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Community @ Poudre: Creative Writing, Model UN, Book Club

Clubs have always come with their own unique sense of community. Many people are able to find their niche interests and share them with others through clubs. We are bound to gravitate towards those similar to ourselves and teaming up certainly makes it easier to achieve goals we share. Poudre High School’s Creative Writing Club. Model UN, and the Book Club all make excellent examples of the strong communities clubs form, the great friends they bring together, and the amazing achievements they can accomplish together.


The Creative Writing Club was formed about two months ago when students Aiden Scully and Emma Hayes decided they needed a designated time and space to work creatively. They chose room 217 during lunch to do this. Both students were members of the creative writing class taught by Ms Bratchun who is also the staff sponsor for the club. Since they formed, the team has been working on finding their footing. Although many students signed up to join the group during the Club Rush event in September, none of them came to participate. The only members of the club remain its two founders, who specify that they are open to “every single person ever”.


“It is a place people can write creatively. Share their ideas, share their thoughts, build on other people’s writing, outside of just the class which is only a quarter long” explains Hayes. The club works as an extension of the class, where students are allowed time to work on creative projects and collaborate with others. It isn’t limited to story writing either, Hayes stresses that different forms of media are also important. “It's not just writing a book or writing a novel but also letting people who want to do songs or movie scripts or skits”


“Or code” Scully adds. The group even welcomes fan fiction writers.


Scully and Hayes spend most meetings collaborating on a comic together. “I am working on two others. They’re also working on a comic that is more weekly based.” says Hayes.


This group is beneficial for any student who’s schedule doesn’t allow them to sit down and work creatively. “A lot of people feel that they don’t have the time to write and this is to help” explains Hayes. Without a strict structure students are allowed to use the time as they please. “I have a lot of extra time so I feel like I have something to do that is not going to impact other things. It isn’t an after school club which is nice”

When asked if the group felt like they had a strong sense of community, Scully confidently claimed “I think there will be. Once people realize it exists.” The group has yet to gain any traction, but the members still have hope. “It’s going to go crazy. We are going to have more members than the creative writing class.”


Although it is just the two students so far, they are an enthusiastic pair. The Creative Writing Club seems to care very deeply about their projects and having a place to express themselves.


Scully shares that what they enjoy most about the club is “Discussing creative things and being inspired by others.” This small group’s strong sense of community is evident in their love for writing.


Members of Model UN working in front of the Flag of the United Nations (Photographed by Nina Low)

Model United Nations is much larger than The Creative Writing Club and structured in levels based on student’s experience with the group. Iris Radin explains how Model UN works “It's all about diplomacy. We basically go to conferences and get assigned a country and a very specific global issue that's either happened in the past or has the possibility of happening. You basically work with other delegates to come up with a solution, write resolutions to the problem. It’s a lot of public speaking, a lot of collaboration, that kind of thing.”


She also explained that Model UN travels to meet other teams “not generally outside of the state but around Colorado” to compete with other schools. However, traveling isn’t always easy to manage. “We don’t ever get transportation. We never get a bus so we have to carpool a lot which is fun but definitely challenging.”


Model UN was formed when a student collaborated with Mr Condon to make it happen. “It was formed last year. It’s a pretty new club. A senior last year was very interested in foreign policy and she decided we needed a Model UN club. There were some other schools in Fort Collins that already had a Model UN club so Mr Condon helped her create the club here.” Now, the club meets at lunch every Friday in room 209.

According to Radin meetings “are usually pretty unorganized until we get closer to the conferences so our plan is to do practice conferences with the new people and kind of get used to parliamentary procedure which is kind of how you interact with people and how you speak that kind of thing. The week before the conference we meet several times a week, we practice writing position papers.”

Members of Model UN discussing an assignment (Photographed by Nina Low)

This group works to practice their skills in negotiation and diplomacy, but their work also focuses on team building. “The goal is just to kind of get better at speaking, learn to interact and collaborate with other people.” Model UN can also be very useful to get a head start into certain careers, “I do it just for fun. I know a couple of people who are actually interested in international policy and college and this is a good gateway club into that.” Even students who do not plan to pursue a career in politics find the club beneficial. Radin explains “It doesn’t really relate to my interests personally. I just like it and I like public speaking and it has made me a better leader and decision maker.”


With a diverse student body full of people with different interests and backgrounds, all working towards one common goal, this group’s strong bonds are undeniable. Model UN even connects communities with each other through the conferences they attend. “It’s a little stressful but overall it’s such a fun day and you meet a lot of people from other schools in Colorado because you spend the whole day with a group of people so I know a lot of people from other places in Colorado.” Students are able to build ties with each other and make connections with different communities through Model UN. Working together like this builds on strong relationships while they learn and strengthen new skills as a group.







Memebers of The Book Club (photographed by Andrea Schisler)

Book Club gathers in room 233 at lunch on Wednesdays where they spend most of their meetings exchanging book recommendations and discussing different books. “It’s kind of in the description, you know, like ‘book club’. We talk about books. Ms Musci will put up different questions to ask us about books. Last week it was ‘What was a book that made us cry?’. We talk about books we really like and just sort of share around different books and our experiences with them,” says club newcomer Annabelle LaPlante. The goal of the group is not really to read books together, but rather to have a space to discuss them. “It’s just to share your love of books” explains LaPlante, “You don’t really get to talk to a whole lot of people who read books in your everyday classes. It’s a place to gather up a bunch of book nerds.”


Book Club allows people to connect with each other through their love of literature. Laplante, although new to the group, has bonded with some of the other students. “I’ve already made friends. I came in thinking ‘Okay maybe I’ll just sit in a couple of times and just kind of be quiet’ but I’ve made a couple friends through this which is really nice.” She also explains that she appreciates being a part of Book Club and the discussions she gets to have with people who have similar interests “I enjoy being able to see different people’s sides of the story. Like people’s different takes on books I’ve read, like how I’ve taken it versus how other people have taken a story.”


Abby Wolfe started the group in 2021. She explains “My freshman year I talked to Ms Musci and I asked if there was a book club because I had her as a teacher and she said no. I was like ‘can I start one’ and then we started filling out the paperwork and fall of that year we started.”


Each of these groups has given students a space to express themselves and share their interests with each other. Having a community to be connected to is one of the most important things students can have, which is why having clubs and devoted members is critical for a school like Poudre High School.


Andrea Schisler interviewing Iris Radin (Photographed by Nina Low)

Sources:


Hayes, Emma et al. Interview. Conducted by Andrea Schisler. 10 October 2023.


Radin, Iris. Interview. Conducted by Andrea Schisler. 13 October 2023.


LaPlante, Annabelle et al. Interview. Conducted by Andrea Schisler. 25 October 2023.



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