Club Popularity Changes

Rebecca Brady, Staff Writer

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A way to get involved in Barnstable High School has always been after-school clubs. Though there are more than thirty clubs displayed under BHS Clubs on the school’s website, some students admit to never hearing about many of them.
“I have only heard of about ten clubs out of the thirty on the website that are actually still up and running”, said BHS senior Molly McNulty.
Though many clubs continue to run, attendance and participation throughout recent years has fluctuated; making club officers’ jobs more difficult. Typically, club attendance is very high at the beginning of the year, but tends to dwindle throughout the span of the year; especially in the last few months of school.
Senior, Perry Crovo has been a dedicated member of Key Club for the past five years. Serving as Vice President for Key Club her sophomore year, and continuing on to President her Junior Year; she has seen the ups and downs of club attendance.
“At the beginning of the school year, club attendance was at an all time high. Everyone was eager and ambitious,” said Crovo. At first meetings, the attendance is always the highest,but once club dues come around, attendance seems to drop. Some clubs, including Key Club, have mandatory dues that need to be paid in order to be considered a member. Club members say that the dues are either unfair or too expensive. Many students deem that the $20 fee that is required for Key Club, a community-service based organization, is unreasonable. “I’m sure it [dues] does make some people not want to join but for a lot of clubs it isn’t an option. For Key Club we have to pay a certain amount to Kiwanis International if we even want to be considered a real Key Club and maintain our name,” said Crovo.
Though for some clubs, attendance is said to be dwindling even without mandatory dues. Military Support, run by Mrs. Valerie Latheine, is a club that offers community service surrounding those who have served in the Military, though runs with no fees upon joining. 
 “Our club attendance has always been a bit of a struggle for us, as a lot of people join but then don’t always show up to all the activities or meetings, especially at the end of the year,” said President of Military Support Club Fiona Murphy.
Although dues seem like a big factor in the reason for club attendance rates falling, it could simply be the other commitments and stressful lives of students. Students have other things to worry about, including the other multiple clubs they may be in, sports, academics, and family life. With four plus hours of homework a night, some teens simply want to focus on that, acknowledged Crovo.
“I definitely think sports get in the way of attendance, but that’s to be expected. Also, there’s overlapping clubs and people get busy by the middle of the year with school and need to stay after for certain things that they didn’t need to in the beginning of the year,” said Crovo.
“It is definitely hard to get everyone to meetings. Even though we have meetings only twice a month, there always tends to be conflicts with other clubs or sports,” said Murphy.
Even though clubs are an additional extra curricular to add to college applications, some members simply cannot commit to a full year to a club once their school work loads get bigger and their sport seasons begin. Although this is understandable, it makes club officers’ jobs even harder than they already are.“When people don’t show up to meetings it makes it hard to get across information, and it’s hard not knowing who knows what,” said Crovo.