Clubs at WGHS


Violet Lahde

Ava Hultquist (12) at Club Rush for Drama Club and Thespians

On October 25th, Varsity Lane was packed with students of all years. Over 40 clubs squeezed their recruitment tables onto the street, trying to bring in as many new members as possible. “Clubs connect the student body,” says David Huynh, a sophomore who was advertising his brand new Model United Nations club. This year saw the founding or revival of around half of the clubs that have arrived at Willow Glen. The return of clubs followed the settling of a lawsuit against the district, which halted official club activity for the former half of the 2022-2023 school year. Members from all clubs are ecstatic to have a fresh start and participate at full force in the school ecosystem. Popular clubs such as Key Club and Car Club make a comeback, and new clubs such as the Gender and Sexualities Alliance (GSA) and Model UN Club join the fray. And school clubs are, without a doubt, one of the cornerstones of the high school experience. 

“[Clubs are] the easiest way to socialize with other people you normally wouldn’t socialize with,” said Christopher Monroe, one of the organizers for the Dungeons and Dragons Club. Dungeons and Dragons specifically is a case in point about freedom, as the players are able to dictate how the chords of the game are strung. The game is self-run by all the players and the game master, who is like a club official, similar to Christopher. Akin to D&D, clubs allow students to explore interesting worlds outside the classroom and dictate what happens within the confines of the group. But contrary to D&D, clubs exist not in the theater of mind, but in the solid, real world. 

Clubs also provide a voice for students to project and empower their voices. This is exemplified by activist clubs such as the Black Student Union (BSU), the Women’s Rights Activist Club (WRAC), and the Gender & Sexualities Alliance. These groups provide a safe space for their members, whether it be to express their feelings, or to simply exist. “I think it’s good for queer and trans students to have a safe space, because…a lot of people feel uncomfortable,” says Siena Micijevic, organizer of the GSA. There has not been a student-run support group for queer students in WGHS for at least 4 years, but the GSA is changing that this year. GSAs on the whole also help build a community support network for queer students. “We’re also educating people…about how you can support [others],” says Siena. The same applies to all other support clubs at school for their respective identities, whether it be black students or women’s rights activists. 

Clearly, clubs provide a necessary outlet for students to explore particular interests outside of the stressful classroom setting. While that includes imaginative, wild groups like the D&D Club, it also includes practical, innovative groups like the Physics & Engineering Club and Model UN club, as well as supportive or social groups like the Peer Support and Gardens and Outdoor Learning Domains (GOLD) club. “I just want to give back to the community,” answers Nic Traverso, founder of the Community Outreach club.

It is very clear that clubs let students prosper and grow into aspiring leaders, workers, and innovators. So why did they disappear last year? 

According to the SFChronicle, the official club status in Pioneer High School for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) was revoked in 2019. This followed a controversy involving forcing aspiring club officers to take an oath, which involved a “statement of sexual purity.” A legal complaint followed suit, claiming that the district violated various constitutional rights, and the courts ruled in favor of the FCA in September 2023, after 3 years in trial.. During the legal process, the district scrambled to reform its nondiscrimination policies. As a result, clubs disappeared during the first half of the 2022-2023 school year, without the ability to seek official status. Popular clubs in WGHS, such as the Key Club or the Car Club, saw no official meetings in the fall semester, while the FCA was the only officially recognized club in the entire district. As most readers know, clubs DID come back in the Spring semester, but not nearly to the strength they had before. Club momentum would take some time to build up. 

The FCA controversy originated from an incident in the classroom of Peter Glasser, a teacher at Pioneer. In the mid-spring of 2019, he posted a particular statement from the local Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) club on a whiteboard for all his first-period class to see. He commented to his class about the club’s “‘objectionable’ ‘moral stances’ on marriage and sexuality,” as reported by the 9th Circuit Court . 

One concern came from one part of the statement, according to the Mercury News:

  • “God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.”

Glasser was an advisor for the school’s Gay Straight Alliance (AKA the Gender and Sexualities Alliance, or GSA), which intends to defend the rights and determination of students with identities that fall under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella. “You have an intrinsic right to exist,” said Glasser in an interview with Finding HumanKINDness. Naturally, upon discovery of the FCA’s statement, he felt that he “had to act right away,” or else his inaction “could have been interpreted as…apathy”. Despite his eagerness to defend those he cared about, Glasser’s actions would prove to be both slightly uninformed and extremely significant to the future of the district.

Little to Glasser’s knowledge, two of the club’s leaders were in the very class where he commented on the statement. He was later informed by them after class that the statement was not an official statement from the association, but rather an oath required by members who wish to take up leadership positions in the club. Glasser’s research and actions proved to be both uninformed and significant at the time, as nevertheless, the contents of the oath were reported to the Principal. The FCA club was barred from official recognition for violating the San Jose Unified School District’s non-discrimination policy. 

As a result of Pioneer High School revoking the official club status of its local FCA chapter, the chapters at both Leland and Willow Glen faced similar fates. Yes, there was an FCA chapter at this school, and it hasn’t existed since it was axed in 2019. 

The rest is history now clubs have finally returned to campus. While the future may be unpredictable, it hopefully shouldn’t involve controversies between clubs and the district. Here’s to productive and prospective clubs for the 2023-2024 school year!

Current 2023-2024 WGHS Clubs!

A Space for Bookworms

Ancient History Club

Anime Club

Asian Culture Club

Best Buddies

Black Student Union

Car Club

Chamber Singers

Cinema Club

Community Outreach Club

Craft Club

Crochet Club

Drama Club

Dungeons and Dragons Club

Film Production Club

Forensic Science and True Crime Club

French Club

Gardens and Outdoor Learning Domains (GOLD) Club

GSA (Gender and Sexualities Alliance)

Hiking Club

Key Club

Latino Club

Model United Nations

National Honor Society

Peace and Love club

Peer Support Club

Physics and Engineering Club

Polynesian Club

Portuguese Culture Club

Spanish Tutoring Club

Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD)

Surf & Sailing

Team 256 Robo Rams

Video Journalism Club

Web and App Development Club

WG Folklorico

WGHS Kiting Club

Willow Glen Baking Club

Women Athletics Representation Club

Women’s Rights Activist Club

Destination College Advising Corps (DCAC)