Photo provided by: Avery Ranum

On Sept. 7, the 2nd meeting of Sunshine Club was held, although it was a first for many new members. As a welcome, the group sat in a circle and introduced themselves one by one. Afterward, each student was rewarded with a Smartie. “Sunshine club made me feel welcome,” junior Maya Michelle said. “My goal is to make new friends and open myself up to new people.”

Sunshine Club

If someone is looking for something fun and bright on campus, then Sunshine Club is the place for them. Sponsored by Peer Counseling teacher Mary Sams, meetings are held after school in room 6-207 twice a month. Unlike Peer Counseling, a class taught by Sams, it is open for all grade levels. 

There is no set date each week for meetings, which allows flexibility for those interested in attending despite other potential obligations or commitments. This is one of the many ways in which the Sunshine Club shows that it is a welcoming and inclusive environment. 

“We started Sunshine Club in the school year of 2011-2012,” Sams said. “Back in the day, I was teaching math and I was helping my students with their personal lives. One of my students said ‘too bad you can’t do more’ and that’s when it just clicked, like I can and I want to impact more students so I said we’re going to start a club.” 

Typical meetings of Sunshine Club allow those in attendance to talk through their experiences in a safe environment, as well as being able to relate to each other’s successes and struggles. One of the ways members got to know each other was by introducing themselves during the second meeting of the year. 

“I got to learn more about the people around me,” junior Mary Bonnett said.  “I wasn’t just sitting there and was actually interacting with the people around me.”

Living up to its name, Sunshine Club really does brighten people’s days. It also provides an opportunity for friendships to flourish even after students have been in the club before.

“I still keep in touch with a lot of students,” Sams said. “They say they don’t forget our meetings and activities, stuff they’ve learned, and friends they have made in Sunshine Club. It is very special to my heart.”

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