Volunteering at Chamblee: A Year in Review


Interact volunteers at a Shakespeare’s Tavern event.

Rasesh Joshi, Reporter

As the school year comes to an end, many of Chamblee High School’s clubs are wrapping up their activities and celebrating the accomplishments that they made throughout the year. As some of Chamblee’s most vital organizations, volunteering clubs have reached record heights in terms of impact and membership across the student body. Each of these clubs and honor societies offers a unique platform for CHS students to work together and give back to the community.

Matthew Coates (‘24), the current president of the Chamblee National Honor Society, described the NHS as an organization built on the ideas of scholarship, service, and character.

“The NHS’s primary goal as an organization is to recognize student achievement and excellence,” said Coates. “This is done through serving our community and pursuing academics within the school.”

The NHS was able to accomplish many of its goals ranging from large, annual events to local community projects.

“We were able to go to the Special Olympics. That’s our yearly big event, and we help […] kids with intellectual disabilities to participate in sports,” said Coates. “We also have successfully kept the community very nice through our garden club that we do every month.”

Although it was not planned, Coates ran to become the president of the club in order to gain experience in leadership by holding an officer position.

“I decided to apply because I thought it could be fun,” said Coates. “I needed some leadership experience, and I enjoy the club, so why not?”

The Chamblee Beta Club was also able to accomplish many of its goals and objectives that it set out for itself.

“This year, we definitely contributed and gave back to the community,” said Daniel Luo (‘24), the secretary of Beta Club. “We volunteered at many events like races and 5K’s. We also did many nature-related things such as planting trees and cleaning up like Murphy Candler Park. Recently, we also had an event where we built benches at Mason Park.”

However, Luo believes that the Beta Club can improve its management tactics for the future and better assist its members with tracking their hours.

“Something that we could have done better this year was spreading the work among the officers for managing data in attendance for events,” said Luo. “Giving one person all that work is a lot and things get delayed.”

Luo expressed pride in Chamblee Beta Club because of its greater availability to Chamblee students.

“Beta Club is more has more underclassmen than other clubs like it. Some clubs like the National Science Honor Society are only open to 11th graders and above,” said Luo. “Beta Club is more of an entry-level volunteer club that most people can be a part of.”

The National Science Honor Society separates itself from other organizations by having a more specific focus compared to NHS and Beta Club.

“What separates us is that we’re offering opportunities for students in science education as well as science volunteering that isn’t necessarily available through other groups,” said Allison Myers-Beck (‘23), a co-president of the club. “Our goal is to expand science education as well as give students the opportunities to learn more about science opportunities outside of their classes that they wouldn’t necessarily be offered in a high school setting. “

This year, NSHS was able to return after a forced hiatus due to the pandemic.

“We reestablished our club as a whole because it didn’t happen during COVID,” said Myers-Beck. 

Nevertheless, Myers-Beck is persistent on how the organization can improve as a whole.

“In general, we could have had more meetings, said Myers-Beck. “I think we could have done a better job of making sure that students have the opportunities to do stuff outside of the club like lecture opportunities at colleges.”

Other organizations like the Chamblee Tri-M chose to focus their efforts on the performing arts.

“Tri-M raises money for other music programs that we hope to support and sponsor and also supports our own music program through different events,” said Peirong Gao (‘24), the secretary of Chamblee Tri-M. “Tri-M is similar to Beta club and NHS except instead of just having community service hours from any events you’re supposed to only have them from music-based events.”

This year, Tri-M was able to host its very own music festival at Chamblee High School.

“Chamfest was definitely the biggest event that we planned and executed this year,” said Gao. “Thanks to the work done by our president Sully [Watts] (‘23), we were able to make it happen.”

The National Art Honor Society had a similar approach to volunteering with its basis centered around visual arts. Ileana Deppner (‘23), the vice president of the organization, joined because of her passion for art and desire to share it with others.

“I joined [NAHS] because I really wanted to make art to like in a community after spending my sophomore year making art at home,” said Deppner. “I took the job of vice president because I wanted to help organize the events that we put on as a club.”
However, volunteering and community service don’t always need to be done through an honor society or club with rigorous conditions for membership. Chamblee Interact, the only volunteer organization at CHS that does not require an application to join, has continued its massive success in garnering students to participate in community service.

“We don’t keep people out because of GPA, attendance, or any of that kind of stuff,” said Ms. Andriano, an English teacher at Chamblee and sponsor for the Interact club. “If you want to help your community, come and join us. We give a lot of opportunities to do that.”

Andriano has been the sponsor of Chamblee Interact for over a decade.

“About 13 years ago when I started teaching here, the [current] sponsor of Interact was getting ready to leave. She was looking for a replacement, so she asked me if I would be interested,” said Ms.Andriano. “I sat with her for a couple of meetings and figured out what it was all about and thought that was something that I definitely would be interested in.”

In her time as the sponsor of Interact, Andriano has greatly increased the club’s membership and participation.

“When I started, we were at around 50-60 members and now we are at 150 members,” said Andriano. “Growth has definitely been the biggest change that I’ve helped create.”

This year, Chamblee Interact had more community service time among its members than any other year that the club has existed, but they still are focused on making sure that every student is truly committed to volunteering.

“We had the most volunteer hours we’ve ever had this year and gotten many more people involved in the club, said Andriano. “However, something that we can improve on is that we still don’t have 100% of the people who join actually do the volunteering. Some just do it for college applications but don’t get into it, so we’d like to push more people to get more volunteer hours per year.”

With the ever-increasing need for service in our world, Chamblee’s volunteering clubs are providing students with creative and productive outlets for giving back to their community and to those in need. No matter how large or small the impact is, each of these clubs holds a unique role in helping CHS leave a lasting impact on the community.