Teachers getting involved in the world of student activities

Dedeepya Guthikonda, page editor

Often overlooked among the dozens of student-led clubs and activities at Edina High School are the teachers who make it all possible. In order to start a club at EHS, students are required to find an advisor to assist on the administration side of things, as well as advise at every club meeting. While it can be challenging to find a teacher who is willing to put in time outside of their busy schedules, teacher advisors often share the same passion for the clubs as their students. 

Nathaniel Murphy, a math teacher at EHS, serves as the current advisor for Faith club.“It was an easy answer,” Murphy said, when a student approached him with the idea a few years ago. The club meets before school on Wednesdays, to immerse themselves through sermons, prayers, lectures, and games in their Christian belief. Murphy himself didn’t have the chance to take part in a similar club in high school, which contributed to his support for the students starting it at EHS. “It’s encouraging to see students that are active in their own faith, and aren’t afraid to share it,” Murphy said. 

While Faith club is an example of a newly-started club, other teacher advisors have been part of clubs they have seen grow and change in an unprecedented way. Model United Nations (MUN) is perhaps the largest student activity at Edina, with over a hundred members. However, Elizabeth Nimmo started advising the club when it consisted of a yearly application-based trip to Canada, accepting only two students. When she first started, she didn’t know much about the activity. “I started investigating,” Nimmo said, “and it turn[ed] out there [were] Model UN conferences all around the country.” Over the years, the club has quickly progressed from twenty-three, to seventy, to the one hundred and fifty members it currently has. She has seen the club spark an interest in international relations and global studies for students as well. “I had no idea that so many students would be interested in that,” Nimmo said. 

Clubs also allow teachers the rewarding experience of seeing their students excel in different areas; for Nimmo, it has been public speaking. “It’s really interesting to me to see students who maybe are afraid of speaking in public, to get over that fear and gain confidence,” Nimmo said. Another aspect that is important to advisors is the “student-led” part of it. Many clubs have their own student leaders, and oftentimes, students hold the main role in leadership. Page Kinner, a science teacher at EHS, is the current advisor for Science club. She describes her role as more of a facilitator and organizer.  “I just help [students’] ideas become reality,” Kinner said. “I try to let them run the show whenever they can,” she added. 

For many advisors, seeing their students grow into leadership positions and improve their skills in certain areas continues to be a rewarding experience. Despite the work that goes into serving as an advisor in addition to their roles as teachers, their passion for the club takes priority. When Murphy, Nimmo, and Kinner were all asked if they would take part in the clubs they now serve as advisors for during their high school experience, not surprisingly, all answered yes.