Redwood clubs take commitment off-campus

Sofi Mincy

Upon hearing the words “school” and “club” strung together in a sentence, an intimate lunchtime group huddled together, sandwiches in hand, is the common picture that comes to mind. From the eyes of many, this image generates boredom. However, at Redwood, students have found a variety of exciting ways to bring off-campus action to their clubs, making them an engaging and popular aspect of the school’s community. Some club members have extended their meetings or practices to after school (weekly or sometimes more frequent) gatherings. Additional members organize activities including short off-campus journeys, weekend get-togethers, conventions and more. Here are three clubs taking advantage of the opportunities presented outside school hours. 


Mock Trial

Looking for a way to broaden your debate skills to a professional level? Every Tuesday after school, Mock Trial meets in room 139 for a two-hour practice. Led by senior club presidents Olivia Raskin, Jack Van Hooser, Tyler Argov and Drake Goodman, these students analyze witness statements and evidence presented from a case, typically criminal, assuming the roles of either a lawyer, witness or other courtroom positions. The club is fortunate to have coaches Scott Bonder, Jim Parker, Jan Fuchs, Rudy Vasquez and Mark Vasquez, almost all of whom are practicing lawyers. These instructors teach students the ins and outs of the courtroom, educating them on how to craft their statements in preparation for a mock trial at the Marin County Courthouse in January and February against other Marin County schools. Club members are expecting to allot another day of the week to additional practice as the trial nears. The trial lands on a Saturday and can take up the majority of that weekend, but members are excited to see their hard work finally come together in the simulation involving a practicing judge and scored by practicing lawyers. During one of the most recent practices, the club began their meeting by reviewing objectives from a past scrimmage and writing the cross and direct examination for the witnesses.


The Backpacking Club

Eager to get out of the classroom and onto the trails? The Backpacking Club meets every other Wednesday at lunch in room 235. This club is led by National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) alumni Rachel Mueller and Kalyn Dawes. The group meets on various weekends to explore the coastal trails of Marin while also applying learned skills ranging from basic first aid to cooking to the outdoor environment. On Nov. 30, three of the club members met at the King Mountain loop trailhead for a rainy post-Thanksgiving workout. It was one of the many hikes organized in preparation for their annual backpacking trip—unaffiliated with school—that occurs second semester during Memorial weekend. Last year, members of the club trekked across trails parallel to the coastal cliffs of the Point Reyes National Seashore. Potential locations for this year’s trip extend a larger radius outwards from Marin; the group is hopeful to take on Yosemite but has a backup route in Point Reyes if permit accessibility becomes problematic. 



Want to get internationally involved? San Rafael is home to a nonprofit organization called Daraja that branches out to the Tam District schools, giving students an opportunity to participate in their work. The organization collects money through donations and other planned events which they then give to an all-girls school in Kenya called the Daraja Academy. From here, the academy uses the funds to offer scholarships to girls in poverty, allowing them to continue their education. Led by seniors Claire Fogarty and Cleo Norris, the Redwood Daraja club meets in room 126 every Tuesday at lunch to discuss new ways to raise money and plan fundraising events. On Nov. 22, the Daraja club met after school for the packaging of an annual newsletter that donors receive requesting donations for the upcoming year. The Daraja club is currently in the process of planning a new fundraiser next semester for Bay to Breakers, a yearly 7.5-mile race in San Francisco where club members can run to raise awareness about Daraja. Likewise, girls at the academy will be able to run the same distance in Kenya.