A NEW LEAF
Upper School student organization seeks to impact school, improve the world
In recent years, Worthington Christian School has offered more than a dozen different clubs for students in grades 9-12. From Minecraft Club to Hebrew Club, Fishing Club to Mental Health Club, these groups provide space for students to come together with others who share a common interest, explore new interests, and grow in unique ways outside of the traditional classroom setting. Though many of these groups are on hold this year, a few have still been able to meet safely. One of these groups has not only been able to continue meeting but has also undergone a metamorphosis of sorts.
WC has hosted a local chapter of BioClub (Biology Club) for several years. Sponsored by the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT), BioClub offers myriad opportunities for students with science interests. Upper School science teacher Kelly Mikhail started the group, but in pursuing a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University this year, she had to step away from club leadership. Fellow science teacher Krista Wood stepped in to lead the group last August. Desiring to share her passion for nature, wildlife, and the environment with students and the school community, and as a reflection of students’ evolving interests, BioClub has become the Environmental Bio Club this year and is pursuing a renewed mission and vision.
The club began meeting outdoors every other week at the beginning of this school year. Wood noticed that week after week, more students began attending the meetings. The group quickly grew from an average of ten students to 40. The new Upper School campus provides plenty of space for outdoor meetings which accommodated their growing group until December when the group began meeting indoors in two different classrooms to account for physical distancing. They use their meeting time to explore different aspects of the natural world, such as taking part in a migration simulation or watching videos on topics like microorganisms. They also take time to discuss ways to move toward their mission.
Environmental Bio Club students want to have a positive impact on the entire school community. This year, they wrote and established a club mission statement: to improve the environmental literacy of the school. They developed an official logo, sketched by sophomore member Emma Rawls. One of their first big projects aimed at moving toward their mission is creating and implementing a campus-wide paper recycling program. Under the guidance of school leadership, Wood and students have been able to dispense all of the necessary containers and worked to promote the recycling of paper in each classroom, and group members take turns collecting it on a weekly basis. Upper School Principal Dr. Buzz says of the group, “I am excited about our Bio Club and their efforts to bring recycling to WC…joining God in what He is doing with respect to creating and sustaining life on earth is such an important aspect of bearing His image day by day.”
Another significant project the group has undertaken is writing and publishing a quarterly newspaper to educate the school community on issues we face and to highlight students’ love for science. The first edition was just completed and is filled with science-based writings by our students. Students have generated column ideas for the newsletter based on their own interests: a column highlighting a particular chemical, an endangered animal species spotlight, an exploration of different careers in science, and more—all aimed at promoting environmental literacy. Nine-grader Madeline Bradshaw is one of the newsletter’s first contributing writers. She explains, “Before taking biology this year, I was never interested in science and I’d never enjoyed it. This year, my perspective on science has changed for the better… I enjoy writing, and [the newsletter] was a great opportunity to contribute to the club in that way.”
Seniors Joshua Jeyandran and Rena So are in their fourth year of involvement with WC’s Bio Club, now serving as the group’s President and Vice-President, respectively. Their interest in science runs deep and they both plan to pursue science-related careers after graduation. For science-oriented students like them, having Bio Club at WC has been crucial to their development. In Rena’s words, “Bio Club has helped me learn a variety of lab techniques and skills…I also got to discover and expand my knowledge on many topics that have sparked my interest.” According to Joshua, “Bio Club has been an incredible avenue for me to explore science and truly satiate my curiosity. I’ve had many significant opportunities through the club, including competing in a statewide competition and collecting biology samples at High Banks Metro Park.”
Wood and the students have no plans of slowing their group’s gradual growth and work. Their vision for the future includes expanding the newly-established recycling program to include plastics. They also would like to build and maintain an outdoor classroom that would provide space to maintain a garden, and provide opportunities to study nature, in nature, through observation and wonder. She shares, “This club offers another pathway for students to become more educated on environmental issues and how we can better become stewards of God’s creation.”