New clubs strengthen Paly community

Payton Anderson, Senior Staff Writer

After dozens of new and returning clubs made their debut at the Thursday and Friday Club Days last week, Student club organizers are now preparing for their first club meetings at Palo Alto High School.

The Paly Voice talked to several clubs to see what their goals were for the coming year, and many seemed to emphasize their desire to engage with and improve the Paly community.

The Paly Patakas 

Sophomore Isha Nadkarni was one of many club organizers who shared their passion at Club Day by starting her club, the Paly Patakas. During their weekly Wednesday meetings, Isha will be teaching original Bollywood choreography to those who attend. 

Nadkarni said she hopes that after practicing her routines for several months, the club can perform at a district-wide function to share their work with the community. 

“We formed this Bollywood dance club because we wanted to join the Indian community at Paly together, and we thought that this was a really fun way to do it,” Nadkarni said. 

Nadkarni’s main goal in creating this club was to connect both the Indian and the Paly communities through the exposure of Indian culture by dance.

“It [the club] exposes the Paly community to our culture and learning more about diversity,” said Nadkarni. 

Group Volunteer Club

The Group Volunteer Club, created by junior Isabelle Jacobi, aims to help the community through volunteering. By creating this new volunteer club that mainly focuses on how students can help other students find their passions through volunteer work.  

“During the meetings, we will brainstorm and bring new ideas and present new volunteer opportunities,” Jacobi said. “Then after school or on the weekends, we’ll all go and volunteer together, so it’s not as scary [as] when you volunteer alone.”

Jacobi said by crafting an environment in which people from all grades can come together and bond over their love for volunteer work, it becomes much easier for them to feel comfortable in volunteering. 

“We’ll all be able to come together for the greater good, while also volunteering, which is really important, and also getting your volunteer hours in, which is also very important,” Jacobi said. 

Have A Nice Day Club

Junior Tiffany He was inspired after a year of online school to find a way to make everyone at Paly feel supported by one another. He said the Have A Nice Day Club was created with the intention of improving the current Paly environment. 

“Our club’s goal is to connect people, like students, with the school and teachers,” He said. “Just trying to uplift everyone in these times, our premise is to just spread happiness through little projects.” 

By giving people little notes, small origami projects, and kind words, He said she aims to take the average act of telling someone to “have a nice day” to a more specific level where people can devote small amounts of time to making someone’s day a little better.

“I just think Paly, and the world in general, can benefit from people being kinder to other people and just doing little acts of service,” He said. “It doesn’t take very much, maybe like 5 minutes to even just say ‘have a good morning.’”  

The Paly Penpal Club 

Although the transition to in-person school has brought a lot of students to starting new clubs, it also has brought a handful of last year’s clubs into a transition from online to in person. 

Junior Jia Hiremath said that her club, the Paly Penpal Club, has seen a significant increase in sign ups since being in person. It also has made it easier for her club to do what it’s supposed to do, build relationships through letter writing. 

The Penpal Club randomly matches each of its members with someone else within the club to write their first few letters. As you improve, the club then finds you an out of state penpal.

“It’s a fun way to meet new people and to try out letter writing,” Hiremath said. “It is also cool how you can form connections with people outside of your own community.” 

Even amid a pandemic, Hiremath says that everyone who participated last year still writes to their pen pal, which she said demonstrates the power of the classic pen and paper form of communication.

Paly Learners Club

The Paly Learners Club was also started during the pandemic, and it experienced a surge in sign ups during their first in-person club day. Senior Co-Presidents Rachel Ellison and Hailene Stitt describe how their club works to help students in the Ravenswood district suffering from the ongoing education gap between them and PAUSD.

“I just think it’s [a] really good way for Paly students to see the privilege they have and what a privilege it is to be educated and have a good education,” Stitt said. 

Through creating interactive tutoring videos for students to watch as a result of the restrictions COVID had on their club, the club is now transitioning to in person tutoring in the Ravenswood district.  

“It’s [tutoring is ] a great way to feel good about helping people and the community is like more interactive, because I feel like we [PAUSD and Ravenswood] are very separated right now,” Stitt said. 

Ellison supported Stitt as she said that the Paly community has a mass amount of resources that can be used to help those who don’t have the same opportunities. According to Ellison, the most effective way to see change is to act, and Paly Learners Club gives students the chance to do just that.

“So many people want to get involved,” Ellison said. “It’s really great.”