Team Detail

A Look Into the Student-Driven Clubs Offered this Past School Year

Outside of academics, athletic commitments, and artistic endeavors, students can select from a long list of clubs offered at Vermont Academy. The interests are wide-ranging, and students can even start a club of their own. Some of the clubs held over the ’23-’24 school year included the American Sign Language (ASL) Club, Debate Club, Chess Club, and Bread Club. We heard from each of these club leaders to find out how their year went in their respective groups.
Debate Club, led by Maya Sbardellati ’25 would meet to dispute a topic the collective found interesting and work on ways to become more effective in their arguments. During meetings, the team broke up into two groups, one for each side of the argument at hand, and came up with a defense. They would then choose members to debate it, and receive feedback from Humanities Chair/Debate Club Faculty Advisor Dr. Greg Martin and other members. “I enjoyed getting to start a club that others wanted to be a part of,” Maya shared on her experience as club leader.

Cody Marconi-Quinones ’24 led the ASL Club this year, which would meet once weekly in Shepardson Dining Center. During each meeting, Cody would help teach the language to the group members. He used videos and games to supplement his lessons, planning what he would do each week leading up to the meetings. “I hopefully [made] students want to learn this language more,” Cody shared after wrapping up the year. 

Chess Club was formed in the spring by Oliver Norkun ’26. The group met weekly in Aldrich Lounge after Community Lunch. During club meetings, the group would do a combination of things. Some days they would simply get together and play games for fun. Other times, they set up tournaments during club time, creating player rankings. “[The club] allows for people to connect and socialize through the game of chess,” Oliver shared. “Being able to see lots of people connect over chess, especially people who wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to know each other [was a highlight]. 

The long-standing Bread Club is led by Math Department Chair Russell Mayhew. He describes it as a “bread-making, bread-consuming, and bread-appreciation club”. Over a decade’s worth of alumni have memories of being a part of the iconic club. Simply put, group members “make bread, eat bread, and talk about bread.” As club leader, Mr. Mayhew provides the necessary ingredients and ensures that the bakers do everything safely. This year, the group made bagels, soft pretzels, and more. Most uniquely, membership into the Bread Club requires a Bread Club name, (Mr. Mayhew is Brother Biscuit) the learning and performing of the “Bread Club Handshake,” and the signing of the historic registry scroll.

All in all, this year marked a great year for clubs here at VA. Other student-driven clubs include the LGBTQIA+ and Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Club, Environmental Club, Art Club, and more.
Vermont Academy is a coed college preparatory boarding and day school in southern Vermont, serving grades 9-12 plus a postgraduate year.