Finding Connection through Student Clubs
Many are surprised to learn that FLVS offers students the opportunity to join student clubs and activities. As an online school, we know how important it is for our Kindergarten-12th grade students to get involved outside of taking courses. Students need a safe space to explore interests, strengthen skills, build their resume, and most importantly, make connections and friends.
FLVS offers more than 55 student clubs and activities where students participate in online and face-to-face activities. Our clubs are a great way for students to stay connected and involved!
I had the privilege of interviewing a few stellar students who were recognized at the FLVS Club Awards Day 2020 celebration. Hear their stories about how participating in FLVS clubs and activities helped them connect with peers in the online education world.
High School Students
Maya Washburn, 17, is an FLVS Full Time high school senior. The Broward County resident has been enrolled with FLVS since 9th grade. In her four years with FLVS, Maya has been involved and held offices in five clubs: Mega News Network, National Honor Society (NHS), National English Honor Society (NEHS), Student Council, and Virge Literary and Arts Magazine. All while also being dual-enrolled at the University of Florida and Polk State College for the past three years. She told me she has a 4.2 GPA.
Maya said when she was younger, she was shy and bullied and had a hard time connecting with other students. It was fine arts teacher Rose Rodriguez who first encouraged her in the 9th grade to get involved as a founding member of the Mega News Network (MNN).
“She knew I loved journalism and this club helped me learn what it was like to produce a broadcast. It’s been through FLVS that I’ve also had two journalism internships with the community.”
Maya’s mother is a proud parent and has shared her written testimony with the FLVS Foundation on how FLVS helped her and her daughter’s dreams come true. The single mom said, “FLVS and teachers like Mrs. Rodriguez, Mrs. Gunn, and Mrs. Shellenberger have co-parented alongside me. We’ve raised a caring, intelligent, free-thinking, generous human being.”
Maya, a self-proclaimed English and social sciences lover, will attend Florida International University and is planning a career in Political Science and Journalism.
“I don’t think I’d have the direction I have now without FLVS clubs,” said Maya.
Kerrie Bevan, 18, is an FLVS Full Time High School senior who is the Book Club president, and has held offices in French Club, NHS, and NSHS.
Kerrie, an avid reader who loves psychological thrillers, said she’s been involved in Book Club since middle school. When asked how the Book Club works, she explained that the club is offered to grades 6-8 and 9-12. There are currently about 50 members. Students read an agreed upon Sunshine State book based on their level and then have a month to read the book before meeting via Zoom to discuss.
Kerrie thanked Mrs. Jennifer Waldrop for encouraging her to join Book Club and make new friends.
Steve Berdy is a straight A student in 10th grade who takes all of his classes through FLVS Flex.
The 15-year-old is the vice president of the Technology Club, and is also actively involved in NEHS, Coding Club, and National Science Honor Society (NSHS). He is also the founder of the Game Jam hosted online for FLVS students in February.
The Hillsborough County student wants to major in Computer Science and loves game design.
Ann Williams, FLVS Tech Club sponsor said, “We are really student-driven and strive to get them involved with the planning, setting up meetings, and such.”
Steve’s father, who attended the Club Awards Day event, said, “FLVS has been awesome. There’s been a great set of opportunities for him to pick and choose courses. School is his own and he wakes up happy every day. These clubs have pushed his interests and have helped shape him into the leader and communicator he is.”
Middle School Students
Gavin Zinnert, a 7th grade student, is a member of the National Junior Honor Society.
The 13-year-old from Osceola said he loves community service and attends monthly club meetings. He was at Club Awards Day with his sister, Jillian, 11, who is a member of the FLVS Full Time News Network.
When asked why he got involved in a club Gavin said, “It’s always nice to have something else that’s not school to branch out. It’s fun to meet people at service projects. I like giving back through community service.”
Jillian, a 5th grade student who is part of the elementary news show, said she “loves being in front of people and entertaining them.”
She also enjoys how they are allowed to switch roles in the news network “to get a feel for the other parts.” Jillian wanted to thank Mrs. Melissa Gilliland and Mrs. Sabrina Edwards for being great sponsors.
Elementary School Students
Layla Shoemacker is a 10-year-old student in 4th grade in our Elementary Cheer Club.
At Club Awards Day, Cheerleading “Cheer” Club sponsors Meredith Shiero and Bobbi Vitale shared details about how students participate in online cheerleading. Shiero, a former high school cheerleader who also coached, said she formed the club two years ago to see if it could work in the virtual world. She wanted to help promote school spirit by having students learn and perform FLVS cheers and chants. The Cheer Club meets with students weekly at set times and practice online through Zoom.
Cheer Club holds four face-to-face performances a year, with Club Awards Day being one attended by Layla. A total of 5-7 girls are selected to participate in each performance.
Before Layla’s mom would allow her to join Cheer, she said her daughter “had to be committed and know she wanted to do it.”
“I’ve always liked to dance, and this was something new for me. I wasn’t nervous to do it online. I like that we can meetup and make friends and the teamwork,” Layla said.
Layla was recognized by her Cheer Club sponsors for her dedication and excellence in being a team player. “Our club offers a self-esteem building environment that uses growth mindset to teach fundamental cheer skills and knowledge,” said Shiero.
Meet Aiden, Joey, and Pedro
Aiden Cardoza, 9, Joey Lux, 7, and Pedro Benda, 6 are elementary students who are members of our “Elementary Think Tank.”
As participants, they discuss and share feedback about our courses with the FLVS Curriculum team and leadership. Among them, their interests include photography, filmmaking, books, and Cooking Club. When asked what he likes to bake, Joey said he loves making desserts.
FLVS clubs and activities offers all students a sweet way to get involved outside of their courses! Learn more about how learning meets life with Florida Virtual School.
Have a suggestion on a student to spotlight or have a comment you’d like to share? Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Post by Suzan Kurdak, former FLVS Communications Specialist