Bygone clubs reinstated by interested students

Jessica Wang | Staff Writer

Out with the old, in with the old.

Driven by their interests, students at Mason High School have taken it upon themselves to bring back old clubs. For instance, seniors Connor Telford and Chris Lee, fueled by their love for music, initiated the comeback of the Record Club.

“Chris Lee remembered that [the Record Club] was a thing and he asked me if we wanted to just restart it in our own version,” Telford said. “We started it because we wanted a place to talk about music that wasn’t just us texting each other or us talking to each other in our friend group.”

The original Record Club, once advised by Greg Roach, discontinued during the last school year. However, even though the club existed relatively recently, without any guidance from the original members, Telford and Lee were essentially forming a completely new club. 

“At first, it was hard because it was almost like we built the club from the ground up,” Telford said. “We didn’t have an advisor and we had no idea what the old Record Club was like. So, it was just me and Chris inventing our own club with the same title as the old club. We knew what we wanted, so that made it a little easier, but finding the advisor was probably the hardest part.”

Once the club got running, Telford and Lee saw their vision successfully executed: every other Wednesday, members meet up and spark conversations about music they find intriguing. Telford first became interested in records through his sister.

“My sister used to listen to records with me before she went to college and then she left and took her record player with her and all of her records,” Telford said. “Then a couple years ago, she got me a record player for my birthday. It can be a good way to hang out and vibe. Some meetings, we actually bring in a record player and listen to it together, though the records are a secondary part of [the club].”

Records are no doubt an integral part of the Record Club. Despite the name, however, the club is not limited to just records. 

“I collect records, and so do a lot of people in the club, but Record Club is more so about general music,” Telford said. “The way a typical meeting goes is I’ll post a prompt on Schoology like ‘bring a song with a saxaphone it’ or ‘a song that makes you think of winter time.’ And then everyone will go around at the meeting and share their songs. Then, one person will sign up for a meeting and pick an album and we’ll just sit there and vibe. It’s pretty fluid.”

For Telford, his motivation to revive the Record Club was fueled solely by passion. However, for senior Maanasa Mendu, her efforts to revive the Environmental Club were also fueled by necessity. 

“Before this year, they had an environmental class, and Ms. Distel taught it,” Mendu said. “They had a club with that class that was called the ‘Go Green Team’ and they handled recycling and they had projects. [The club] was brought back around 5 years ago,but it never really grew. We had multiple efforts to bring it back, but we were never really able to. But the environment is just such an important thing to have awareness about and right now, it is affecting us more than ever — it’s a necessary component of our education.”

Despite past failures to bring back the club, Mendu was determined to make things work. After a significant amount of advertising through flyers and announcements, Mendu said she was able to bring in more students — all with the goal of tackling and raising awareness on environmental issues within the school and the community.

“Environment is so much more than saving nature,” said Mendu. “Whether it is individuals versus large corporations or looking at something a some sort of societal need versus nature — it’s really a balance. These are really complex issues that we need to discuss and get an idea about.”

However, Environmental Club goes beyond simply igniting discussions. Similar to Telford, despite the fact that this club once existed, Mendu said she had to go to great lengths to ensure that the revived club truly made an impact.

“Last year was the first time we held an E-Waste drive,” Mendu said. “We spent so much time planning for it, researching everything. It just took us way longer than [expected] because a lot of times we were just discussing, like ‘wait what should we do? What are the problems? Getting to the action part was kind of difficult. Discussion are important but you also have to act.”

After successfully conducting the E-Waste drive, Mendu and members of the Environmental Club sent the collected cellphones to the Cincinnati Zoo to recycle and resell old electronics, where the profits went into environmental conservation efforts. While projects like this require a significant amount of effort, Mendu said she believes there is an urgent need to protect the environment, making her time and energy worth it.

“It’s important to stay aware of [environmental issues],” Mendu said. “I know that it gets very politically charged but the environment, how we treat it, whatever the consequences of our actions are, is an issue that affects everyone. [That is why] we try to implement projects that can energize students in the community.”

Photos contributed by Connor Telford.