Cultivating contemporary student discussions—Berkeley High Jacket

Period Education Club

Empty vending machines and outdated period products are just some of the obstacles people with periods face at Berkeley High School. Stigmas surrounding periods and a lack of information about them can also make some people’s first periods a stressful experience. The Period Education Club, founded and run by Elodie Chinn and Edith Galvagna, seeks to create a space for conversations about periods and works to improve accessibility of menstrual products in Berkeley.

Chinn was motivated to start the club after multiple experiences during the last school year where their teachers refused to give them permission to leave the classroom while they were on their period. “It was after the first 10 minutes of class and nobody was out. … So I said, ‘I’m on my period, it’s really an emergency. I have to go to the bathroom, and clean myself up,’ and (my teacher) was being very reluctant,” Chinn said.

Chinn and Galvagna plan to spend the first few months of the club sharing resources and personal stories, as well as talking about how to destigmatize periods. Later in the year, they would like to present in elementary and middle school classrooms as well as fundraise to donate period products to people in need.

Period Education Club meets Thursdays at lunch in H103.

Girls Who Lift

Girls Who Lift aims to build a tightly knit community for people who don’t feel comfortable in the gym. The club, which is led by Nevaeh Angel, Angelina Thomas, and Rosie Tomin, got its start with an Instagram post. “I didn’t think anybody else would want to help me start the club,” Thomas said. “But I posted something on my Instagram story about gym … something, and then Nevaeh, she replied to me, and she was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve been wanting to start a girl’s weightlifting club!’ “

The club also hopes to empower people to lift to improve their mental health and fitness, as opposed to solely for their appearance or ego. “I want to see Berkeley High women and girls start to look at weightlifting as more of a sport or a way to build strength instead of how I started, which was to lose weight and become skinny,” Thomas said.

The club meets Mondays during lunch, in C206. There, they teach beginners the fundamentals of lifting and help them feel confident in the weight room. Later in the year, the club’s leaders plan to use the weight room at BHS to work on form, and in collaboration with their sister club, Female Athletes Strength and Conditioning.

In the end, the club hopes to offer a space for people to lift and talk about lifting away from the male-dominated energy often present in the gym. “I hate to see that because I think it also scares people — women — (from) joining the weightlifting community because they’re afraid to be judged,” Tomin said. “It’s not a competition and I think that a lot of people have done it this, ‘Oh, I can lift heavier than you,’ and I think that it’s a personal journey and it’s about how it impacts you.”

Outer Space Club

On the campus green, where the club fair was hosted on September 8, the Outer Space Club literally stood out, with their 10 foot tall omnidirectional radio receiver standing higher than any other object there. This year’s club president Quincy Paulos and vice president Quinn Schwartzburg are shooting for the stars — or at least, looking at them.

Outer Space Club, which meets Wednesdays at lunch in G203, is a club for all things astronomy, rocket science, and space-related. Aiden Blair, the project coordinator for Physics Club, was intrigued by the antenna at the club fair, which was receiving an image from a satellite broadcasting back to Earth. “When I followed up, (it turned out that) this whole project had been created in two weeks,” Blair said. “So I was really, really, impressed by what the Outer Space Club had done before it even really became a club and I wanted to put my skills into making some more cool projects.” Blair also knew Paulos, which further contributed to their decision to join the club.

Each club meeting begins with a short bulletin containing news about space, followed by time for free discussion about the topic. Paulos and Schwartzburg also plan to have meetings outside of school, where they would visit an observatory or work on a long-term project in addition to weekly meetings.

“Maybe we could launch a weather balloon that we could track throughout the US, or just design model rockets,” Schwartzburg said. “It’s really up for discussion, but I hope that I can incorporate some sort of more intensive program like that.”

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