When Interests Align: The importance of school clubs


Grace LeVeque

Loralei Dawson (’22) sets up yarn before Crochet Club.

Almost everyone participates in some kind of hobby. Hobbies are a great way to pass the time, learn something new, and bring happiness. They provide a medium for people to get together and share a common interest. Because of this, many high school students create after-school or lunchtime clubs to bring their classmates together.

Arroyo Grande High School has a wide variety of clubs, including Dungeons and Dragons, Crochet/Knitting, and even Peanut Butter Appreciation. These student-run clubs were made to achieve a common goal: creating a sense of unity for students on campus.

Fiona Swanson (‘24) is one of two students in charge of running the Gender and Sexuality Alliance club at AGHS, which takes place on Thursdays at lunch in room 211. Her compassion for others helps her strive to make our campus a better place.

“I really like just being involved with the LGBTQ+ community… I can interact with everyone and make sure that I can help establish a really safe and tight-knit place for kids to be themselves,” Swanson said.

Pride flags are strung all around the classroom for GSA meetings. (Grace LeVeque)

Recently, SLO County has experienced many acts of hate towards the LGBTQ+ community. Now it’s more important than ever for LGBTQ+ students to have support from other students.

 “My main goal is for students to feel safe and accepted and valid. Even within the community, there’s a lot of hate towards certain groups…” Swanson said. “It’s really important to me that people have at least one day a week, in a classroom at lunch where they can be themselves, and express who they are and who they love without judgment.” 

A different club’s leader, Loralei Dawson (‘22), is set on teaching students her passion for crochet. She began leading the Crochet/Knitting club this year, taking place every Thursday at lunch in room 708.

“[I’ve been crocheting] since I was 7 years old,” Dawson said. “My granny taught me how… I was really obsessed with it so I would bring it to school… I taught all of my friends how to crochet.”

During the pandemic, many people found a lot of time on their hands to engage in new activities.

“Quarantine hit and I, all of a sudden, had all this free time. [Crocheting] has so much variety because you can make stuffed animals, blankets, clothing. There are just so many options so I don’t get bored of it,” Dawson added.

While art hobbies are obviously fun for many, they also emphasize a sense of community on campus.

The crochet club provides supplies for anyone willing to learn. (Grace LeVeque)

“I know a lot of people that have been interested in crochet, but there’s been nobody to teach them. By having a club on campus, the people who want to learn these skills are able to learn them,” said Dawson. “I plan to do some community service projects, we can make beanies and blankets so we can donate them to organizations.”

Of course, these clubs are fun anytime, but they are especially valuable after the pandemic, after months of not being able to see people.

“Everyone’s been really separated and there’s been a lot of bad things happening in the world… especially with the LGBTQ+ community, with minorities- it’s really important to have people to go to who understand them and support them. It can be scary if you’re by yourself… it’s less alienating,” said Swanson. “Everyone is welcome.”

“Students coming together with common interests just makes us feel less alone,” Dawson said. “[During Quarantine] a lot of us didn’t interact with a lot of people… by having a space in which you find that other people have the same hobbies as you, it makes you feel less weird”

It is important for students and people of all ages to feel a sense of community, to have a group of people that they can meet with and relate to. So next time you are looking for something new to try or do – consider joining a club!