Extracurricular activities in the age of virtual learning


Erica Schindler, Online EIC

Student Movement Against Cancer

Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School’s chapter of Student Movement Against Cancer (SMAC) has been meeting virtually since the start of the school year using Google Meet. These virtual meetings have proven to be successful for the club. SPFHS junior and SMAC co-president Lindsay Edelman says that virtual meetings are more convenient for students who may be busy with other activities.

“We have great turnouts at each [meeting], which is awesome knowing how many dedicated members we have that want to make an impact,” Edelman said.

In a normal school year, SMAC holds bake sales, pretzel sales and other events. In-person events like those are not possible under current circumstances, so SMAC has turned to other ways of fundraising. Dine and Donate events, days when businesses donate a portion of their proceeds to the club, have been held at restaurants like Blaze Pizza, Dairy Queen and Chipotle.

There are also many challenges that come with virtual learning for clubs such as SMAC. In addition to not being able to hold meetings in-person, SMAC’s Relay for Life event is facing an unknown future this year.

“I think the biggest challenge is not knowing whether our Relay for Life event is in-person or not because it is hard to plan for food trucks and activities if we are not sure if we can host in-person yet,” Edelman said.

Despite this, the club has seen a high turnout at its meetings. Members have continued to show up on Google Meet to contribute to the fight against cancer.

 “SMAC is an amazing club to get involved with,” Edelman said. “it is full of the most kind, compassionate, and dedicated people I have ever met.You get to make new friends, attend fun events, and all of the work goes towards helping find a cure to cancer.”


Junior State of America

Like SMAC, SPFHS’s Junior State of America club has been holding virtual meetings this school year. JSA has been meeting on Google Meet every Thursday from 3:30 to 4:30 through the club’s Google Classroom. Each week, students have the chance to discuss and debate various topics.

Meetings have been going surprisingly well during virtual learning,” senior and JSA co-president Ezri Abraham said. “Google Meet is very useful in debate settings because it provides easy organization and voting is a lot easier as well.”

The switch to virtual learning has forced the club to make changes to the way they advertise meetings. JSA now creates weekly debate fliers which are posted to the club’s Instagram account. Social Studies teachers also advertise the meetings by posting the flier on their Google Classrooms. 

In addition to weekly meetings, JSA usually attends several state-wide and region-wide conferences each school year. This year, these conventions have been moved to a completely virtual format.

“This biggest challenge with our club during virtual learning has been how our national conventions have been changed,” Abraham said. “Usually, our club goes to Washington DC each February to debate with people across the east coast. However, during the pandemic, these conventions have been transferred online. This has actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise because our winter congress this year will be with students from all across the country.”

Many club members look forward to JSA’s trip to Washington, D.C. each year. Despite the restrictions due to Covid-19, students in JSA will still have the opportunity to debate as they normally would at an in-person convention.