Passing the Torch

As senior leaders and members of clubs leave, new students step in.


photo provided by Nithya Cheemalamarri

The National Beta club celebrates Halloween.

As a new year approaches, new students flood in and out of clubs all the time. Some of them find a home within those clubs and plant down their roots as leaders. Before they know it, they are seniors in their last year of high school – leaving these organizations behind. What happens as senior club officers transition out of their positions?

Senior Valentina Ramirez is one of the co-presidents for the UNICEF club. This club works to provide children with resources in the community, similarly to the UN organization that fights for children’s rights on a global scale. As co-president, Ramirez has the responsibility of planning and scheduling meetings and events. Recently, the club held a fundraiser so that students here could do their part in contributing to the war in Ukraine. 

“We did it at Willow Park, and we had people walk around and every lap that they would walk, we would match $1 and donate [it] to UNICEF, Ukraine,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez herself was inspired to become a leader of the club from the legacy of past leaders. Now, she can leave her mark and advise incoming officers of the challenges and opportunities that may lie ahead. 

“I joined UNICEF freshman year and I really liked the leaders back then; I thought they were really cool people,” Ramirez said. “I kind of wanted that when I grew up to be a senior – to be like them because they just seemed very secure in themselves. In the beginning, I wasn’t very good at public speaking, so be okay with knowing that you get better.”

Next, the National Beta Club has many dedicated members who go to conferences, compete in a wide variety of events, and tie together defining relationships. Among these members is senior Nithya Cheemalamarri, who is the historian of the club. As a historian, she primarily takes care of the visual aesthetic of their Instagram and meeting slides to make them captivating, while also coordinating their different social media accounts. 

“I’m really passionate about graphic design,” Cheemalamarri said. “I love using Canva, designing Instagram posts, and doing art there.”

Being an officer in a larger club can pave the way for many new experiences and lessons learned. Often, those core experiences come from the people themselves and the genuine connections that get fostered – whether in an old classroom or in the midst of traveling to a new city to compete.

“I was able to coordinate with a lot of people, interact with a strong officer team, and also compete in the national convention,” Cheemalamarri said. “I was really able to build upon my communication and leadership skills. I got to make really good friends with the co-presidents and the rest of the officers as well. In all of our officer meetings, we always had a lot of fun and always got to talk to each other a lot. So that was probably one of my most favorite memories.”

 After becoming comfortable as officers and finding a place in the club, transitioning out to new leaders is a rocky process. Cheemalamarri and the co-presidents have already interviewed and selected the next group with thorough consideration and reflection. 

“Trying to coordinate all of the underclassmen and have them do their jobs accordingly has been a challenge because being a part of the National Beta Club team is a big responsibility,” Cheemalamarri said. “You have to manage finances and traveling and sponsors and all of that. I would really advise them to pay attention to their deadlines [and] do their assignments on time.”

Model UN is a thought provoking club in which students pretend to be delegates of different committees like the actual United Nations, where they debate and pass resolutions on various topics. Senior Shriya Pendyala has been a proud member of Model UN since her sophomore year and was part of the fundraising chair during junior year. 

“I was really interested in medicine, and I was also interested in policy related things,” Pendyala said. “Model UN kind of gives you the best of both worlds because you can also look at health policy. My most favorite memories come from the meetings themselves. Usually, the meetings will do this game where we all get up and try to connect very different topics – like Kanye West and the three branches of government. ”

As she departs high school and Model UN with it, she is passing on a torch of empowerment and community to the new generation of club members. 

“Talk as much as you can even if you don’t think that it’s worded in the most professional or the most eloquent way,” Pendyala said. “Throwing out your opinions and your ideas into a conference just to see what kind of sticks is a really fun way to get to know people.”

Although many passionate and committed seniors are saying goodbye to their cherished clubs, these clubs are also welcoming in new members and leaders to find home and love within their walls.

photo provided by Valentina Ramirez
The UNICEF club writes cards for a project.