Students and teachers gather for Celebrate McLean

McLean High School’s annual event bring people out for a day of fun

Students enjoyed having paint fights and painting on each other to match the “paint out” theme for the first home football game.

Music, laughter and cheering could all be heard coming from the McLean practice field on Sept. 9 as students and teachers assembled together for Celebrate Mclean.

Celebrate McLean, an event introduced prior to COVID and resumed last year, allowed students to learn about the selection of clubs at McLean High School while providing a fun way to kick start the new school year. Parents had the opportunity to meet the teachers inside the building in an open house format and learn more about the classes McLean offers.

Celebrate McLean included all grade levels, especially targeting the freshmen in order to help them understand more about the diversity of clubs as they transition into McLean.

“I got to see a variety of clubs and I am definitely interested in joining Model UN, Debate Club, and International Club,” freshman Maria Ayvazian said. “Getting to see all the clubs together and eating all the different candy from them was a lot of fun.”

Students volunteered to represent their club at makeshift stands spread across the practice field. This allowed them to advertise their club and recruit potential new members.

“For Celebrate McLean, we had one entire week dedicated to setting everything up,” said senior Casey Calabia, the president of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA). “We spent our time decorating posters and designing the pride flag game to encourage others to take a look at our club.”

The preparation for the event varied depending on each club. Each club brought its own unique qualities which were reflected through their stands.

“We already knew the groundwork of what we were going to do when we were preparing,” said junior Vanessa Popescu, the vice president of the Japanese Club. “We have a Japanese roulette machine, where you pull on a string and it tells you what candy you will get. It was our main attraction last year so we are hoping that a lot of people will come and enjoy it with us this year.”

For many new clubs, the event gave them the opportunity to spread the word about their club. Some new clubs introduced just this year include the Palestinian Solidarity Club and Photography Club.

“We’re all about finding a safe and creative space for people to share their work and critique others but in a fine way,” said senior Jane Smith, the president of the Photography Club. “We take photos for other events and other clubs if they need it. We also have access to a bunch of fun digital cameras, the darkroom, and film photography.”

The clubs ranged from fun and exciting ones like the McDance-a-Thon, a charity-based club, to culture-based ones such as the Vietnamese Student Association and Japanese Cultural Club. There were also a variety of clubs focusing on important topics, such as the McMinds Matter club.

“McMinds Matter is a club where students can overcome stress and find healthy coping mechanisms,” said junior Ah-roh Ko, the president of Mc Minds Matter. “We try to advocate for mental health since it isn’t really brought up at school and we really want to destigmatize it.”

The event was also open to the public, so it gave families and friends the opportunity to learn more about the McLean community. Besides getting to explore the different clubs, Celebrate McLean also included a variety of activities including food trucks, carnival-type games, a live DJ and a paint out.

The paint out, which attracted a crowd of students, consisted of students splattering paint on themselves to match the theme of the first home football game of the year.

“I loved having paint fights with my friends,” senior Noor Ramzi said. “Nobody could tell us we were being too messy since that is what we were supposed to do.”