Let’s Go Clubbin’: Still time to get involved in many groups

New school year, new goals for these young leaders at CF. Cedar Falls High School has a variety of extracurricular opportunities for all students. All of the choices may be overwhelming for new students but this insight on what these clubs are planning will help you gain insight on where to start. 

  • Art Club 
  • Location: room 34
  • When: second shift of power hour on Tuesday 
  • Club president: Natalie Olson
  • Teacher advisor: Lisa Klenske


“Art club is a power hour group that is a place where anyone can come and create art and have a community of diverse artists,” said Natalie Olson, the new president of art club after Abby Broadhead passed the torch to her.

“I’m feeling a little bit of pressure. Abby was a really good president, so it’s a lot to live up to, but I’m really excited. Last year we did not do as much as I would have hoped for because not a lot of people were committed, but we did do trunk or treat, which was super fun, and we sold a lot of stuff to the musical and play from the art cart, which is how we fundraise. We did some fun projects that I want to repeat this year, but truck or trick was the highlight. We also did a poster competition for the science department last year, which was fun.”

Olson pulled out her phone and said, “I actually have a list about this,” and started to list off what was planned this year. “We want to do sidewalk chalk stuff, a mural at some point, a Bob Ross paint along, we are doing trunk or treat again, we are gonna to do jewelry for the art cart and maybe an art and bake and use recycling for art.”

  • Book Club 
  • Location: the library
  • When: second shift of power hour, two meetings a month. The day depends on who is available. 
  • President: Sarah Kreck
  • Teacher advisor: Abby Hendrickson


“I would say it is set apart from other book clubs because we focus more on books about sensitive topics like mental health, cultural aspects and LGBT books. We try to make a safe space to talk about that stuff with others because they aren’t things you are usually able to talk about in casual conversations,” Kreck said.

Book club is perhaps the newest club listed here because they started spring of last year and only had three meetings before summer break. 

Kreck said, “Last year was really a trial run. There was a lot to fine-tune like the process of picking books and getting the word out. I probably would like to have more of a steady schedule for each book and maybe find a better way to communicate with other people besides Schoology.” 

  • Black Student Union (BSU) 
  • Located: Tiger’s Den
  • When: general meetings will start in November on either Wednesday or Friday power hour
  • Leaders: Natasia Johnson, Jojo Jarwolo, Vanssa Komen, Midnight Thorton, Khila Epps, Addy Breddin, Abigail Smith and Eonna Barnes
  • Teacher advisers: Brenna Griffin, Abby Hendrickson


“The Black Student Union at Cedar Falls aims to strengthen the comfortability of students of color at Cedar Falls High School, to take leadership in advocacy of the injustice and unfairness of students of color at Cedar Falls High School and also take charge to unify all members,” said Johnson, one of the leaders of the BSU. “We plan to participate in Black History Month (maybe have an all-school assembly that month), Trunk or Treat and Secret Santa. We’re still figuring events out, but when they’re finalized, they will be announced and posted around the school.” Jarwolo said, “I want to bring a barber shop to educate black people how to do their own hair instead of having to go al the way to Waterloo and spend a bunch of money because Black hair stylists are limited in Cedar Falls.”

  • Cultural Diversity
  • Location: counseling office, may change to room 54
  • When: both shifts of power hour Thursday
  • President: Tanvi Khadiya
  • Teacher adviser: Erin Gardner


 “Living in Iowa, most people don’t get a lot of exposure to the diverse cultures of the world, and understanding and appreciating diversity is a crucial skill,” cultural diversity club president Tanvi Khadiya said. “Our group’s mission is to foster an appreciation for the diverse cultures that are represented throughout the high school, as well as increasing an understanding about the world and educating others on the cultures and customs of other regions of the world.” 

The previous president was Malvika Khadiya, Tanvi’s sister. “I took over from my sister. I’ve been president of the club since last school year, and it’s still so crazy to me that I get to lead a group that I am so passionate about, and I’m so grateful to have this opportunity. The club also has two vice presidents this year, Jesika Basurto and Eliana Davidson, who have been such a big help and bring incredible new ideas to the table.”

“Last year was a little harder because I was running the club by myself, which, when combined with my course load, became overwhelming at times. We have two vice presidents now who also help to run the club and bring some great ideas to the table. Overall, organization is one of the most important things needed to be able to run a club, so I think this year should go much smoother,” Khadiya said.

“We’re planning some small club activities like watching movies, learning cultural dances and languages and more. In terms of large-scale events, we plan to participate in Trunk or Treat again this year, as well as our annual Food Fair in the spring.”

  • DECA 
  • Location: room 275 
  • When: day of the week varies, but it’s generally during power hour
  • Teacher adviser: Mike Hansel


“We work on building communication and problem-solving skills throughout the year as we participate in fundraising, competition or other DECA events. Joining DECA is a great way to develop professional skills and expand your network,” DECA member Megan Anton said. 

“We are learning business skills and practice scenarios that will prepare us for future jobs and interviews,” DECA member Sophia Sell said. 

“As the school year started back up, we had a couple of meetings with returning members to discuss our plans for the upcoming year, how to best introduce DECA to students new to the club and how to facilitate meetings with the number of students who were interested in joining. Our weekly meetings are held in the business hall during power hour,” member Anna Scannel said. “The upperclassmen who led our chapter last year did a great job showing us the ins and outs of DECA and really made the year memorable. Now that they’ve graduated, we seniors are tasked with taking on the role of guiding new members through competitions and making sure everyone has a positive experience.”

Anton said, “Our first large event this year will be our Fall Leadership Conference on Nov. 13-14 in Des Moines. Later on, we will have our district and state competition. If you qualify at the state level, you may travel to compete at the International Career Development Conference, which will be in Orlando in the spring of 2023. Other than competing, we plan on fundraising through Donuts for DECA and other activities.”


  • Drama Club 
  • Where: the auditorium
  • When: after school for performers, Sundays at 10 a.m. for techies
  • Stage managers: Annie Forcum, Midnight Thornton
  • Teacher adviser: Michelle Rathe


“Our organization is a bit messy right now, but we work together as a team. A lot of it is self-organization because the directors don’t have time to micromanage us, so it requires a lot of willpower to be in drama,” Forcum said.

“Last year Christian Becker was the stage manager. It’s certainly a lot of pressure because anything that goes wrong does go on my shoulders. Luckily, I have help from my other stage manager Midnight Thorton. It’s a lot of testing, figuring out what works for everyone. A lot of rounding up of people to make them do stuff. A lot of things are changing this year.”

“I learned that giving people more self-responsibility or having people decide for themselves is important. Especially with tech, they get a lot more freedom, which makes it more fun and engaging. I learned a lot of self-reliance and leadership skills, mostly in learning with Rathe, the co-director Molly Magill and the actors.”


Currently, the auditions for performing roles are closed, but drama club is lacking in techies, so they are accepting sign-ups “It has definitely been a struggle getting techies in general, Forcum said. “It’s a lot less appreciated aspect of theater.” 

“We are doing Second Samuel, which is set in ’50s Georgia, a lot of southern accents, and Speed Date, which is a collection of shooter comedy bits revolving around speed dating and Margot’s Cradmeries Catalog of Minor Yet Helpful Uncanny Abilities. It’s kinda similar to Speed Date in that it’s a lot of self-contained bits, but it also has a larger narrative, so three shows one season. Very fun.”

  • Environmental Awareness Club
  • When: second shift power hour every Thursday
  • Where: room 138
  • Teacher adviser: Jason Lang


“Our goal in the Environmental Awareness team is to make Cedar Falls High School more environmentally friendly,” member Molly Susong said.

“Some events that we have planned for the year is a bi-weekly parking lot clean up. We plan to come to the high school on Saturday mornings and spend a little bit of time picking up trash. We also put composting bags in the cafeteria again. We are currently brainstorming lots of different project ideas.”

“We have a small group that hasn’t grown much, but we would love for more people to join. The more people that join, the more we can do. New members will always be appreciated.”

  • Robotics team
  • Where: 5547 Westminster Drive. 
  • When: 7 p.m. Mondays 
  • Directional team: Ethan Strohm, Mila Haynes, Emma Batterson, Hannah Batterson, Alex Demastes and Sean Radke
  • Teacher adviser: Julie Kirkpatrick


“We’re the Cedar Falls High School FIRST Robotics Competition Team 525 The Swartdogs. We compete in an annual competition to design, build and drive robots. Each year, there’s a new ‘game’ for us to compete in, consisting of different tasks for our robot to complete.” Haynes said. “We also aim to inspire students and get them excited about STEM. Our team utilizes all sorts of skills, from programming and mechanical fields to graphic design and video editing.”

For fundraisers, Radke said, “We plan to host multiple fundraisers including another can-drive and potentially a lasagna dinner in January.” 

For competitions, Haynes said, “This year, we’re going to an offseason competition in October just outside of Kansas City, called Cowtown Throwdown. We’ve attended this competition a couple of times, and we even won the event last year. The official robotics season starts with a kickoff on Jan. 7. We host a kickoff event here at CFHS, where all of the FIRST Robotics Competition teams from Iowa and Nebraska join us for the official season kickoff livestream and a bunch of workshops that our students run. After this kickoff, we’ll have six weeks to design, build, program and learn to drive a robot fit for the new game. In early March, we host a scrimmage called the Corndog Classic, where we invite teams from Iowa to come experience playing the new game on a full-sized field. A few weeks later, we host the Iowa Regional—a regional FRC competition that we started in 2016. We usually attend two regional events, but we’re not sure what our second one will be yet. If we qualify for World Championships again, we’ll be heading to Houston, Texas, at the end of April.” 

“Last year was a great returning year for our team after a break from normal competition due to COVID. We overcame a lot of struggles, but ended up doing a great job at the regional competitions that we attended, and even ended up making it to World Championships,” Haynes said. 

Radke said, “Timing (project management and scope) is definitely something we have to work on. Officially we have a six-week build season followed by a six-week competition season where we only compete twice in those six weeks. We were still building our robot three-four weeks into the competition season, so we definitely didn’t go fast enough. Managing who does what should help us be more efficient with our time.”

Haynes said, “Right now, we’re in our offseason, which means that we don’t meet much more than this weekly meeting. However, in the build season (January – April), students have the opportunity to come and work on projects almost every day.” 

  • Sexuality and Gender Acceptance (SAGA)
  • Location: portable #1 
  • When: Friday power hour both shifts
  • Presidents: Aussie Haworth, Deedee Benton
  • Teacher adviser: Susan Langan


“SAGA seeks to provide a safe and educational place for queer, questioning and interested students. We provide a safe space for LGBTQ+ students as well as a place for dialogue and education between members of the community,” Haworth said.

“Being a co-president means a lot to me because it means I can use my skills to build up a group dedicated to encouraging healthy conversations about a part of my own identity. I enjoy being a large part of leadership because it allows me to give the most I can to the LGBTQ+ community and gives me opportunities to teach others about us.”

“This year we plan on attending a number of conferences and meetings with the Iowa Legislature along with a variety of local events such as holiday parties and a gender-affirming clothes swap. Based on last year, the biggest thing I learned was that it is important to grow leadership within the group.”

  • Speech Team
  • Meeting time and location varies
  • Teacher adviser: Rob Chagdes


“There isn’t really a set mission statement for speech; however, we strive to make it a place where anyone can fit in and grow in their own way while also being a part of a larger, awesome group. It’s a great way to grow as a communicator and performer as well as to meet new people. I’ve made so many great friends through speech and have always felt supported by my whole team,” speech team member Elene Kodanashvili said.

We learned a lot from last year. There was a lot that we did that worked, but a lot of things we could improve on. For example, I think we did a great job of getting the whole team excited for speech with some fun events that we planned and we supported each other really well at competitions. However, there are some ways to make planning and coordination for meetings a bit better, especially with a lot of new members this year. We could also add more ways to get everyone involved. Something we currently have in the works is a system to get some new members feeling more confident and to help them grow as speakers and performers by connecting them to someone who has been in speech before. They would be able to make a good connection with them and subsequently make great connections with everyone on the team in order to have lots of fun all together and to make the team even more successful.“

The meeting times for the team are flexible. “For large group events, you might talk to your team and set up a good time to meet that works for everyone. There are times when meeting with a coach or mentor might be beneficial as well. Depending on the event, meeting at different locations outside of school can be helpful. It really builds a good relationship with other people on the team and aids in making their performances even better. Meeting times are usually up to you when you’re in individual events. Most of the preparation for competition is done on your own time; however, sometimes mentors and advisers reach out to meet as well as you get ready to compete. We also have big meetups with the whole team whether they’re informational, or celebrations for the end or beginning of the season. Overall, meeting times for speech are quite flexible, but always fun.”

“Right now, we have a Kick-Off Celebration planned for Thursday, Oct. 13. There is not a lot planned right now that I know of; however, once we start the season up, I’m sure we are going to have lots of fun events and hangouts for the team.”

  • Volunteer Club
  • Location: library
  • When: Fridays, second shift power hour
  • Presidents: Akshat Mehta, Stella Johnson, Param Sampat
  • Teacher adviser: Andrew Eisenman


“We seek to connect motivated youth to both community service opportunities as well as leadership opportunities. From things as big as fundraising projects for local hospitals to simply managing our school’s recycling system alongside friends. Some people just want to do fun volunteer opportunities with their friends and others want to lead major volunteering projects, and we do both.” Mehta said. 

“It’s going really well so far. We had great leaders last year that I learned a lot from. We are taking a lot from what we learned last year and adding our new ideas to create the best school year for volunteer club,” Johnson said.

Mehta said, “Last year we had some excellent club members, and I really applaud Klaertje and Bhoomika, who were student leaders last year alongside myself, but what we learned with only three student leaders, we were not as effective in connecting all of our members to initiatives. This year by expanding our leadership structure we are getting more students involved and creating deeper involvement in volunteering.”

Johnson added, “Volunteer club is always accepting new members. This year has a lot of members and we are ready to get a lot done this year.”

Mehta said, “We operate in a few different committees that handle our ongoing volunteer opportunities. These include food banks, school recycling, community trash pickups, and special events and fundraising. And the last one pertains to all the unique events like cultural festivals or collaborations with businesses, and for this year we plan to expand participation in every one of these categories. The exciting thing is these committees we implemented this year from last year, so we have 70 members this year. That’s up from less than 10 when I first joined this club. With this revitalized leadership structure, we are much more able to capitalize on the opportunities around us because we have more student involved. We had 300 hours of volunteering last year, and one of our major goals is to beat that record.”

  • Women’s Leadership
  • Location: counseling office
  • When: first shift of power hour on Wednesday 
  • Leaders: Keiana James, Ashlynn Davis, Maddie Gallagher
  • Teacher adviser: Erin Gardner


“Women’s Leadership is providing a safe space for women to discuss current events, life events, high school events and everything in between. In this group we work to support one another by providing space to just talk and be together, as well as supporting other girls in our community,” James said.

“Our group of girls is very community-focused, so we don’t necessarily have a ‘leader,’ nor have we ever, really, but our last official ‘head’ of Women’s Leadership was Malina Amjadi. If you know Malina, you know those are big shoes to fill. She is so charismatic, determined and full of life; but, I am ecstatic to get to guide these girls through whatever they are going through and it’s super cool to feel like an older sister to them. “

“We are still working through the beginning stages of planning for the year, but traditionally Women’s Leadership speaks to junior high girls at the end of the year, so we are looking to plan that event in the spring again.”

“We actually didn’t have WL last year. A lot of our members got really busy, as life happens, and we didn’t really meet or have any events in particular. That’s why we’re so excited to get back into the swing of things this year. We are hoping to still acquire some new members, but I wouldn’t say we’re struggling.”

  • Young Democrats of Cedar Falls High School
  • Where: room 255
  • When: Tuesday during second shift power hour
  • Directors: Deedee Benton, Arohi Banerjee, Varun Gulwadi, Maggie McCullough,
  • Teacher adviser: Traci Walsh

“The mission of the YDCFHS is to promote civic engagement opportunities, educational resources and a safe community in order to discuss beliefs through the structure of the Democratic party. Our more specific purposes are to provide educational opportunities about government, real-life politics and the Democratic party for the students of Cedar Falls High School; promote civic engagement through the structures of the Iowa Democratic Party and encourage members to get involved in activist groups at the local, state and national level; promote the ideas and beliefs of the Democratic party, which includes promoting local, state and federal candidates in upcoming elections,” McCullough said.

“I was inspired to start up YDCFHS in order to create an impact in our community. For far too long I have witnessed injustices occur in our school, and I wanted to make a change. I believe that our student body has the capabilities to create a difference in our community and to progress forward to create equality and a better future for Cedar Falls,” Benton said. “Currently, we are planning on collaborating with the Volunteer Club in order to host a voter registration drive. For the rest of the year, we plan on creating educational resources and conducting outreach within our community in order to make a difference.”

This is actually the first year we have operated since the 2019-2020 school year. It was previously run by Ryan Westhoff and never got revived after COVID, so we decided to get it up and running again this year.”

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