, and Emotional Support are able to craft, hold conversations, and socialize with their grade-level peers. This allows these students to engage in an environment that under other circumstances, wouldn’t be available to them. The club would occasionally take trips to Rita’s or go for walks in the park, building safety skills such as reading road signs, following crosswalks, as well as other activities. Unfortunately due to COVID, ARC is unable to run this year due to safety concerns, however, they are planning to pick back up when it is safe to do so.

BASH-TV- Mr. Cherkasky [email protected]*

*This is a club that has pre-existing requirements to join. BASH-TV hosts the daily morning announcements. BASH-TV stated that they were trying to keep things as normal this year, running their usual events such as the lighting of the skeletons and decorating the holiday tree, as well as trying to run Live Day on December 23rd. Live Day is a day for students and teachers to watch their peers do skits or performances over the TV News program during all of their classes on the last day of school before winter break.

To join BASH-TV, students must be enrolled in one of the offered Telecom classes, and fill out an application at the end of the year. After the application process, approximately nineteen students will be selected by the advisor, Mr. Cherkasky, to be in the club.

Due to COVID-19 and the hybrid scheduling, BASH-TV is sharing all of their programming for the year on their youtube channel.

The Cub Newspaper- Ms. Kraus [email protected]

“The Cub Newspaper is a student-run news site that gives people an inside look on not just the school, but the community within Boyertown, and even worldwide events as well. The Cub reports from a student perspective to remain unbiased, aside from the many opinion pieces found within the site. This allows readers to grasp a better understanding or relate to the piece.” – Editor in Chief, Jessie Ahart.

With hybrid scheduling and split classroom days, it is hard for The Cub to maintain its usual collaborative environment, however The Cub utilizes zoom calls to discuss stories and share ideas among one another. Another big challenge being faced is the lack of events to report on. Due to COVID restrictions, access to events is limited, with many not occurring at all. This has caused The Cub to find new ways to report on those topics, as well as new topics to report on in their place.

BASH Cub is always accepting new writers, and students with a first period open campus will be able to connect to The Cub zoom. To learn more about joining, or The Cub as a whole, contact the advisor, Ms. Kraus, or the Editor in Chief, Jessie Ahart ([email protected])

Insight- Mr. Cherkasky [email protected]

Insight is a student-run talk show that focuses on topics important to each of the members. These topics can be as casual as Christmas gifts or as serious as politics. It is a club that allows students to be heard outside of a classroom environment and on a wider TV scale. Monthly hour-long episodes are aired on BearVision, Comcast channel 969, and are also uploaded on the BASH-TV youtube channel. Members do not need to attend a Telecom class to join Insight, anyone interested should contact Mr. Cherkasky.

Much like BASH-TV, Insight is trying to keep things as normal as possible throughout this school year.

FCA- Mr. Jones [email protected]

FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) is a student-run club designed to accept anyone, athlete or otherwise, and worship God by way of lessons given by the core team, with the added perks of fun games and food in non-COVID circumstances. FCA is open to anyone who has the slightest interest, and for students who may not have a strong religious bond. FCA wants to be there to answer any questions and help develop a better understanding for those who want it.

Due to COVID, it has been difficult for FCA to gain new members, and the loss of old ones has not gone unnoticed. Communication is difficult this year, and the leaders are having trouble coming together to plan fun activities and lessons for their members.

Under normal circumstances, the club would meet every Tuesday morning at 7:02am.

“The ’02 is to catch people’s attention. It’s a fun Easter egg to put out there.”- Leader Caitlyn Riddell.

And because of the restrictions, FCA is now meeting via zoom on Wednesday mornings at 7am to accommodate the different schedules.

One of the events FCA usually hosts is a Blacklight Dodgeball tournament in December-January. Unfortunately it is unlikely this event will occur, however Riddell heavily encourages BASH students to be on the lookout for the event in the 2021-2022 school year. Another event is the end of the year picnic, an event that allows the club to say goodbye to it’s seniors, which had to be cancelled last Spring due to Boyertown’s initial shutdown. FCA is attempting to create new virtual events to maintain safety, yet it is unclear what those events may be.

FCA is always accepting members, when COVID comes to a close the group will return to in-person meetings in the Chorus room, where anyone is welcome to enter before homeroom begins. There will soon be posters around the school with a QR code to their Instagram page where students will be able to find the meeting link, updates, and encouragement. Students can Direct Message the Instagram page with any questions, or contact Caitlyn Riddell ([email protected]) for more information.

Math Team- Mr. Turner [email protected]

Math Team is a club consisting of students who heavily enjoy completing, challenging and non-standard math problems. The club usually competes through quiz contests which are taken twice a month. These quizzes are 6-7 questions answered within 30-35 minutes. The scores are then submitted to be compared with other competing schools. The club also does a couple of other “once-and-done” contests throughout the year. These contests spark discussions within the club members, and the questions allow these math-loving students to find new ways to think about different topics as they discuss their own approaches to the problems.

Unfortunately due to COVID-19 and the challenges a hybrid system creates for clubs, Math Team will not be running this year.

PRIDE- Ms. Sirianni [email protected]

Pride is a student-run club that runs open forum types of discussions. The club is a very social group that completes a multitude of service projects, including making hats for a homeless shelter. Another event completed by the group was a formal dance held last Fall for its members.

While the return of this club is still in the works for the 2020-2021 school year, it is not out of the question. If students are interested, they can email Student Leader, Solomon Goldstien ([email protected]) for more information. If the restrictions make things too difficult for the club to run effectively, PRIDE will pick back up next year.

Students may join the google classroom with a personal email under the code hbng3uo to access a survey to help figure out a game plan for the year.

SADD- Mrs. Fine [email protected]

SADD stands for Students Against Destructive decisions. The club advocates for safe, healthy choices, tackling issues such as mental health, drug abuse, reckless driving, and many other topics. SADD hosts many campaigns throughout the year, such as the bear paws and red ribbons, however with COVID the club is attempting to alter these campaigns to be digital in order to ensure the safety of all students. Some of the campaigns are in complete jeopardy with new restrictions such as the annual clothing drive and the club’s usual trip to the elementary school.

Meetings will be held over zoom monthly, starting with the interest meeting on December 2nd. Any students interested in joining SADD can check out their Instagram for more information on the club, as well as access to a Google Form. The Google Form will allow students to receive the meeting link. Contact the advisor Mrs. Fine with any further questions.

Science Olympiad- Mr. Knight [email protected]

To describe it simply: Science Olympiad is like a field day for different science based events. Students compete against one another in events consisting of knowledge-based tests, building and testing objects (mouse trap cars, bridges, or musical instruments to name a few examples), and even laboratory based activities. Provided by the advisor, Mr. Knight, the following excerpt was taken from the Science Olympiad website in order to give a little more insight to the club:

Science Olympiad competitions are like academic track meets, consisting of a series of 23 team events in each division (Division B is middle school; Division C is high school). Each year, a portion of the events are rotated to reflect the ever-changing nature of genetics, earth science, chemistry, anatomy, physics, geology, mechanical engineering and technology. By combining events from all disciplines, Science Olympiad encourages a wide cross-section of students to get involved. Emphasis is placed on active, hands-on group participation. Through Science Olympiad, students, teachers, parents, principals and business leaders bond together and work toward a shared goal.

Teamwork is a required skill in most scientific careers today, and Science Olympiad encourages group learning by designing events that forge alliances. In Elevated Bridge, an engineering whiz and a kid from wood shop can become gold medalists. Similarly, a talented builder and a student with a good science vocabulary can excel in Write It Do It, one of Science Olympiad’s most popular events.

The culmination of nearly 300 Regional and State tournaments (and about 165 practice Invitationals!) is the Science Olympiad National Tournament, held at a different university each year. This rotating system gives students the opportunity to visit new parts of the country and tour colleges they might consider for their undergraduate studies, and provides a memorable experience that lasts a lifetime.”

Unfortunately due to limited contact with students and the cancellation of tournaments, Science Olympiad will not be running for the 2020-2021 school year, however is planning to reboot next year if possible.

Stage Crew- Mr. Ramsey [email protected]

Stage Crew is works to run events such as music concerts, board meetings, musicals, as well as the occasional dance studio. Stage Crew works on any event that utilizes the BASH auditoriums, and students should expect to work a number of different positions, from backstage to the sound and light boards.

Stage Crew is running this year, and the biggest challenges for them have been their numbers and the COVID restrictions. Due to these restrictions, many events that stage crew would usually work have been cancelled this year. The club has been able to meet in person this year, however their meetings have been sparse. Stage Crew meets once a week, every other week, with the day alternating to accommodate both A and B hybrid schedules.

Stage Crew is still accepting members for the 2020-2021 school year, and any students interested should contact the advisor, Mr. Ramsey.

Student Council- Mr. Kusniez [email protected]

“Student Council works to build unity and spirit within the school. We also try to run and promote events that appeal to a broad group of our student body and involve as many people as we can. We promote community service opportunities as well.” – Advisor Mr. Kusniez.

To join Student Council students must complete an application. Once in, the club breaks into a multitude of smaller committees in order to run the various events. If interested, students may apply for the Executive Board (the Student Council homeroom) and, if accepted, move from being a committee member to a committee leader. For students who want more involvement than that, the next step up is an application to be in an officer position. Each level requires more commitment and takes more time than the others.

Student Council hosts a large portion of the events found at BASH, which lends itself to many struggles this year. One of the biggest struggles for them has been coming up with events that meet COVID guidelines and also get approved by BASH Administration.

Student Council President Ashley Neff stated, “They’ve been very hesitant in letting us do events, which is totally understandable, but it has put a strain on our plans.”

The events hosted by Student Council are heavily catered to the students, so the limited audience allowed at the events that have occurred thus far, such as the crowning of the Homecoming Queen, has put a slight damper on things.

COVID has jeopardized most of the plans that Student Council has for a regular school year, such as Homecoming, Harvest Ball, and the Powderpuff game. These events involve large groups of people, and with the restrictions in place it is hard to do that. These events aren’t entirely out of the question however, as Student Council places hope in the upcoming Spring to allow some of these bigger events to occur. To accommodate for the loss of the dances this fall, Student Council has opted to run little events such as Spirit Week and other little contests.

Apart from running events, Student Council also attends their annual State Conference, which had to be altered to a virtual setting. The event usually occurs at Kalahari Resorts in the Poconos, and is a favorite among the club, however it’s virtual counterpart was still informative and enjoyable.

The Student Council Homeroom, the Executive Board, meets virtually on Tuesday mornings at 7:30am, with the hybrid schedule, it was difficult to start off with half of the homeroom in class and half of them online, however the club quickly adapted. The board then meets with the rest of the council Thursday’s at 3pm.

While the application process has closed, Student Council has been very flexible, allowing new council members to join.

“Because of these hard and uncertain times, we understand if someone may have not filled out an application last school year.” stated Neff.

Students should contact President Ashley Neff, or Vice President Lauren Price for an application form, or visit the Student Council room, room 419, during homeroom. Students will not be able to apply for the Student Council Homeroom until the 2021-2022 school year. Applications for both the homeroom and the standard council for next fall will be available at the end of this school year through either a physical packet or a google form application.

TSA- Mr. Schopf (9th Grade) [email protected] & Mr. Pennington (10-12th grade) [email protected]

“TSA is a STEM centered club for anyone interested in woodworking, robotics, coding, graphic design, writing, and so much more! In TSA you participate in competitions at the regional, state, and national level. Beyond the competitions, TSA also offers many leadership and volunteer opportunities.” – President Madison Martin.

With the addition of COVID this year, TSA has had its fair-share of challenges. One of the biggest being how to hold the competitive conferences. PA-TSA has already completed one virtual conference, a leadership conference, and the regional competition is not far behind it. While two of the competitions have been placed in the virtual setting, it appears to be too soon to tell for certain where the state and national conferences will lie this year.

Another challenge for the club has been it’s usual fundraising events. The TSA chapter has been hard at work finding accommodations for their annual fundraisers, events that raise money for both the BASH chapter as well as the American Cancer Society. TSA is currently running a clothing drive, a competition among BASH homerooms, with clothing dropped off outside of the school building to ensure the safety of students and staff within the school. Alongside the clothing drive is the annual Angel Tree drive, a competition among BASH clubs, to donate gifts to the Salvation Army to help those less fortunate still have a good Christmas holiday. A few fundraisers are still in the works for the club, such as a 5K race and a chocolate bar sale, which are under discussion with administration to find the safest ways to complete the events.

BASH TSA is no longer accepting members for the 2020-2021 school year, however students may complete an application next fall if interested. The club meets twice a week in person, following safety precautions set by BASH Administration. These meeting days are known as Open Labs, and they provide time for members to complete their events alongside their teammates with any classroom materials they may need. TSA also meets virtually on the first Wednesday of every month as an entire chapter, where the officer team discusses any important information for the month including fundraisers, conferences, COVID procedures, etc.

Any students interested should talk to the advisor, Mr. Pennington. Current or incoming freshmen should contact the freshman TSA advisor, Mr. Schopf with any interest.