New Clubs, New Opportunities for Students


Image by Laura Rivera

Unified Champions Club Co-President Savanna Pierce-Shimomura colors along with other club members.

A variety of new clubs began at the beginning of the school year and are currently open to any  new members looking to join. Some of the organizations include Unified Champions, Women in Science and the Mental Health and Friendship Through Service Club. 

The newly established clubs are looking to increase their membership sizes in order to raise awareness regarding their main topics and goals. None of the organizations require payments or a level of academic excellence in order to join. Like other campus organizations, students have the opportunity to meet new people and interact with others in these clubs. 

“Students should become involved in campus organizations because it increases their opportunity to build friendships,” Assistant Principal John Mark Edwards said. “Clubs provide increased chances for students to work with others that share similar interests. If you are hesitant to join a club, you just need to do it. A really good way to join a club is to find one that one of your current friends is already involved in. McNeil High School has so many clubs, so keep looking for the club that you are the most interested in joining and go for it.”

The Unified Champions Club aims to create a space where both general and special education students can share time together. The organization meets every Friday during flex in room J122 in the Special Education Wing. 

The Unified Champions Club offers refreshments at its weekly meetings, one of them being hot cocoa. Special Education teachers Gretchen Krohn and Madeline Beago cheered their cups. (Image by Laura Rivera)

“Unified Champions Club was started to help the students in special education to have more inclusion with the rest of the school, ” junior and club Co-President Savanna Pierce-Shimomura said. “As general education students make more connections and friendships with special education students, we will be able to start seeing a more unified school. During our meetings, we talk, play games like ‘UNO’ and draw. We’ve also played with pet snails. We have so much fun in Unified Champions Club and it gives students the opportunity to make friends with new people they usually couldn’t meet.” 

The Women in Science Club meets the first Wednesday of every month in room A222. The club discusses women’s underrepresentation in the field of science and recognizes their work. 

Some of the Women in Science Club’s officers. (Social Media Manager Allison Podnar, Founder and President Sarah Patti, and Director of Events Emilia Trevino). (Image by Laura Rivera)

“Women in science are often overshadowed or forgotten, and I wanted to shine a spotlight on the work they’ve done,” junior and club founder Sarah Patti said. “Most meetings will consist of a lesson centering around either one, or a few women of a similar field, and then an activity based on their lives. For me, I’d want everyone to walk out of the club with someone that they can see themselves in. I know that can be hard sometimes, so I hope that I can bring a diverse cast of women to people’s attention. We have candy in every meeting and everyone is welcome.”

The MHFTS Club prioritizes the mental health of students and attempts to allow members to develop a sense of self. The meetings take place during flex time every Monday on B-Day weeks. 

The MHFTS Club’s promotional flyer. (Image by Tanishi Patel)

I started this club because I saw that there are not that many mental health clubs in McNeil,” sophomore and club founder Tanishi Patel said. “Mental health is an extremely important part of a high schooler’s development and yet, so many people forget it. During meetings, you would come in and we would all sit in a circle. Then, you will be presented with two questions, a mental health question, and a normal question. Then after the discussion, we would start working on the current project. We really do have a lot of fun and it feels like a friend group because we get to know each other. Also, there are snacks at almost every meeting.”

Students who join these organizations also have the opportunity to add these activities as part of their college resume.  According to Counselor Helen Frink, this is an important aspect to add to resumes when applying to universities in order to increase one’s chances of getting admitted. 

“Colleges and universities are looking for evidence that a student has genuine interests,” Frink said. “If a college admissions officer has two applicants with almost identical transcripts, they will have a higher regard for the student with extracurricular activities. Also, clubs offer an opportunity for leadership roles, which are valuable for your college applications.”

To receive notifications from the Unified Champions Club about their upcoming meetings, use the Remind code @uccmhs or text that same code to the number 81010. 

If interested in learning more about the Women in Science Club, click here for their official website. To receive club notifications, use the Remind code @2d9fc7 or text it to the number 81010. In order to follow up with recent events, visit their Instagram page

In order to become a MHFTS member, join their Google Classroom with the code g52skvy. To follow up on their recent events, visit their Instagram page @mcneil.mhfts