They take `get involved’ to a new level

Junior Elizabeth Langer participates in 15 Baldwin clubs and sports.

Parents and school counselors always advise students to get involved. Junior Elizabeth Langer sure has: She participates in 15 Baldwin clubs and sports. 

Langer said a fear of missing out combined with her search for a “movie-like lifestyle” motivated her to get so involved in the school. 

“Ever since I was a little girl, I have always loved high school movies. The reason why I throw myself into all of these clubs and activities is to get a sense of that movie-ish life,” she said. 

As a result, Langer participates in National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, SAFE Club, Best Buddies, Special Olympics, junior class officers, Spanish Club, Mini-THON, LIGHT Club, Global Minds club, Service Club, activities council, DaVincian Society, varsity sideline cheerleading, and lacrosse.

In the long run, these clubs will help me with college, but that is not, and never really was, my intent”

— Elizabeth Langer

While few students participate in quite so many activities, some others do share that desire to be extensively involved in the high school and their community.

Freshman Anna Plunkett had been participating in clubs since middle school but had fewer options there. After moving to high school, she jumped on the opportunity to join additional clubs, and she explains that this has helped her meet a variety of people and strengthen important life skills. 

She participates in Baldwinaires, indoor and outdoor track, the musical, LIGHT Club, and Special Olympics. 

“Through the Special Olympics Club you meet people from other schools,” Plunkett said. “Through track you get self-discipline.”

Sophomore Addison Giglione and Senior Class President Dylan Snyder both got involved in activities through their friends and met new people in the process. 

“By being in a lot of clubs, I feel more involved in the school, and I made many friends who I wouldn’t initially be friends with,” said Giglione, who participates in soccer, lacrosse, student council, and Mini-THON here at school. 

Club sponsors play a big role in the success of school activities. Through the LIGHT Club, middle school history and gifted teacher Anthony Barbano has gotten to work with high schoolers whom he had taught in the past. 

He said it has been both an exciting and nostalgic experience for him to work with these dedicated students, now outside of the classroom. 

“They have a thirst for not only increasing their own knowledge of the world around them, but they have a genuine want and need to make the Baldwin-Whitehall community a better place,” he said. 

Some students also participate in programs outside of school. Giglione participates in School of Rock, where she plays drums in her band “Loophole.” She has developed lifetime relationships in the process, she said. 

Also separate from Baldwin, Plunkett is a part of the Kick House Boxing program. She started for fun, and now she enjoys participating four times a week. 

Being involved in activities while in high school can be beneficial when applying to college, but these students don’t see that as the main motivation.

“I like to give back to the community that raised me,” Langer said. “So in the long run these clubs will help me with college, but that is not, and never really was, my intent.” 

Plunkett agreed. 

“Musical taught us that being a part of something isn’t just for application, and if you want it for your application, you actually need to put all of your effort into it,” she said. 

Snyder said participating in the clubs he is in would not be enjoyable if he didn’t genuinely find interest in them. He participates in Games Club, Robotics Club, French Club, Science Club, and  Student Council. 

However, it can be difficult to manage being in so many activities at the same time. Some students said they have to leave some club meetings early to attend other school and club commitments. 

Snyder said his club involvement also is complicated because he takes multiple honors and advanced placement classes. 

“My biggest struggle has been managing my time to make sure I can do everything I want to do,” Snyder said. 

Langer, in fact, said she had to stop participating in certain activities to create room for other responsibilities. 

“I had to eliminate some things in order to manage being so involved on top of school and regular life,” Langer said. 

Even teachers like Barbano have to find a healthy balance between teaching and sponsoring a club, which he said has especially gotten harder post-Covid. He said taking mental and physical breaks helps him as an educator. 

“At the end of the day, the most important thing is taking care of yourself,” he said. 

Still, many students said that they enjoy making new memories. For example, Giglione said she had lots of fun setting up for the Snowball Dance this year as a class officer. 

Snyder said he recommends that peers try to participate when they find a program or activity that piques their interest.

“If you can, you should join as many clubs as possible because being involved is amazing,” he said. 

Langer also recommends students get themselves involved and offers some advice. 

“Join all the clubs that you can, but don’t overload yourself. Reach out, do new things, and meet new people,” Langer said.