From Jazz to activism, Sequoyah students take initiative to participate in activities inside and outside of school. There are thousands of opportunities and programs for high school students; Sequoyah offers sports, clubs, and stewardship. Outside of school, there are programs that have a tuition price, others that offer financial support, and some that are free. Regardless, extracurriculars are a great way to make new friends, create an impact, and have fun!
First off are two of Sequoyah’s 9th Graders. What are Daisy Cano Ruiz ’25 and Sanai Gibbs ’25 up to in their first year in high school?
Cano Ruiz is on the Robotics team, which “just ended and … was pretty fun. It was for a whole year.” In addition to that, she was also a member of Girls Who STEM, a branch of Sequoyah’s STEM Institute. Created years ago, female identifying students have continued the student led club. Another program she participates in is Changeist, which she describes as “like SIP, but on Saturdays. Which is really fun! But we mostly just go help around the community, help clean up… It’s usually virtual events from nine to twelve.”
Gibbs is the 9th grade student representative alongside her “good friend Magnus [Bjorgum ’25].” Gibbs explains their position as a “messenger / representative of their grade. She collects feedback, puts on little meetings and games for their grade. As a grade representative, Gibbs attends Steering Committee, a group of Sequoyah’s student leaders, as part of her job. She says, “I just try to solve problems that are going on in Sequoyah… I help with the tardy policy. I help decide the budget and stuff…I love it!” Gibbs describes their leadership role in Sequoyah as “fun tasks!”
When Giuseppe Di Massa ’24 was asked about his extracurriculars, he talked about his passion for debate. He is on the Italian Debate Team. In addition, Di Massa says, “I am the captain of the Sequoyah debate team. And then I coach the middle school debate team for Sequoyah as well.” As an active leader in the community, Di Massa admits that he’s becoming, “a more persuasive public speaker, as evidenced by this interview” and he is gaining research and writing skills. Di Massa says one of the pros of becoming an active debater is the ability to “write essays a lot faster than I used to be able to!”
Erika Revel ’24 is a Volleyball team player, inside and outside of Sequoyah. He says, “I do club volleyball… You gain this friendship bond [and] leadership skills. You also just have fun!”. Revel plays for San Gabriel Elite Volleyball Club, also known as SG Elite.
Oskar Golwala ’23 is one of the members on the Sequoyah STEM Institute Board as well as an active member in the STEM Institute. Golwala shares the board member’s goals for the year: “Currently we’re trying to get everything sorted with the website and get speakers to come in; making sure that STEM institute runs smoothly… Our priority is making sure that all of the projects are working, and that people are learning stuff and getting stuff done. But then after that we really want to extend the impact that STEM institute has on the community and [we are] working to see how we can get involved with [other] scientific communities.”
For her SIP Project, Gloria Aguilar ’23 tutors little kids for the organization Good Tutors. Aguilar explains, “because of the pandemic it’s kind of hard for little kids right now to learn.” Currently, Aguilar is tutoring a second grader in math.
Lastly, what are some activities that Yara Cruz ’22 and Ben Parkhurst ’22 have participated in their past few years at Sequoyah?
Cruz runs the First Gen Club, alongside co-leader Gloria Aguilar. It’s the First Generation’s Club’s first year at Sequoyah. Cruz shares, “[It is] fun to explore what we could do and what kind of things we’ll be able to do in the future. And hopefully it’ll set a little stepping stone for future students to do a club like this. And to do it better.” As a reminder, students are encouraged to start their own clubs. Students may pitch their ideas to administration in order to set up their booth for the club fair.
Parkhurt’s love for music led him to attend the Colburn School. He attends two nights a week and plays “a sort of octet situation, a sort of jazz combo”. On Tuesday nights, Ben plays on the big band. Parkhurst says one of the main takeaways from this music program is that it’s allowed him “to interact with [the] L.A community of musicians really well.” Parkhurt recommends young and aspiring musicians to apply to the Colburn School.
Extracurriculars are an awesome start to becoming more involved with the community. Whether it is the Sequoyah community or your community at home, you can create a long lasting impact.