Student-run clubs enhance educational, service and learning experiences

Convent+of+the+Sacred+Heart+students+Sheila+Moran+%2715%2C+Abbi+Wilson+%2715%2C+alumna+Tara+Hammonds+%2714+and+Red+Cloud+Club+co-heads+Alexa+Granser+%2715+and+Grace+McKenney+%2715+stand+with+teachers+Ms.+Lindsay+Thompson%2C+Dr.+Victoria+Landry+and+Dr.+Bill+Mottolese+at+the+Red+Cloud+Indian+School+on+the+Pine+Ridge+Reservation+in+South+Dakota.+

Convent of the Sacred Heart students Sheila Moran ’15, Abbi Wilson ’15, alumna Tara Hammonds ’14 and Red Cloud Club co-heads Alexa Granser ’15 and Grace McKenney ’15 stand with teachers Ms. Lindsay Thompson, Dr. Victoria Landry and Dr. Bill Mottolese at the Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

From Surf Club to Lionshare, and Red Cloud Club to Laughter for Healing, Convent of the Sacred Heart’s student-run clubs enrich members with both charitable and active experiences.
Juniors Katrina Rodriguez and Claire Squire, co-heads of the Surf Club, hope to bring together fellow surf-enthusiasts and discuss the culture and competition of the sport.
“We were inspired to start this club because not many people are aware that there are places to surf on the East Coast, especially in our area of New York,” Katrina said.
Once the weather is warmer, Claire and Katrina plan to organize a June surfing trip to Rockaway Beach, New York.
“Over the summer, Claire and I both went surfing in Rockaway Beach, which is located just outside of Manhattan,” Katrina said. “We then realized there was so much more to the sport than how it seems on social media and we wanted to share it with the community.” 
The Surf Club also supports the conservation of local coastal environments.
“We want to make the community aware of environmental problems in our oceans and work firsthand to clean up the beaches,” Claire said. 
Another unique club on this year’s roster is Lionshare. The club is affiliated with the Lionshare Educational Organization (LEO) Zoological Conservation Center, which strives to conserve rare and endangered species.
Sophomore co-heads Tatiana Lieberman and Juliette Guice modeled the club’s goals after those of the Center, which include “inspiring others to save the animals of today for the people of tomorrow,” according to leozoo.org 
I ride at Lionshare farm in Greenwich, owned by Peter Leone. Everyday when I go to ride my horse, I always hear the animals from the conservation center,” Tatiana said. “Juliette has been with me to my barn where I ride and we both became very interested in the zoological center.”
Tatiana and Juliette plan to take Lionshare members on tours of the Center and raise money for the zoo.
“We are both very passionate about animals and saving the endangered populations from going extinct. Our goals are to create awareness about the endangered animals and to also have people get involved and do something about it,” Tatiana said.
Another meaningful community service trip to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation inspired seniors Grace McKenney and Alexa Granser to create the Red Cloud Club.
“Grace and I went to Pine Ridge the summer before our junior year and absolutely fell in love with the kids at Red Cloud School and the Lakota culture.  We volunteered during the day and helped the children with subjects such as math and science. In the evenings we talked with some of the tribe members and participated in Lakota traditions,” Alexa said.

Convent of the Sacred Heart students Sheila Moran '15, Abbi Wilson '15, alumna Tara Hammonds '14 and Red Cloud Club co-heads Alexa Granser '15 and Grace McKenney '15 stand with teachers Ms. Lindsay Thompson, Dr. Victoria Landry and Dr. Bill Mottolese at the Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
Convent of the Sacred Heart students Sheila Moran ’15, Abbi Wilson ’15, alumna Tara Hammonds ’14 and Red Cloud Club co-heads Alexa Granser ’15 and Grace McKenney ’15 stand with teachers Ms. Lindsay Thompson, Dr. Victoria Landry and Dr. Bill Mottolese at the Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Courtesy of Dr. Landry

Grace and Alexa hope to communicate with children of the reservation and spread awareness of the Lakota culture.
“This year we want to continue our connection with Red Cloud and possibly do more collaborative projects,” Grace said.
For a more light-hearted service activity, students can join Laughter for Healing, previously known as Convent Clownery. The club aims to excite students about circus performances and encourage them to bring their special talents to the community.
Clad in clown costumes, Laughter for Healing co-heads senior Cetta Brusco and junior Madison Miles teach club members to unicycle, juggle and globe walk. The club occasionally performs at morning meetings and also plans to participate in the annual Talent for Tots fundraiser.
Many members also attend the Sacred Heart summer service program, Clown Academy, at the Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart.
“I discovered my clowning passion after I went to Clown Academy in eighth grade. After that I loved it and wanted to continue the club with Cetta,” Madison said. “It is such a unique thing and everytime we have club meetings everyone enjoys it. I have been going back to Clown Academy in New Jersey ever since and we are trying to have more Convent Clownery members go to it.”
According to nces.ed.gov, participation in various extracurricular activities, whether surfing or learning how to juggle, is an integral part of a well-rounded education and facilitates greater success later in life.
Through its support of the many student-run clubs and organizations, the Sacred Heart community continues to encourage its students to excel beyond the classroom. 
-Arielle Kirven, Staff Writer