Return to Headlines

WA Student Clubs Serving the Community

It is important in today’s education to go beyond the classroom. Fortunately, at The Woodstock Academy, there are plenty of former students who are in positions to help the current students understand their world even better than from just a book. 

Recently the B Club at The Woodstock Academy paid a virtual visit to Christopher’s Haven, a home in Boston providing support and a sense of community for children and their families while they battle cancer. B Club students took a virtual tour of the facility and developed a greater understanding and compassion for the challenges these families face. 

“From being in B Club, I have learned a lot about giving back to my community and being involved with people in it,” Woodstock Academy junior Sydney Haskins said. “This will stay with me in my future, and I will always do what I can to help others.” 

After the talk and tour, the B club made a donation to Christopher’s Haven. 

Christopher’s Haven is run by WA alumna Catie MacWilliams. MacWilliams first connected with B Club in 2016 at a difficult time when her son was battling a brain tumor. “The B club was generous enough and worked endlessly to make sure we had money to help us pay for medical bills. It was a blessing,” she said.

Like so many who attend The Woodstock Academy, MacWilliams added that she started to understand the importance of community while in school and has since built on that sense of unity, bringing it with her to Christopher’s Haven. It is just one example of the sense of caring that Woodstock Academy works diligently to instill in its student body. 

The B Club is one of several school organizations that are designed to not only have a positive influence within The Woodstock Academy community but also extend their reach beyond the hallowed halls. Earthsave, Family Related Effective Solutions for Humanity (FRESH), Multicultural Club, and School Climate Activists all share the mission of serving the greater community.

“EarthSave club brings students together that are inspired to be change agents,” said advisor Melany Gronski. “These students will not accept that the environmental problems of climate change, pollution, and food shortage are hopeless. They live in hope and want to act. They desire to be empowered and they inspire me in the process.”

While the B Club focuses on medical issues, EarthSave members grow food in a garden which is then shared with those who are food insecure. They volunteer to clean areas of trash and even come up with innovative ideas such as creating lip balm out of beeswax, provided to them by assistant head of school John Rigney and his family.

FRESH is a group that offers students many ways to lend a helping hand. It helped senior Eli Werstler realize there is more to school life than school sports. “I became involved in FRESH last year, though I wish now that I had joined earlier. I think that the club really does positive, important things, which is generally rare in my opinion, especially seeing what we do in honor societies and things like that. I think it’s very important to donate your time and energy towards certain selfless activities such as volunteering, usually involving helping other people, and FRESH is a great way to do just that,” Werstler said.

FRESH also helps those dealing with food insecurity through a food pantry that supplies dozens of Woodstock Academy students’ families with food on a weekly basis. The group also holds fundraisers for scholarship programs, sponsors a conference for middle school students who will be attending Woodstock Academy in the future, and also helps younger students through a mentoring program in coordination with local elementary schools. 

It’s all a vital part of the learning process that exposes Woodstock Academy students to the true needs of the world around them and shows them that one person or a group of people can indeed make a large difference.

“There is great power in the smallest gesture of kindness, and when individuals understand that they have access to this kind of power to change society, it indicates that their educational experiences at The Academy have been successful,” said Woodstock Academy associate head of school Holly Singleton.

 

The Woodstock Academy is an independent, day and boarding, co-educational, college preparatory high school for grades 9–12 and postgraduates located in Woodstock, CT. The mission of The Woodstock Academy is to prepare all students for a lifetime of learning by providing academic rigor, a safe environment, and a diversity of educational experiences which will foster a sense of respect for self and others, and will encourage active investment in family, school, community, and the world.