When I was in high school in the 80s, there weren’t nearly as many clubs as today. I remember being involved in the art club and the ski club, but at my school, that was about the extent of my interests. However, nowadays, there are so many different things kids can experience in an afterschool club. So what are the different types of school clubs?
Some of the more common school clubs that have been around for a long time are foreign language club, chess club, book club, creative writing club, and photography club. Then there are some not-so-common clubs such as Shark Tank Club, Cryptocurrency Club, and Escape Room Club. There is probably a club for almost everything a teen is interested in these days. Let’s look at this further.
34 of the Best School Clubs to Join
Not only is this club for those interested in movies and film history, but also for those who want to make their own films. With the ability to publish a video online, there are many opportunities for members to exhibit their work.
To many, math is fun, and even more so when it is competitive math. In math club, students can develop intuitive thinking skills while learning new types of math. It is also a great way to socialize and meet new people while developing teamwork skills. The highlight is the competitive season, where students have the opportunity to compete on five different levels.
- American Mathematics Contest 8 (AMC 8)
- American Mathematics Contest 10 (AMC 10)
- American Mathematics Contest 12 (AMC 12)
- American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME)
- United States of America Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO)
Unlike the typical cooking club I attended, where we baked oatmeal cookies and cupcakes, cooking clubs nowadays are more like a culinary club. Students learn both basic cooking skills and specific culinary styles and techniques, sometimes from trained chefs.
Cooking Club Spotlight
During the pandemic, everything came to a halt. Kids were home, and parents were going crazy. So were the kids.
One teacher missed her students so much and wanted an excuse to hang out with them. Since they were studying ancient Greece in her Key Peninsula Middle School social studies class, someone came up with the idea that they all make tzatziki sauce together via Zoom. And their cooking club took off.
They had so much fun that they continued their virtual cooking sessions as a way to stay connected. For two nights a month, the Cooking Crew Club met on Zoom, and parents got a night off from making dinner.
Now that school has reopened, the club continues. They even have guest chefs from local restaurants join the kids for a cooking lesson.
Science Olympiad is a club that starts as young as kindergarten. In grades K-6, students participate in a competitive tournament, a hands-on science Fun Day or an expert Science Olympiad Fun Night.
In grades 6-12, Science Olympiad is more like a school sports team where club members prepare, are coached, and practice throughout the year. Each team cross-trains for a variety of events in their skill set.
The History Club is a place to delve into historical eras and events while socializing with like-minded peers who share an interest in the past. There may be guest speakers, historians who are knowledgeable in a particular period of history, or some clubs even take trips and visit famous museums.
This is the club for theater enthusiasts. It provides an avenue for students to practice their acting skills and attend plays and musicals together in the area.
The Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps provides citizenship training and an aerospace science program for high school students. They explore aerospace technology’s historical and scientific aspects and teach students self-reliance, self-discipline, and other leadership skills.
One school in Palm Coast, Florida, meets twice a week for drill team and color guard practice. They participate in AFJROTC competitions across the state of Florida.
Cadets in the program learn how to be successful in life and to be good leaders in their communities. They also study life skills, the science of flight, aviation, history, and space exploration.
National Honors Society (NHS)
The NHS is a club that was established to recognize outstanding high school students. It isn’t just about grades, but it seeks to honor those students who have demonstrated excellence in four main areas — scholarship, leadership, service, and character.
NHS students volunteer in their communities with the main goal of building connections and serving the community. On average, each chapter donates 1,000 hours of school and community service, $26,000 in charitable donations, 1,000 pounds of food to local, state, and national causes, and 100 pints of blood.
National Honor Society Spotlight
Delaware Valley Regional High School students finished strong in meeting their goals for the 2021-2022 school year. They have completed 1,001 service hours, performed 525 service activities, and completed SDG 3. SDG stands for Sustainable Development Goals, and SDG 3 is about Good Health and Well-being. There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals that were established by the United Nations in 2015.
Sustainable Development Goal 3 is: To ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages.” Their focus is on different ways to live a healthy life.
One event they hosted was a bi-annual blood drive with the American Red Cross. They succeeded in collecting 134% of their goal. They were able to register 78 donors, five Power Reds, and collected 63 productive units, which will provide for 189 hospital patients. A Power Red is a donation that allows a person to safely donate two units of red blood cells during one donation.
An art club allows students to express their individuality creatively through art.
The Debate Club is where you tone up your speech and debating skills. Students in the debate club compete locally, regionally, and nationally in various debates that can go as long as 45 minutes!
The Key Club is a global organization that teaches students how to lead and stand up for what’s right through service projects and volunteering. Students do things such as cleaning up parks and beaches, collecting clothing, and organizing food drives. They learn good organizational skills by running meetings and project planning.
Key Club Spotlight
The Key Club at Oak Harbor High School in Washington held many service projects one year.
- They participated in a Pasta and Rice Drive where they stood outside grocery stores and asked for donations to help stock the Whidbey Island Help House, a community food bank.
- Several times in the Spring, Key Club members babysat kids while their parents attended orientation meetings for their soon-to-be kindergartners.
- They organized and ran various carnival games for elementary kids.
- They assisted at a Teddy Bear Breakfast, helping their community during a holiday program at the Elk’s Lodge.
The Yearbook Club involves documenting your peers doing amazing things throughout the year through writing and photographs, which are then compiled at the end of the school year and made into a memory book.
Schools with an environment club participate in many hands-on activities, including habitat restoration, planting gardens, science experiments, and even building a solar vehicle. Even elementary-age students can participate. It shows students of all ages that everybody has the ability to make a difference.
Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA)
The purpose of FCA is to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes. In high schools, it is generally a student-led organization where students of the Christian faith come together to discuss important and relevant topics from a Biblical perspective. Their meetings include games, devotionals, student sharing, prayer, and snacks.
Black Student Union
This club is for all who are interested in or share a love for Black culture. Their goal is to celebrate Black culture and educate students about Black history as well as to promote academic excellence through implementing leadership skills, interactive projects, and extracurricular activities.
For those whose faith is very important to them, a faith-based club is a way to socialize and become acquainted with other kids who share the same beliefs. You can also join this club as a way to learn about different faiths.
The Kindness Club was created by teachers who struggled with students who were continually negative and lacked social engagement. With all of the pressures in life, many students struggle socially and emotionally, and this can lead to negative behaviors.
With this in mind, the Kindness Club has a goal of spreading kindness around the participating school and community. Its mission is to unite students and create a positive environment that can benefit the entire school by spreading random acts of kindness.
Escape Room Club
Escape Room Clubs have become an innovative way for kids to learn and have fun at the same time. Students practice developing their social skills as they work together to solve puzzles, gaining insights from other team members. They also develop their problem-solving skills and learn resilience as they make multiple attempts to solve puzzles.
While working together, they have to learn to think differently from their usual way of figuring things out, which develops their lateral thinking skills. And it offers good practice in time management skills because there is a time limit on solving the puzzle.
There are many escape room ideas online for the classroom or Escape Room Clubs.
The Anime Club meets to view together, discuss, promote and display anime at school or in a community setting. They also learn more about Japanese culture.
They can meet weekly or monthly and engage in activities such as anime music videos, reading manga, karaoke, and cosplaying, where members each wear a costume of their favorite character. The word cosplaying comes from combining costume and role-playing.
In Quiz Bowl Club, students compete academically and interscholastic as a team. They Answer a series of trivia questions as they compete against each other. As in the game show Jeopardy, if they know the answer, they hit a buzzer. The one to “buzz in” first gets to answer the question. There are Quiz Bowl tournaments all around the country.
Humane Society Club
The Humane Society Club is a service-based club that volunteers at local animal shelters with other non-profit organizations. It is comprised of students who are interested in animal welfare as well as veterinary science, hippotherapy, therapeutic riding, and animal rescue.
DECA stands for Distributive Education Clubs of America, and its mission is to prepare new leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management in both high schools and colleges around the world. They take pride in being a stepping stone for young professionals who have the drive to succeed and know exactly what they want out of their education.
American Red Cross school clubs are service groups made up of middle, high school, and college students that help the Red Cross fulfill its humanitarian mission. Students work closely with a local Red Cross unit and assist with service projects that aid their community and the world.
Red Cross Club Spotlight
The Red Cross Club at James Bowie High School keeps its members engaged in giving back to the community. Here the students learn necessary skills on how to respond in the event of a medical emergency as they also serve their community. They learned the importance of fire safety and spread the word through self-made posters.
They spent time helping out on community blood drives and spreading awareness about safety and other topics that tend to be taken lightly.
The club’s primary mission is to inspire high schools to become more involved in volunteering and to bring awareness of issues to the community.
As technically advanced as our world is today, this club is popping up more and more at schools across the country. Robotic professionals are in high demand. This is a great club to join to learn with other peers about artificial intelligence and pursue your passion for these types of machines.
In Crypto Club, students work closely with faculty advisors to learn about cutting-edge developments in the cryptoverse. They engage and learn about NFTs, gaming graphics design, music and blockchain basics, cryptocurrencies, financial literacy, and investing.
Breast Cancer Awareness Club
The Breast Cancer Awareness Club is composed of a group of students dedicated to raising money and awareness for breast and other types of cancers. Students plan walks to raise money for a cure, host a fundraiser, or even spend time with breast cancer survivors who were helped by their efforts.
Breast Cancer Awareness Club Spotlight
Students at Marquette Catholic High School in Alton, Illinois, started their club because breast cancer had touched their lives in some way, and they wanted to make a difference for future survivors. They continue to help make a difference for families and caregivers by holding several bake sales and organizing various student events throughout the year.
The biggest event they hold annually is the Volley for the Cure. Here Marquette guys face off against the Marquette volleyball team in an ultimate battle of the sexes. It seems that the ladies have held the lead with many wins against some of the most competitive gentlemen.
They also hold an annual Relay for Life event organized by the American Cancer Society. All of the proceeds they have raised through the year go toward their Relay for Life team goal.
Save Endangered Species Club
This club is for students who have a passion for animals and are concerned about those whose species are on the verge of becoming extinct. They help raise awareness about endangered animals and what humans are doing to cause them to become endangered. They also host fundraisers and donate the money raised to the World Wildlife Fund.
Hospital Volunteer Club
Some high schools have hospital clubs where students can volunteer at their local hospitals. They most likely will not have direct contact with patients, but it is still a chance to learn about giving back to your community and serving others in need.
Shark Tank Club
The Shark Tank Club takes each student’s expertise along with their passions and helps them create a successful business. The kids don’t need to be enrolled in any business classes to participate in the club. All they need to have is an interest, such as an artist who would like to sell her crafts. Wherever their interests lie, the club will help them figure out how to create a business around them.
A mock trial club is for students who are passionate about the law. Students prepare legal cases and present them as a team before a judge. They act out a civil or criminal trial either as the prosecutor or the defense. It is available for different age groups and varying grades.
Mock Trial Spotlight: South Carolina Bar
The South Carolina Bar offers a High School Mock Trial (HSMT) Program that offers hands-on exercises in all aspects of preparing for a trial and events that go on in the courtroom. This also includes a courtroom sketch artist and courtroom journalist. It is open to all public, private, and home school groups.
Their goal is to educate students about all aspects of the American Judicial System. Each school enters a team that is sponsored by a teacher or volunteer where they will try a fictitious case against each other at a regional competition. The top 12 teams then compete at the state championship. Winners can receive awards and scholarships.
Soup Kitchen Volunteer Club
In this club, students have the opportunity to serve their community at their local food banks or soup kitchens. It’s a great way to learn compassion for people who have less than others.
Amnesty International Club
This club is based on the worldwide human rights organization that works to help people who have had their rights violated all over the world. They generally work in conjunction with a local Amnesty International chapter on various activities and fundraisers, as well as bring awareness to human rights violations that are occurring around the globe.
PAL stands for Peer Assistance and Leadership, and it is a program that provides comprehensive training to students who want to make a difference in a younger child’s life through a mentorship program.
Juniors and seniors who have proven leadership skills undergo training in active listening and communication skills. They also participate in training exercises that promote team building and mentoring skills before being paired with an elementary school child.
This list of clubs is by no means exhaustive. There are so many other things students can explore together by joining an afterschool club. And if you haven’t found anything here that piques your interest, why not start your own. There’s a wealth of information online that will take you through the steps to starting your own school club.
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Alexandra Christensen is a freelance writer and editor. When she is not working on an assignment, she can be found hanging around with other writers on Medium.com/@alexandra_creates where she writes mostly about raising foster and adopted kids and those with invisible disabilities.