New Clubs at the Activities Fair

FIGHTING FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: Club leader Nilufer Mistry-Sheasby ’24 promotes her human rights-focused club. Chloe Park/Chronicle

The Human Rights Watch Student Task Force

By Eden Conner

The Human Rights Watch Student Task Force (HRWSTF), founded by Nilufer Mistry Sheasby ’24, plans to raise awareness in the community about global issues.

Mistry Sheasby said she started HRWSTF because she wants students to look outside their own community to find ways to help those in need.

“We’re insulated in a bubble,” Mistry Sheasby said. “It is a bubble that we’re really lucky to be in, and I think we forget when we talk about things like voting rights or the right to free political speech or access to food and water that is not a reality for a lot of people everywhere.”

History Teacher Peter Sheehy, who advises the club, said he is excited to see the impact of HRWSTF on campus.

“The focus of [HRWSTF’s] work and the depth of their work will provide a valuable opportunity for our students to develop leadership skills around human rights issues,” Sheehy said. “Human Rights Watch has a terrific track record in training student advocates, and I’m sure our students will embrace this opportunity to its fullest extent.”

Mistry Sheasby said her goal is to make large issues like climate change and hunger feel solvable.

“We were hoping to go through the International Declaration of Human Rights as a club and see what students could do to facilitate strengthening those rights,” Mistry Sheasby said.

Sheasby said she hopes that with International Human Rights day, the club will be able to present multiple proposals to the community to join them in the projects.

“It’s not worth it to undersell the power of your own voice,” Mistry Sheasby said. “We are the future leaders of the nation and of the world,” Mistry Sheasby said. “If we can host three successful drives and raise a bunch of money, that’s awesome. If all we do is keep the stories of these people alive and relevant, and remind ourselves every day that not everyone gets to live with the privilege we do, that, in my mind, is just as much of a success.”


LAUDING LATINO LITERATURE: Club leaders Alex Aguirre ’23 and Arely Monterroso ’24 pose by Latino novels. Chloe Park/Chronicle

Leyendo Libros Latinos

By Everett Lakey

Leyendo Libros Latinos (LLL), led by Arely Monterosso ’24 with Faculty Advisor Sephora Escarpeta-Garcia, is a club that focuses on reading literature written by Hispanic authors. Monterosso said that although most of the books will be in Spanish, some will be works written in English by Hispanic authors in order to accommodate students who want to participate in the club but are not fluent in Spanish.

Monterosso said that the club will read books by authors such as Julia Álvarez, Erika L Sánchez and Pablo Camacho this year.

“One of the many goals of the club is to have a diverse range of Hispanic authors in order to show that America Latina is more than just Mexico or Spain,” Monterosso said. “[The club] encompasses various cultures, experiences and stories that I hope to help spread onto the Harvard-Westlake campus.”

Escarpeta-Garcia said she hopes the club will serve as a space where the community can have conversations that are inclusive of everyone’s stories.

“We can only gain a deeper perspective of others when we open ourselves up to other people’s experiences,” Escarpeta-Garcia said. “Many of us are invisible in the pages of literature and history books. The club will give us a voice and an opportunity for the community to see that we share some things in common. I think the community and our club can provide an opportunity for growth, growth in perspective, growth in exposure and growth in a deeper meaning of what community means collectively.”

With the waves of book bans happening across the country, Escarpeta-Garcia said that forming a club like LLL is more important than ever. 

“These books are our voices and tell our stories,” Escarpeta-Garcia said. “Many of the books I read growing up speak to me about my story and my struggles. Everyone has the right to a voice through the literature we are exposed to.”


ITALIAN IMMERSIONS: Club members Lauren LaPorta ’23 and Chloe Fribourg ’23 set up Italian snacks for their club booth. Printed with permission of Chloe Fribourg

Italian Immersion Club

By Jayan Kandavel

Italian Immersion Club, founded by Makenna Dovel ’23 and Lou Zapata ’23, will create a place for students to immerse themselves in Italian culture and experience a variety of Italian cultural activities.

Zapata said she and Dovel started the club to explore Italian culture beyond the classroom. They both took the Intermediate/Advanced Italian Language and Culture Directed Study, but felt that class time was too short to learn about culture to the extent they wanted to.

“Even though most of the people in the club take Directed Study: Intermediate/Advanced Italian, the period is so short and doesn’t allow us much time to learn as much as we’d like,” Zapata said. “The Italian Club is a productive and fun space that allows us to keep our love for the culture and language, even if it’s for only one extra hour a week.”

Dovel said her inspiration for the club came from fond memories of her previous trip to Italy.

“I remember traveling to Rome when I was eight and thinking that this was the place I wanted to live when I was older,” Dovel said. “I loved how anywhere I walked, I could stumble upon beautiful architecture. I loved how everyone wanted a genuine conversation with you, and no one was in a rush. And to no surprise, I really loved the food. Ever since then, I’ve had a fascination with Italian culture.”

Dovel said the club has a diverse selection of activities planned for future meetings, including watching movies, trying Italian cuisine, playing games, listening to speakers and potentially attending a field trip.

“In the club, we will be watching Italian films, possibly trying Italian dishes and playing games in Italian,” Dovel said. “We are hoping to bring in a speaker at some point and do a field trip.”

Dovel said she is excited for the club’s first meeting and hopes to bond with club members.

“I’m looking forward to connecting with fellow students who also cherish Italy,” Dovel said.


CRAZY FOR UKELELES: Club leader Darcey O’Brien ’23 and ukelele fan Owen Kim ’23 pose at the ukelele club booth.  Alex Lee/Chronicle

Ukulele Club

By Alex Lee

Ukulele Club, led by Thea Pine ’23, Darcey O’Brien ’23 and Faculty Advisor and Performing Arts Teacher Chris Sullivan, aims to introduce the ukulele to the school community.

Sullivan said the club works to promote teamwork along with ukulele skills.

“Other than developing the skill set to play an instrument, you must also learn to work with others as a team and multitask,” Sullivan said.

Pine said she is an avid ukulele player and that she and O’Brien started the club because of their shared passion for the instrument.

“The ukulele is pretty easy to pick up and fun to play,” Pine said. “We hope to spread this same love and joy for the instrument to all club participants by making the ukulele an enjoyable instrument for all students to have fun playing.”

Pine said research has proven that the ukulele and other musical hobbies can help to reduce students’ stress through artistic expression.

“Amid the chaos and stress of Harvard-Westlake, the ukulele has served as a creative outlet that has carried [O’Brien and me] through all the highs and lows in our life,” Pine said. “There’s a wealth of modern research to support the opinion that music helps relieve stress and improve mood, and a ukelele can certainly help accomplish these things.”

Sullivan said he has experienced first-hand how music can serve as a bonding activity.

“The bonds and friendships formed when playing music with others [are] second to none,” Sullivan said. “I am all for any club that encourages students to learn an instrument and play music with others.”

The Ukulele club will meet every Day 1 during lunch at Chalmers 104.

ADMIRING AQUARIUMS: Aquarium Club’s booth featured various fish and terrarium themed decorations. Printed with permission of Jack Limor.

Aquarium Club

By Connor Tang

Aquarium club, led by Jack Limor ’24, aims to discover the art of building terrariums, which are built glass cases that can feature live plants and animals.

Limor said his parents bought him his first pet fish when he was seven, which spurred his interest in keeping aquatic life. Limor said this made him become more interested in the art of building terrariums with many live aspects, in addition to fishkeeping.

“Initially [my interest] would just be keeping fish as a pet,” Limor said. “But then I got more into things like live plants and natural scapes. That’s where I kind of transferred my focus rather than fishkeeping, which is still a big part of it, but more into aquascaping, which is what my club is all about.”

Aquascaping is the creation of an aquatic garden, and it features a wide range of aspects such as aesthetic design, plant diversity, and architecture. Limor said he has big plans for the club throughout the school year.

“I have plans for the club to potentially enter the competitions nationally and internationally,” Limor said. “There’s an international one called Aquatic Gardner’s Association, but essentially, they are based on aquascaping. There’s an art that goes into building scapes, and it’s like architecture. It’s like designing a house, but for an aquarium.”

Limor said he created the club to share the deeper art of creating terrariums, as well as the possibility of competition outside the school.

“In the actual club, there’s nothing about fish, honestly. The title is aquariums, but it’s another form of art for the school to explore,” Limor said. “But there’s also potential for school presence in competitions, in contests and I think it also goes hand in hand with some of the classes we propose.”

Faculty Advisor Blaise Eitner said the two facets of the Marine Biology class and Aquarium Club shared similarities with one another.

“A knowledge of the biology and ecology of aquatic organisms is a good thing to have if you are trying to design and maintain an aquarium,” Eitner said. “[But] of course there are details regarding engineering that are specific to aquariums that would not be appropriate for a general science class like Ocean and Marine Biology.”

Aquarium Club meets on Day 2 during lunch in Munger 106.


Sustainable Fashion Club

By Justin Tang

Sustainable Fashion Club (SFC) , led by co-leaders Mia Patel ’24 and Phoebe Hsu ’24, aims to teach student students about the environmental impact of the clothing industry. SFC plans on organizing clothing drives for shelters and temporary housing facilities. Patel and Hsu partnered with a fabric warehouse, which allows them to use a variety of fabrics to educate on the sustainability of daily clothing.

Hsu said she was inspired to create the club after learning about the impact shopping had on the environment.

“Mia and I decided to start [SFC] because shopping sustainably is something we ourselves have been working towards,” Hsu said. “We’ve also realized how much shopping both we and people around us do despite having overflowing closets.”

Fast fashion is a cycle of purchasing cheap, often unsustainable clothing in order to follow the fashion trends established by social media, according to Oxford Languages. Patel said the environmental impact of the production of everyday clothing is unclear to many.

“I don’t really know a lot about [fast fashion]production, which is part of the reason I was so interested in starting this club,” Patel said. “I just think that [sustainable fashion] is something that’s very important to me. [I want] to make sure everyone knows the effects and the consequences of [unsustainable fashion].

Patel said SFC emphasizes the environmental effects of the fashion industry instead of fashion itself. Patel said students should claim responsibility for their effect on the environment amid climate change.

“I think things like climate change can seem so distant for a lot of people and for a lot of students, and I definitely think this is not the case,” Patel said. “I think that should you be interested in learning more about the consequences that your actions have on a community, and learning how to mitigate these problems, then [SFC] is the perfect place.”

With Science Teacher Melody Lee as the faculty sponsor, SFC meets on Day 2 during lunch in Munger 103.