ICYMI: Club Guide For Fair at the Falls

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One of the most-awaited school events of the year has come and gone again. From selling decorated spirit packs to welcoming 41 clubs into the fold, in case you did not get to it all, here is a quick recap and club guide with all the information you need.

Before the start of the pandemic, the “Fair at the Falls” at Potomac Falls High School (PFHS) was much different from what it appears to be today: a club function. “We wanted to rebrand [Fair at the Falls] after the pandemic,” said Ms. Michaela Ottenberg, J.D., M.ED, and PFHS Activities Coordinator. “It almost used to be a carnival, [where] the feeder elementary schools would show up.” 

The rebrand occurred at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, when students were just returning back from a full year of online learning. As a result of many school events being canceled prior, Ms. Ottenberg wanted to carve the fair as a way for the students to become more familiar with the extracurriculars offered at the school.

Currently, there are 41 clubs signed up to have a booth showcasing what they do throughout the school year. Although Ms. Ottenberg stated that booths would not be organized based on their niche, this article will organize the list of clubs in small clusters to give readers a small run-through of the clubs that participated. 

STEM: Science, Tech, Engineering, Math

Computer Science Club – sponsor: Mr. Connolly

  • Open to beginners, this club is generally towards those who are in Computer Science related courses at PFHS or are interested in pursuing Computer Science. 

Robotics Club – sponsor: Ms. Zarate

  • This club is all about building and coding robots, while building meaningful connections and practical skills.

Investing Club – sponsor: Mr. Puterio

  • The goal of the Investing Club is to teach students at PFHS how to spend and save money wisely when investing in the market. 

Astronomy Club – sponsor: Ms. Angelidaki

  • The Astronomy Club is all about learning more about astronomy: the study of the universe, e.g. planets in the solar system.

Future Healthcare Professionals – sponsor: Mr. Moschera

  • If you are interested in going into the medical field when you are older, then this club is a right fit for you. 

Marketing/Business: 

DECA – sponsor: Mr. Lucas

  • DECA is all about encouraging future entrepreneurs and leaders to participate in the finance, marketing, hospitality, and management career sectors in high school and as a future career. They do this by practicing leadership development through events, competitions and activities.

Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) – sponsor: Mr. Onda

  • FBLA encourages high school students to prepare for careers in businesses by participating in competitions, leadership development and academic programs. 

Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) – sponsor: Ms. Walls

  • FCCLA encourages high school students to prepare for careers in Family and Consumer Sciences education by gaining knowledge that furthers their personal growth, leadership development and career preparation opportunities. They promoted their club at the fair by having a ball toss, which was popular among the students.

 

Class Boards:

Junior Advisory Board – sponsor: Ms. Keller

  • After their trivia booth at the Battle of Sterling tailgate that drew many people in, the Junior Class Officers are back at it again for Fair at the Falls. Junior Class President Abisha Arshi said, “The Junior Advisory Board’s mission is to emphasize the importance of the youth voice in order to effect positive change at Potomac Falls High School.” 

Sophomore Class – sponsor: Mrs. Heishman

  • After the former Sophomore class sponsor Mrs. Hill left, English teacher Mrs. Heishman took on the role of becoming the sponsor. Sophomore class is about furthering school spirit in the grade, as well as preparing for Homecoming and other upcoming events.

Freshman Class – sponsor: Ms. Russell

  • Freshman class has a similar role to the Sophomore class. The advisory board is all about furthering school spirit in the Freshman class, as well as preparing for upcoming school events. 

Honor Societies:

National Art Honor Society – sponsor: Mrs. Chodrow

  • This honor society is open only to those who take an art class at PFHS. The goal of the Art Honor Society is to “bring art education to the attention of the school and community,” according to their website. 

American Sign Language Honor Society – sponsor: Ms. Hall-Price

  • The honor society encourages further participation in ASL learning by stimulating the use of the language and learning more about ASL history and culture. It is only open to those who are taking ASL at PFHS. At the fair, they sold stickers and allowed people to show their artistic side by drawing on paper at the table.   

Thespian Society – sponsor: Ms. Fox

  • The honor society encourages and honors student achievement in Theater. 

Science National Honor Society – sponsors: Ms. Angelidaki and Mr. Almond

  • It is required that a student must be in a higher-level science class to join the honor society. However, the student can participate in fundraisers, and gain volunteer hours and leadership experience.

Cultural Clubs:

Black Student Union (BSU) – sponsor: Ms. Jones

  • The goal of BSU is to further conversations regarding issues that impact Black students, and to encourage people to learn, listen and understand how racial issues in the United States still impact students at PFHS and the entire country today. 

Korean Culture Club – sponsor: Ms. Lim

  • The club is all about learning more about Korean culture.  Kpop is not the only representation stemming from South Korea, and the club expands on that

Middle Eastern Club – sponsor: Mrs. Abedian

  • The club’s goal is for people to learn more and further understand Middle Eastern culture. 

Asian American Association – sponsor: Mrs. Miller

  • Founders and sophomores Rez Orosa and Lindsay Kim set up a creative, decorated poster board, with sweet snacks to entice students at the fair. It certainly worked. The goal of the Asian American Association is to further conversations about Asian cultures through food, games and other activities. Anyone is welcome, even if they are not of Asian descent. The goal of the Asian American Association is similar to BSU’s, in which their goal is to further conversations regarding issues that impact Asian students, and to learn more about Asian cultures. 

Global Ambassadors Club – sponsor: Mrs. Chang

  • The Global Ambassadors Club encourages an exchange of culture between students at PFHS and with international students from over 35 countries. 

Muslim Student Association (MSA) – sponsor: Señora Schneider 

  • MSA’s goal throughout the school year is to unite the Muslim community at Potomac Falls by participating in competitions, engaging in discussions about Islam and encourage even non-Muslims to join. 

Writing/Videography and Student Outreach:

Yearbook – Ms. Everett

  • The entire year focuses on creating the school yearbook by interviewing students, taking pictures and creating the design for the yearbook.

Newspaper – Ms. Everett

  • The Roar wants to see what kind of articles you want to see in the newspaper, but also to promote the Panther Pit spirit packs (which is a must have). The Roar, along with Yearbook, sold out 150 bandannas in the matter of five minutes, while selling raffle tickets for items, such as gift cards and the spirit packs.

Feature Friday – Ms. Jens

  • The Feature Friday team creates the Feature Friday videos in Advisory. They write the scripts and edit and film the videos.

SCA – sponsors: Mr. Breslow, Ms. Carbo and Mrs. May

  • The Student Council Association (SCA) is all about encouraging student input and coming up with school events to further school spirit.  At [email protected], they charmed the crowd by having cup pong, where the prizes ranged from USA merch to free tickets for their drive-in next Saturday (9/17)

Miscellaneous: 

Knit and Crochet Club – sponsors: Mrs. Sedlak and Ms. Lim

  • If you love to knit or crochet, or have thought about doing something like this, then this club is a perfect match. At Fair at the Falls, they handed out cute stickers while showcasing cute, crocheted animals.

Academic Challenge Team – sponsor: Mrs. Saile

  • The team competes with other schools to answer questions based on a variety of topics. It is basically a trivia competition. 

Panther Book Club – sponsors: Mrs. Russell and Mrs. Richards

  • If you are a voracious reader and in the need for some new book recommendations, the Panther Book Club is here. It says it in the name: a book club for students at PFHS.

Students for Life – sponsors: Ms. Hall-Price

  • The club centers on the hot-button issue of abortion, where the founder decorated her table with balloons, diapers and a miniature model of a fetus, while wearing a t-shirt that stated “I am the pro-life generation.” You get the gist – it is a pro-life club at PFHS.

Giving Back to the Community:

Key Club – sponsor: Mrs. Ottenberg

  • Service and volunteerism are the two main pillars of Key Club. According to its website, “Key Club members around the world are learning how to lead and stand for what’s right through [these two pillars].” 

Senior Smiles – sponsor: Mrs. Kaplan

  • People in this club volunteer in assisted-living homes and retirement homes by doing activities to further socialization between high schoolers and seniors. The activities include baking, movie nights and game nights.

Best Buddies – sponsor: Ms. Seed 

  • According to their website, “if you’d like to be a friend or make new friends,” then this club is a right fit for you. Having a colorful poster board, along with lollipops and other treats, certainly made this club a hit. Their interest meeting is this Thursday (9/15) at 8:45 am in the library.

Make A Wish – sponsor: Ms. Angelidaki

  • A club that helps children who are facing life-threatening conditions make their dreams come true. 

Helping the Environment:

Green Team – sponsor: Mr. Puszert

  • The emphasis of Green Team is to have an environmentally friendly attitude in the community. Yes – they clean up around the school, but it does not only mean picking up the trash left or putting the correct items in the recycling bin. Being apart of PFHS’ Green Team also means being creative when it comes to finding ways to help out the environment. This does not only mean picking up the trash and throwing it away, but coming up with ways to better recycle in this school.

Pet Rescue Club – sponsor: Señora Schneider

  • The club works with local pet rescue groups to find homes and provide necessities for rescue animals.

Combating Stigma Against Mental Health:

Morgan’s Message – sponsor: Mrs. Hoilman

  • Mental Health has been a hot-button issue these recent years, especially amidst the pandemic. Morgan’s Message is a national non-profit organization created after Morgan, a lacrosse player for Duke University, tragically took her own life. “Morgan’s Message promotes eliminating the stigma around mental health struggles among the student-athlete community,” said President and senior Charley Tuma. “We will be hanging out ribbons and doing a stress relief activity.”

Sources of Strength – sponsor: Mr. Clark

  • A youth suicide prevention project created to change the norms about mental health and to prevent suicide by promoting conversations and connections between students and adults.

Sports Related:

PFHS Softball

  • The Softball season does not officially start until the spring, but it is not too late to sign up for training and support the team.

Track and Field AND Cross Country – sponsor: Coach Kalka

  • Although it may be too late to join the Cross Country team, it is not too late to be interested and join the Track and Field team. There are two track seasons: one in the winter (indoor track) and one in the spring (outdoor track).

Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) – sponsor: Mr. Frederick

  • Sports and Christianity are closely knit in this club – FCA gives athletes and coaches the opportunity to offer athletic and spiritual training.