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Clubs Hoping for Bounce-back in Participation

Cal Hughes
Junior Truman Lawhead (blue sweatshirt) and senior Anthony LaSala man the Future Doclets of America table at the Freshman Club Fair on Sept. 21, 2023.

Clubs are a large part of student life at Rockhurst. This year, group leaders are hoping for a resurgence in participation.

Clubs at Rockhurst provide opportunities for students that they can’t necessarily experience in their everyday classes. Community service, continued learning opportunities and chances to improve their respective resumes are all hallmarks of co-curriculars here. 

Although participation in clubs can provide many positive benefits, since the pandemic, groups have struggled to maintain engagement. Kids can often be seen sitting around doing nothing during Activity Periods.

“This year, I feel like we’ve really tried to push through and get people into them,” said sophomore class president Brendan Ortbals.

Information about club events is more accessible this year, with a new video-board system that displays information more easily on the televisions in the Learning Commons, Barry Commons and Dining Commons.  Social media is also being utilized to spread the word.

The annual Freshman Club Fair in September featured more than 50 groups–many with interactive elements to their setup to engage members of the Class of 2027.

One thing that could help club life take a large step forward is the removal of most A/B combo days from the calendar. This means more Activity Periods on the schedule, which will provide more opportunities for students to actually join and participate in clubs.

“Now that we are seeing more Activity Periods, there is more time to meet,” said Ortbals. “A main reason last year we saw little participation is because of a lack of time. Now more people will get involved.”

One of the leaders of the Future Doclets of America, Anthony LaSala, says his time at Rockhurst would not have been the same without the chance to be a part of the pre-med club.

“It’s been a good experience. I’ve met a lot of guys and learned a lot about opportunities and such. It’s probably furthered my interest in going pre-med in college,” LaSala said.

Experiences with clubs at Rockhurst often go beyond the obvious. The Future Doclets, for example, don’t just talk about medicine, but also things connected to life in the medical field, such as business, travel— even food.

“I have a lot of people who either aren’t interested in the medical profession, or really, really want to go to medical school,” said Lisa Weis, club moderator and school nurse. “It is an interesting subject because sometimes people just want to come to hang out and learn other things such as business aspects, and other times they want to learn about the actual medical things.”

The Doclets even aspire to go out and do work in the community soon. 

“I’m hoping that, at some point, things will loosen up a little bit as far as medicine goes,” Weis said. “When we first started, absolutely no one was letting you come and visit hospitals or offices, still too much COVID, and we’re kind of still seeing that a little bit. Maybe soon we can actually get out and go into the community to do some things.”

All clubs at Rockhurst have their own unique offerings and are great ways to build an improved resume for the future.

“I think a part of what Rockhurst is, is really just the opportunities. And I think clubs are a great bridge for that,” said LaSala.


Related: Club Fair Connects Freshmen with 50 Groups


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About the Contributor
Sam LaSala
Sam LaSala, Staff Reporter
My name is Sam LaSala, and this year will be my first on the newspaper staff. In the past, I have always loved to write and talk to people for information that could be used on writing projects. I am extremely social, outgoing and creative. These attributes give me the confidence to say that I will be a great addition to the Rockhurst High School newspaper team. I want to write for the school newspaper, because I would love to be able to use my writing skills to my advantage to cover stories and other intriguing topics. Newspaper will not only be great for me now, but in the future as well. This subject can improve my writing skills now and give me more knowledge, and it will also look great on my resume for future schools and jobs. At the moment I am not involved in any clubs or extracurriculars at Rockhurst, but this sophomore year I plan to join a club and use it to my advantage as well. Getting involved in a club could get me more introduced to the school and other aspects as well--especially for the future. My goals for the future are to get above a 3.8 GPA and, possibly, even become a leader for various projects at the school. With these intentions in mind, I hope that they could boost my resume to get into as good a college as possible. As I progress in the newspaper this year I am enthusiastic to see what else it brings to the table.
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