Students Kick Off Year With Club Fair


With the start of the new year, students once again got the chance to express their passions with the community when they presented their clubs at the Williston club fair.

From 6:00 to 7:00 Wednesday evening (Sep. 14), students displayed their various clubs in hopes of inviting new members, beginning a year-long process that is part of a long Williston tradition. And this year, the club fair offered 36 different clubs for students to sign up for, many of them brand new.

A major element of Williston students’ extracurricular lives, clubs —ranging in type from Model UN to fashion club —provide unique spaces for students to engage with their passions and invite others to explore their passions alongside them. Although participation in any clubs is not mandatory, students are strongly encouraged to join clubs, and most do. Clubs have traditionally provided a unique space for Williston students, as they are student-led and often less structured than other school activities.

And for many Williston students, they provide a well-needed respite from most of the other parts of their busy schedules, which tend to be highly structured and teacher led.

Katherine Garrity, Assistant Dean of Students and the Director of Student Life Curriculum at Williston, sees clubs as laid-back and welcoming, and she appreciates that they allow students to find new passions.

“Clubs are a fail proof way for students to try something new,” Garrity explained. “[They are] low stakes, varying levels of commitment needed, and they are a great way for all of us to think outside our comfort zone and meet new people at the same time.”

Garrity also thinks that clubs provide spaces for open dialogue and conversations.

“Clubs can also add to the richness of our community life here at Williston,” Garrity, the facilitator of the school’s CORE program explained. “The conversations and debates in club meetings can make way for new types of learning and open our eyes to various perspectives on our campus.”

Jack Berrien, a sophomore day student from Easthampton, Massachusetts, says the clubs he has participated in have helped shape his Williston experience.

“I have met many of my friends and people who have graduated that I still talk to through clubs,” Jack said. “I think clubs are an amazing way to share the passion you have about something with other people that do too. [They] are a great way to form connections and a great deal of fun.”

This year, Jack is running several clubs at Williston, both of which are inspired by ideas he is passionate about.

“I run two clubs at Williston,” Jack told The Willistonian. “I run the Chess Club, which I am taking over for a graduated senior, and I co-run the Williston Math Team. For the Chess Club, we meet every week to play chess … and have fun. For the Math Team, we do a lot of math competitions, and we have biweekly meetings to learn math and play fun math games.”

This year, students were met with great weather and high spirits on the night of the club fair—a stark difference from the past few years, when events like the fair have been hindered by inclement weather and the Covid-19 pandemic. The return of normal school-wide events has been welcomed by members of the Williston community, who missed the presence of these events during the pandemic.

I have always loved the club fair,” Jack said. “The way it is set up, you are able to easily maneuver between different clubs and talk to the club leaders. I particularly enjoyed the interactive element of club stations, such as games and treats.”

Although clubs are enjoyed by many, some at Williston have difficulty finding time for their club commitments in their already crowded schedules. Most students are forced to juggle athletic practices and competitions, academics, and other extracurricular activities, making it a challenge to integrate clubs into their day-to-day lives.

Garrity has some advice for students struggling to find time to foster their interests.

“My advice is to be very aware of the time commitments with each club. [Some clubs allow you to] pick and choose the moments when they have some extra time and energy,” Garrity, who helps 9th grade students balance their many commitments in her CORE class, explained.

“I would also challenge students to think about how they’re using their time right now – are they in a rut of doing the same thing every day? Then maybe a club meeting or activity is just what they need to change things up.”