Gilmour clubs offer students opportunities to find their voices and develop confidence in being who they are. If students have passions that aren’t represented in established clubs, students may start their own clubs and recruit others with like passions.
Mia Nannicola (`19) recently started the club “C.A.R.E”, which stands for Care for Animal Respect and Education. Nannicola’s deep love for animals began when she was a child interested in riding horses. She continues to support animal rights. When Nannicola discovered the Geauga Humane Society Rescue Village, she wanted to help the animals then and there.
At the beginning of this school year, C.A.R.E. had a total membership of 11 students. The club now boasts an attendance roster of over 35 students, all sharing a common love of animals. At meetings, the members make braided toys for dogs and blankets for cats that are simple and fun. By starting this club, Nannicola turned her passion into a group effort. Nannicola encourages students to start clubs. She said, “I wish I would have done it earlier.”
To start a club, students need to go to Mr. Ray Screnci, the clubs moderator, with a solid club idea in order to receive an application. In addition to C.A.R.E., Screnci was moved by Madison Wagner’s (‘19) club, Make A Difference (MAD). Once a courageous eighth grader, Wagner had a passion for serving others. When visiting a homeless shelter, she was fascinated by a painting that illustrated Jesus in line with the homeless. Wagner thinks the painting inspires people to “treat everyone nicely” because “you don’t know what they have been through.”
Since Wagner’s club was successful (and still is) at her old school, she decided to bring her infatuation with helping those in need to Gilmour. Wagner sees all types of people with challenges and she wants to help. Her club makes meals at the West Side Catholic Center where she encounters people who are struggling through addiction, domestic violence, homelessness and many other handicaps that limit their survival. Deeply affected, Wagner wants her club to have as strong an impact as possible. Wagner has advice for anyone who wants to start a club. She said, “Don’t be nervous. Take the risk.”
Screnci says clubs must have meetings to succeed. He often finds that people may feel inspired to start a club but they lose interest after a few months. Wagner’s and Nannicola’s clubs both have regular service opportunities and scheduled meetings.
John Kunzo’s (`18) ESPN club also stood out to Screnci. The ESPN club interests sport lovers. Screnci advises those interested in starting clubs to “go speak at Convocation. You are in front of everyone. It is a great way to be heard.”
Measles is a long time organization on campus that raises money to help buy vaccines for those affected by measles worldwide. Hannah Kirchner (`17), a member of Measles, said, “Measles is a great way for young people to get involved with big issues.” By helping students donate school uniforms, buy dress down bracelets and valentines candies, the Measles Initiative raises sizable funds for children.
Students like Kirchner participate in clubs new and old in order to “stay active and make a difference.”