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Reha Kakkar, Club Writer

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Map Club
When: Mondays during lunch
Where: Room 200 (Loewenstern)

Reha Kakkar
Members of Map Club discuss strategies and tactics for defeating their enemies. photo by Reha Kakkar

Four years ago, juniors Sean Hall and Tara Lassiter created the game that would later be the basis of Map Club. They drew inspiration from the world around them, incorporating fun and slightly absurd elements into the basic concepts of international relations and global interaction.

“The game combines risk, diplomacy, and Model UN,” Hall said. “The name of the game is conquering the world.”

At the beginning of the match, players choose a country from a map specially created by Hall and Lassiter. Each country has a variety of special characteristics and advantages that echo those available in the real world. These can include natural resources, access to trade routes, military power and other resources. Players then name their country and set out to conquer the map.

“Last year Adelaide Johnson was our champion,” Hall said. “This year the race is wide open and who knows who will win.”

In Map Club, players present their actions — whether they may be invading another country, assassinating a rival leader or simply creating a new industry — and then from there, the dice determine the outcome of actions, no matter how ridiculous or improbable the scenario is.

“In Map Club, we have had players train octopi, create elite scuba diving military units called blubber men, and even create an industry of using human leather to make furniture,” Hall said. “It’s a game that rewards creativity.”

 

Swing Dance Club
When: Every other Thursday during lunch
Where: Room 16 (Edwards)

Juniors Winn Philpott and Drue Gillentine dance together in sync to the music. Other students join practice in pairs. photo by Reha Kakkar

Swing Dance Club was founded by juniors Micah Heilbron, Drue Gillentine and Winn Philpott as a place to have fun and learn how to dance from swing dancer and science teacher Nathan Wong. The club meets every other Thursday during lunch in the dance hall, where they practice and learn popular swing dances, like the shim sham.

“We found Mr. Wong’s Instagram, and in his bio it said ‘swing dancer’,” Heilbron said. “We asked him if he could teach us how to swing dance, and he told us if we made a club, he would. So we did.”

Swing dancing is actually the name of a group of dances set to the swing style of jazz in the early 1900s. Though swing dancing has fallen out of popular culture, the community still maintains a strong presence, with dances that have evolved with the music of the times.

“Mr. Wong is a central part of the club,” Heilbron said. “He just knows everything about everything, so I just want to learn life, which includes swing, from him.”
Swing Dance Club serves as a place to gather and have fun learning upbeat dances, without judgment. Absolutely no experience is required.

“I’m pretty bad at swing dancing, but I love it anyway,” Heilbron said.

 

Wellness Club
When: Wednesday during lunch
Where: Room 254 (Gritte)

Juniors Brooke Taylor and Audrey Sandlin discuss methods how LASA can improve mental health for the student body. photo by Sophia Blaha

Created two years ago by juniors Kye Kane, Brooke Taylor and Audrey Sandlin, Wellness Club aims to help students manage the stress that accompanies the rigorous academic challenges of LASA. Activities range from making slime to decorating cookies. Kane said the only requirement is to relax and have fun.

“Our main goal is to provide a safe space where people can hang out with friends, learn about mental wellness, or just relax for an hour,” Kane said. “We recognized the stress that so many students deal with on a daily basis, and we wanted to create a space where they could take a break.”

Club meetings are filled with students of all grades gathered around the activity table, eating club snacks or just making conversation with the people around them. Every meeting is accompanied by a new activity, including making stress balls, coloring and filling wellness charts.

Kane said Wellness Club is special in that anyone can show up, unlike other clubs that can feel exclusive to a specific friend group or grade.

“It can be hard to find time for ourselves in our busy schedules and our club creates an inclusive, safe, and supportive environment for everybody,” Kane said.