New Clubs Provide Unique Experiences For Students


Student-led clubs are a substantial part of Menlo’s culture, providing students with new opportunities to bond with others, apply their interests or discover new passions. Staff illustration: Sutton Inouye.

Sophie Stone, Staff Writer

Clubs are a significant part of Menlo’s culture, allowing students to meet people outside of academics that share the same interests. This year, Menlo students started a wide variety of new clubs, including arts-and-crafts clubs, speaking clubs, culture-related clubs and sports-related clubs.

Started by seniors Elizabeth Curtin, Claire Raney and C.C. Golub, the Maker Club is among the new clubs at Menlo this year.  They started their club to introduce people to the Whitaker Lab and help them learn to use its different tools. “We want students to get excited about taking classes in the lab in the future,” Golub said.

 All three of them took mechanical and electrical engineering as sophomores, and Raney remembered noticing that there were only 2-5 girls in a class of 15-plus kids. “We were inspired to get our friends and people who maybe don’t want to take these classes in the lab [to join]. We [want members] to just hang out, create projects and have fun,” Raney said. Now the club has grown beyond their friends due to interest from underclassmen wanting to experience new things in a stress-free environment. “I think my favorite thing is all of the new people I’ve gotten to meet. Seeing people get to use new tools, create innovative projects and build friendships across grades has been great,” Curtin said.

Another club where students use their creativity and innovation is the Cre-8 club, founded by sophomore Chloe Lee. In the club, members try rug making, embossing (similar to 3D engraving) and making objects with resin. Lee said that she wanted to start a club where students could create art and be creative without the pressures of taking a class with grades and deadlines.

“Personally, I really like doing small crafts and stuff, and I just wanted to share that with everyone else,” Lee said. “The environment is really chill, and everyone loves what they’re doing.” As the club gets bigger, Lee plans to make useful items such as trays out of the resin. She hopes that she will be able to sell those products and donate that money to charities. “It’s giving back to the community, which is really cool and important to me,” Lee said.

Seniors Mitsuka Kiyohara and Uma Misha created the Anime Club, where members watch and discuss anime, manga and other aspects of Japanese media and culture. “I was always interested in anime since I was really young, but I didn’t really see it as something that was assimilating into our culture,” Kiyohara said. She said it was during the pandemic that she really noticed it was becoming popular. “I wanted to start a new community of people who were just interested in watching anime and wanted to talk about it,” Kiyohara said. “Then I met [Misha], who happened to love anime like me, and I just got to connect with her and start this club.” 

After only a couple of months, the club has grown to over 60 members, and both Kiyohara and Misha emphasize that everyone is welcome. “I think diversity and making sure that clubs represent different student interests is really important. I feel that a lot of times, younger students starting school find new people and find their interests through clubs, and I think that Anime Club is important for students who like that to have a place to join,” Kiyohara said.

 Juniors Sam Sellers and Eloise Thompson started the Gender Equity in Sports club to spread awareness on the lack of female recognition in sports, and their club has been written about in a previous online article. Juniors Ari Krane and Chris Liao founded another athletics-related club, the Athlete Empowerment club. It aims to involve athletes in philanthropic activities and bring guest speakers to share their experiences on and off of the field. This club is featured in the Coat of Arm’s November print edition. The Sing A Capella club, started by Ana Banchs Rodriguez and Zach Ruwitch, is a new club where students sing together. Banchs and Ruwitch hope to record pieces and hold small concerts in the future. 

Sophomore Nikhil Kothari started the Menlo Public Speaking club, where people who are less inclined to public speaking can come and improve their skills. Kothari wanted the club to be more low-key than Menlo’s mock trial and debate teams so that everyone would feel comfortable participating. During club meetings, members watch videos of people known for their public speaking abilities, then discuss what they did well and how students can improve. 

“I became really interested in oratory, which is a specific type of speaking, and Menlo didn’t have anything for that,” Kothari said. “I wanted to start with a low-commitment club where people could just come during lunch.” According to Kothari, public speaking isn’t something that teenagers are given much practice with unless it’s something they want to do. However, it’s the shyer students that need the most practice. “Public speaking is a skill that everyone should have, and I think that this club could really help,” Kothari said.