Planting Roots: Struggling to start anew

Christian Club officers describe challenges of the year

Flora Peng and Tyler Cho

For many students, school is a place to socialize with others their age who share the same interests and work towards similar goals. Among the various clubs and teams on campus that provide opportunities to connect, Roots Christian Club is one that has existed for over 12 years. However, this school year, several unexpected challenges have led to a rough start.

“The old officers who left told us that the reapplication process was all taken care of and not to worry about it,” vice president and junior Yoanna Lee said. “We actually didn’t know that we weren’t renewed as a club, so we planned for the whole year, and then we came into the school year and realized we weren’t a club. We kind of had to drop everything and just try to figure out how we could be a club again.”

Because the application process for a club requires approval from the Legislative Council to be passed, Christian Club was unable to hold interest meetings or participate in promotional activities such as Club Information Day. According to co-president and senior Iris Dong, one significant challenge the club will face this year as a result is attracting new members.

We’re concerned that people don’t know about the club,” Dong said. “We were like maybe we could do a social media spam, but there’s a trend where freshmen don’t use Facebook, so we’re going to really hope for word-of-mouth.”

After club members presented at the first Legislative Council meeting on Sept. 26, the club was renewed. While the officers have already begun working to make up for the initial lack of promotion, the delay in approval means there is more work to do in order to catch up. At the moment, the most pressing concerns for the club are scheduling dates to hold meetings and finding ways to promote it.

“We have to talk to other people, we have to set up all these extra things and reformat as if we were an actual new club even though we’ve been a club for so long,” Lee said. “We couldn’t do Club Promo Day, so we have to do other means of promotion. We have to talk to other people, set up all these extra things and reformat as if we were an actual new club even though we’ve been a club for so long. It changes everything.”

In addition to the rocky start, the club is adjusting to the loss of veteran club adviser Margaret Platt, who retired at the end of last school year. Platt recommended that the officers ask history teacher Ashley Stolhand to be their new advisor, who agreed at the end of last year.

“Platt has been Christian Club’s advisor pretty much since the beginning so she knew what was going on and she was behind the original vision and the purpose [of the club],” Lee said. “Even though teachers can’t be directly involved, she was in agreement with a lot of the things that we did and it was nice to have someone who knew what they were doing. [Stolhand] hasn’t been a Christian Club advisor before, so I don’t know if she’s going to be able to support us in the same way that Platt could have. We’re a little bit more on our own this time, but at least [the club is] continuing on.”

According to public relations officer and junior Elvis Lang, a few of the officers have Stolhand as their teacher, so they’re not worried about establishing a relationship so much as incorporating everyone’s ideas into the club.

“For most Christians in our school, many of them go to church but really don’t do anything else,” Lang said. “The point of [the events we offer are] to revive [our members] and provide their passion. Also, with our weekly meetings, we will be doing a few lessons and few small group things where people can learn to rely on God and kind of get to know a lot more people in the Christian community.”

Lee agrees, adding that the club has become more of a community. She hopes that Christian Club will help others find a family and foster an environment free of judgement in the same way that joining a church would.

The club really gives me energy and drive to share my passions with other people within the community who all love Christ and who all believe that Christianity has changed [their] lives.

— vice president and junior Yoanna Lee

“To me, the club means a lot because Christianity is something that changed my life. It was something that I was raised in but also something that I left … I came back to it after seeing that it was really important, maybe even the most important part of my life,” Lee said. “The club really gives me energy and drive to share my passions with other people within the community who all love Christ and who all believe that Christianity has changed [their] lives.”

Dong says the relationships people develop in the club make it a comfortable environment, allowing people to meet others with similar passions.

“In Christian Club, we hope for an environment for people to learn more but also provide a place where they can experience [community],” Dong said. “A lot of Christians go to different churches, but [we’re] all together at Monta Vista, we’re all just one school, so we just hope for different Christians to meet other Christians, to make friends, have fellowship. It’s just time to gather. I just feel like it’s a comfortable place where you don’t have to hide your beliefs.”

Lang urges people who may be interested in the club to try it out, even if they are not necessarily Christian. He says that several misconceptions about the club may deter potential new members from joining.

“It’s a very open and friendly club. It’s not a really hardcore religious kind of thing,” Lang said. “It’s really loose, where everyone just talks about their lives and stuff, and it’s a friendly place. So even if you might be intimidated or if you aren’t sure, come try it out. It’s a very nice environment and you’ll definitely learn a lot.”