Looking For Extracurriculars? Join the Club!

Eliana Legatt, Staff Writer

Latin Club:

When: Tuesdays During Lunch (Zoom)

Contact: [email protected]


Former Latin teacher Byron Brown founded the Latin club, though it is now sponsored by Aaron Pellowski, the current Latin teacher at LASA. 

The club provides a space for students to talk about the language or participate in competitions, according to senior club president Jasmine Gokingco, who has been a member since her junior year. Gokingco said the club requires no prior experience or expertise in Latin to join — just an interest in the subject.

“Last year, we would have social meetings every month because you can make Latin Club as serious as you want it or as not serious as you want,” Gokingco said. “We have traditions. But usually, day to day, we just have social events during lunch, or if a lot of competitions are coming up soon, then we all just prepare for that.”

This year, all meetings are virtual due to the pandemic. The Latin Club allows participants to engage as much or as little as they wish, according to Gokingco. Sophomore club member Kushaal Singh participates in the Latin competitions.

“One of the things that all of us are part of is called Certamen, which is a Latin buzzer game where you have to buzz in as they’re asking the question, opening you up to bonuses, which is an answer as a team,” Singh said. “Each of us have our own specialty.”

Gokingco said that competitions are more focused on Certamen compared to previous years.  The club is part of the Texas State National Junior Classical League (TSJCL), which is a part of the National Junior Classical League (NJCL). TSJCL is broken further into various groups based on five Texas areas. The LASA Latin club is part of Area F, which consists of schools in Austin. Sophomore Nisha Vishag is another member of the Latin club.

“Next year we are going to be hosting Area F at LASA next year, and we’re looking forward to that,” Vishag said. 

This year, the club participated in additional competitions where they were tested on grammar, history, mythology and reading Latin passages. There are also different levels for teams: advanced, intermediate and novice. Advanced is for Latin III and higher, intermediate is for Latin II and novice is for Latin I.


Poetry Club:

When: Fridays After School (Zoom)

Contact: [email protected] 


Established in February 2020, the Poetry Clubis a relatively recent addition to LASA. The club discusses, presents and reads poetry.

Junior Eli Clark is one of the founders of the club. Clark said people are able to share their own poetry for part of the time open mic style, though the rest of the time they read and discuss other poetry. 

“Our usual schedule is that one of us will choose a poem from some other outside author, and it may relate to current events,” Clark said. “We’ll share a poem and have a little discussion about it.”

The group discusses various kinds of poetry and may relate them to current events, such as International Women’s Month. The club, however, does not pressure members to share their own poetry if they do not wish to, Clark said. According to them, any level of participation or knowledge of poetry is acceptable.  

“Last year, before the pandemic, one of our members didn’t write poetry,” Clark said. “She didn’t feel pressed to share poetry, so really, anyone can join if they’re interested in learning about poetry, hearing poetry or sharing poetry.”

The presentation of outside works is usually introduced by someone with knowledge of the specific subject or poet. According to sophomore club member Zachary Suri, when members share their own poetry, the group will give feedback.

“I would just say that it’s not just about sharing poetry — it’s also a safe and open space to talk about our experiences and express ourselves in ways that make us feel comfortable and feel like who we are,” Suri said. “You don’t have to be someone who’s super interested in poetry as a craft; we talk in many ways about how poetry fits into our lives.”

The club allows its members to talk about their personal experiences and thoughts. According to junior Shanja Ferdous, who has been a member since her sophomore year, the club can also simply serve as a place to meet with friends.

“It’s a really safe place, and last year, when we did the club in person before COVID-19, I had a lot of my friends come over and meet,” Ferdous said. “It wasn’t necessarily about if they wrote poetry or if they even read poetry; it was more like it was a place to hang out and feel comfortable.”


LASA Smiles:

When: Thursdays During Lunch (Zoom and in-person activities)

Contact: [email protected] 


LASA Smiles, founded in January 2021, raises money for Operation Smile, an international organization that provides free cleft palate surgeries for those in need. Operation Smile also provides dental care, nutritional support and speech therapy for their patients. 

According to sophomore co-president Lizbeth Arellano, she and the other club founders had been intending to start a club since hearing it was an option. Arellano said they found inspiration once they heard about Operation Smile and what they aspire to do and decided to start hosting weekly meetings to work with them.  

“We mostly discuss what we have coming up, like events,” Arellano said. “We also talk about our ideas so we can create more projects that people can participate in.” 

LASA Smiles fundraises through sponsored running, projects for Operation Smile’s “Spread the Love” campaign and blanket drives and will in the future begin writing to elders at a local elderly home. According to Arellano, the LASA Smiles team hopes to raise about $1,000 by the end of the year, which Arellano said is enough to fund four surgeries. Arellano said they are still learning how to run the club but are hoping to do more in the future. 

The LASA Smiles club runs five miles every Friday and raises money through a charity app called Charity Miles. The club also participates in other physical activities that raise money through the app as well, such as biking, according to sophomore club founder and co-president Gabriela Aguirre. 

“You can also participate individually by tracking your progress on Charity Miles,” Aguirre said. “Your own sponsor can be a parent or a friend.”

According to Aguirre, you can also earn volunteer hours by participating through the app. Charity Miles donates to the charity of the user’s choice for every mile that they run, using money made primarily through corporate sponsorships. Charity Miles takes no percentage of the money earned by its users and instead hands it directly to the charities involved, Arellano said. Sophomore club secretary Jonathan Lopez said that founding the club created a lot of great memories, and the club members are very supportive of each other. 

“We’re always open and welcoming to new members,” Lopez said. “We can’t wait to see some new faces and hopefully make some new friends. We are super excited to hopefully meet some new people in this new club.”