Second Semester Clubs

Anthropology Club

By Nathan Wang

Anthropology Club, founded by Melissa Ho ’25 and advised by World Languages Teacher Li Sun, is a space where students can discuss the development of societies and cultures.

Ho said Anthropology Club will incorporate innovative ways to learn about human, cultural and social evolution and will also allow students to explore their own interests. 

“Anthropology Club will bring students opportunities to talk about their unique hobbies, engage in various subjects and discover more about their interests and identities,” Ho said. “We watch films and [eat themed snakcs] while sharing opinions and personal experiences. We explore various categories, such as the anthropology of wine, body language  and more. We hope for everybody to feel welcome to express theories and thoughts without judgment or fear.”

Ho said she created Anthropology Club out of her own interest in the field and also as a way to help others learn about a typically underrepresented study.

“Not only am I captivated by the study of anthropology, but I also wanted to share this incredible yet overlooked field,” Ho said. “I was inspired by the idea of helping others find new subjects that pique their interest and wanted to bring a new experience to Harvard-Westlake.”

Sun said she developed an interest in anthropology in graduate school, where she studied linguistic anthropology.

“When I first started graduate school, I studied education and linguistic anthropology,” Sun said. “I’m interested in linguistic anthropology because languages and social life are so intertwined. Linguistic anthropology has grown into exploring how social and cultural formations are grounded in linguistics practices. Even though I transferred to another program, this branch of anthropology always fascinates me.”

Avery Kim ’25, who plans on joining the club, said he is thrilled to learn about a new and important topic he is mostly unfamiliar with.

“I don’t have any true experience with anthropology but I am excited to try out something new,” Kim said. “I think human culture and evolution is fascinating, and it’ll be really interesting learning why humans developed certain features or act in certain ways.”

Ho said she is eager to plan meetings on unique topics, including the origins and cultures of different chocolate-producing countries. 

“I am most excited for our chocolate-themed meeting,” Ho said. “We will taste various chocolates, theorize about where they were made and learn about the diverse geographical areas.”


Cinephiles Club

By Justine Gustman

Juana Markman ’25 and Isobel Chamas ’25 created Cinephiles, a second-semester club that will give students a way to connect with others through film. The club is advised by Interdisciplinary Studies and Independent Research Teacher Max Baril ’06 and will meet on Day 2 during lunch. 

Chamas said  that the club will include viewing, discussing and seeing films in theaters.

“Our club will focus on watching movies and discussing them afterwards to share our thoughts and opinions on them,” Chamas said. “Also, we may take field trips to theaters to see films, which is still an idea we are working on.”

Markman said that besides watching the films, the club is also working on opportunities to meet and talk to workers in the film industry. 

“We are planning on bringing some guests who work in the film industry to talk about their jobs and do [a] Q&A [session],” Markman said.

Markman said she was inspired to start this club when she and Chamas found out the school did not have a film club. When second semester club applications opened, she said she and Chamas took the opportunity to start Cinephiles. 

“We found out there wasn’t a film club anymore, and we thought it would be really fun to start our own,” Markman said. “Since second semester was starting, we jumped at the chance to start it.”

Markman said the goal of the club is to expose students to movies they either haven’t seen before or that have had a large influence on the film industry. 

“Our goal with this film club was for the movies to be quality, or more artistic or older films so we could show people things they had never seen before, while also showing them the movies that largely impacted film itself,” Markman said, “We can’t really just go around telling people to watch things, so we decided we should start a club for it.

Chamas said that in addition to providing a place for students to experience films, she also hopes that the club will provide a safe community for everyone who comes to enjoy the movies and learn more about the film industry.

“Students looking for entertainment or interested in films can come into our club room with their lunch to relax and enjoy the movie playing,” Chamas said.”We want to make sure that our club is a safe, comfortable space and feels like a community.”


British Politics Club

By Alex Lee

British Politics club, led by Leo Craig ’24 and Aidan Michaelson ’24, focuses on the historical and modern British political scene. The club meets each Day 6 during lunch in Seaver 205 to talk about British politics. 

Craig said he is fascinated by the political decisions that caused the country’s fall from power.

“Britain has been a global power for centuries,” Craig said. “You’d be hard pressed to find any time in the last 400 years when anyone doubted Britain’s place as one of the most powerful nations on the global stage, until the last five years or so. It’s hard to believe that Britain controlled one-fourth of the world’s land area just 100 years ago, when now many believe it to be a shell of its once formidable self.”

The club also aims to explore more modern policy, drama and famous figures in British politics such as Liz Truss, Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak.

“From the craziness of Brexit, Boris Johnson and most recently livestreams of lettuce outlasting recent prime minister Liz Truss, UK politics is in a very strange and frankly hilarious place,” Michaelson  said. “Overall, British Politics Club will be a great time for people to learn more about British politics and also to get away from our equally absurd and often worrying US politics.”

While there are differences between U.S. and British politics, History teacher and club advisorCelia Goedde said that there are parallels between both nations.

“The tone of British politics has typically been more confrontational than in the US—vividly demonstrated by the Prime Minister enduring very pointed and often withering questioning at the end of every week,” Goedde said. “ I think that the British political system faces many of the same challenges as our U.S. system, so that is another point of interest.”

Craig said that British politics in the modern age contain a certain appeal because of the influence they will have on Britain’s future. After a series of political and economic crises, he said he believes the next few years of policy-making in Britain will solidify its future path.

“After learning about Britain’s modern politics in my [AP Euro] class last year, I’ve been fascinated by the trajectory the nation’s been set on,” Craig said.  “The crises of Brexit and Liz Truss’s premiership reinforced my belief that Britain’s currently at a turning point in its history, and I want to explore that in this club.”


Table Tennis Club

By Max Turetzky

Aidan Deshong ’24, Derek Esrailian ’24, Eric Vartany ’24 and Ryan Pinsker ’23  established a table tennis team for second semester. Although table tennis is not officially recognized as a sport by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), the club intends to compete against other amateur Los Angeles (LA)  teams in a table tennis tournament this spring. 

Though the school had a table tennis club last year, Esrailian said that team did not play competitively outside of school.

“Much of [the competition aspect] is new,” Esrailian said. “We’re taking this to a high level that goes beyond the Harvard-Westlake universe. [Right now,] we get our friends to get together and play ping pong. But to get the fiery competition, we’ll be competing at these tournaments.”

Pinsker, who is the club’s primary manager, said he is working to coordinate the club’s competitions.

“My role is to formulate the [logistics] for the team we’re planning and communicating with officials and organizing practices,” Pinsker said. “There’s a website called where you can register teams on the website with a bunch of other club teams based out of Los Angeles. The tournament is a bit tentative, but the season is from March to May.”

Esrailian said that he and the other founders were inspired by their interest in playing ping pong casually. 

“We enjoy playing ping pong in our free time and have fun playing at school,” Esrailian said. “I’ve been going with some of our team members to the Westside [Table Tennis] Center to play. It’s been a lot of fun and motivated us to bring this team to fruition.”

Vartany said he is excited for the new opportunities ping pong club will bring, both inside and outside of school.  

“We’ll be playing in competitive tournaments with other schools and hosting more school wide events like tournaments,” Vartany said. “Also, we will be inviting professional players to play against students to raise money for charity.”

Deshong said although table tennis is different from other sports, he hopes it fosters the same exciting atmosphere. 

“[Table tennis] isn’t an official school sport, but we hope we can show the school the fun of an especially competitive game of table tennis,” Deshong said. “If even one person plays a little more because of what we’re doing, we count that as a success. We’d love to see the school tables in use.”