In Aspen, opportunities abound for students to serve
The Aspen Times
As Aspen High School student Caroline Sachdeva held up a colorful sign that read “AHS Quidditch Club” at the school’s annual club fair Thursday, her fellow classmates approached her with comments that included, “This makes me so happy,” and “Is this a real thing?”
For those unfamiliar with the Harry Potter series, quidditch is a competitive sport that’s played by wizards and witches that involves four balls and flying broomsticks.
A slew of colleges and organizations — and now Aspen High School — have adopted a modified, realistic version of the sport, said Sachdeva, confirming that the club is most certainly “a real thing.”
From niche interest clubs like the Comic Book Club, to academic, political or service-based groups, Aspen High School offers a wide and eclectic range of 45 clubs for students to be involved in.
Some, like the Quidditch Club, are less than a week old, while others, such as the BETA Club, which was formerly known as the Outreach Service Club, have been around for 15 years, according to the service club founder and Aspen High School college counselor Kathy Klug.
“We want to make sure our kids learn service and are involved with it so that when they go to college or out in the real world they know that giving back is a matter of habit,” Klug said.
While some clubs may be more serious than others, they are equally important in terms of what they offer students, Aspen High School counselor Josh Berro said.
“I think that schools need a place that’s not just about academics,” said Berro, who organizes Aspen High School’s annual club fair. “Kids can learn an awful lot about other people, lifestyles, cultures and places through these clubs.”
Perhaps more importantly, Berro said being involved with a club offers students who might not feel accepted in other areas the opportunity to be a part of something.
“Maybe they’re not fully engaged in being a star student or athlete,” he said. “The hope is that through these clubs, kids feel a sense of belonging and ownership, and maybe that will translate into the classroom.”
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There might be part of Hailey Swirbul that is finally beginning to believe she belongs. The 22-year-old cross-country skier is coming off quite a stretch with the U.S. ski team, one that includes her first career World Cup podium and a successful go in the notorious Tour de Ski stage race.