This is the second edition of a three-part article in the Milestone.
Hands Across Campus
Hands Across Campus is also run by theology teacher Ms. Teresa Davis.
“Three years ago, three students went to Mr. Mueller and said, ‘hey, Mr. Mueller, we need a diversity and inclusion club at McNick, and he said, ‘okay’… He asked them who they wanted to be coordinator, and those three brilliant people said Ms. Davis, and I was honored and floored,” Davis said.
“It’s educational-based to reach out beyond our campus, but also within our campus, to bridge the gap of exclusion and make it inclusion,” Davis added. “Maybe it’s just because we don’t know something about a culture, or a religion, or a life. So our job is to reach across and make inclusion communities, but also to celebrate the diversity of us all. We are never saying that we’re ‘colorblind’… we see color, we celebrate cultures, and we learn one more thing about one more person we could love.”
Meetings will be held the first Thursday of every month. “Right now, we’re celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. We’re bringing in a speaker from Catholic Charities of Southwest Ohio to educate folks on immigration and refugees. In November, we’re going to help with the warm clothing drive. We’re also going to do Shantytown, and in doing so we learn about those experiencing homelessness and how that institutional, economic barrier allows people to sleep on the streets, rather than at home. In December, we will have a cultural Christmas tree up where people can put their cultural ornaments on. In January, we’re going to have break open Autism, with the help of two students who came forward and said, ‘we don’t just want a day about Autism, we want a whole month to educate folks.’ February is Black History Month,” Davis said.
Improv troupe is a theatre program that will be run by football coach Mr. Jeff Mulvey when the football season is concluded. Ms. Teresa De Zarn is standing in for him until then.
“The improv club started several years back with a teacher who used to be here in the Chemistry and Biology department, and he used to be in an improv troupe, so he asked if he could start an improv club, and we said, ‘yeah, that would be great,’ because we love theatre, so he was wonderful and got the kids really excited,” De Zarn said. “Then we decided that one year we would end up putting a troupe together out of the club to perform on the stage, and that night, we were packed. I was turning people away, there were so many people coming, and it was a big success, so then we started having it annually.”
Typically, younger kids have participated in the club while older kids have become the troupe.
“Improv gets everybody comfortable,” De Zarn said. “It’s fun, it’s scary… I think a lot of good actors have come out of the improv troupe.
International Thespian Troupe
The International Thespian troupe will also be run by De Zarn.
“It’s more than just a club,” De Zarn said. “It’s worldwide, and it’s all about celebrating theatre from the teenage perspective; it’s getting kids used to being in the theatre and involved in the theatre. It’s just a really good way for people to celebrate their love of theatre at a young age.”
De Zarn added that senior Arden Jakubovic is the president of the troupe. “They will plan things [at the meetings], like fundraisers and events. We’ve not been able in the last year to do a lot of the things that we usually do, but I think we’re going to slowly come back and be able to do a lot more things.”
In the past, students in the troupe have gone to the International Thespian Conference. “We perform; we have actors, singers, and dancers all performing. Our troupe has always been known to be the very polite troupe, I think we represent the school very well, and I think the school should be very proud of the fact that McNick can go out there into a community of so many schools and look so good… we always come away with lots of awards, and people make friends.”
Students may join the International Thespian Troupe without being a part of the theatre class. In order to join, they must collect points; points are collected by getting involved in the theatre program.
The Maker’s Club will be moderated by Director of Educational Technology Mrs. Emily Materna.
“Students don’t have to know technology to join the club, but it is important to be willing to try new things,” Materna said. “I also love this club because it’s very student-driven, and the club members get to decide what the club will work on!”
The dates and times of Maker’s Club meetings have yet to be announced, but in the year of 2020-2021, meetings were held every week on Monday. “Sometimes we played games, like when we did races with the Spheroes. The students learned how to use the different tools in the makerspace,” Materna said. “All of our members were seniors last year so we are looking for some fresh new faces! Students can drop into the club meetings whenever they like; you don’t have to attend every meeting.”
Saint Vincent de Paul Youth Conference
The Saint Vincent de Paul Youth Conference is a worldwide organization that came to McNicholas last year. “Saint Vincent de Paul actually came to us and asked us… [if] we wanted to become a high school conference,” Moderator Ms. Teresa Davis said. “What that means is that we have our own conference, and we get to schedule events based on the life and ministry of mission of Saint Vincent de Paul. We also get to spread the good word and get other people involved.”
The Conference usually holds meetings on the first Wednesday of the month.
“They are helping with all food and warm clothing drives, and they have plans to do service in big and small ways,” Davis added.
More information about the Saint Vincent de Paul Youth Conference can be found here.
Theology teacher Mrs. Mary Beth Sandmann is the moderator of the McNick Boutique.
“Several years ago, we were in conversation with a student who wanted to go to a dance, and it was kind of last-minute, and she didn’t really have a dress to wear,” Sandmann said. “Several of us made some phone calls, and in about twenty-four hours, we had a couple dozen dresses available for this student to choose from. We thought that we could provide this for any student who wants it. It is there for those who have a need… But it’s also there for those who have the resources but who choose to use something available without spending a lot of money on a dress.”
The McNick Boutique collects donations of dresses and accessories to give to students for dances. They are also hoping to begin collecting men’s ties. “This is a way to reuse and reduce what is in people’s closets and make them available to our students,” Sandmann added. “Our hope is that they want to play a small part in the reduction of material goods. When we got started… It was amazing how many donations came in, and that’s been depleted, so we’re going to build that up again this year.”
The club will meet once a month. “We hope to be up and running by Mardi Gras,” Sandmann said.