Lafayette’s New Club Makes History


Afnan Taha

National History Club 3-4-2022

Lafayette’s very own History Club held its second meeting on March 3, 2022. The club meets every other Thursday in room 242, Mrs. Kurzendoerfer’s room. On the day of this meeting, things weren’t going well for the new club. Mrs. Kurzendoerfer had left early, without leaving the club time to make alternative plans.

The members headed down to the library to see if there was a chance of meeting there. By the time the Times staff members caught up to them, they were walking out, shaking their heads. The group took it all in stride, heading out the nearest door while cracking jokes about alternate titles for this article. “Minority-led club banned from the library,” suggested Grace Yi, club head and a junior in both SCAPA and Pre-engineering.

Yi started the club as a very spur-of-the-moment decision, she says. Students greeted her with instant enthusiasm. At the first meeting, the group voted on decisions and decided what they wanted the club to become. Most members were frankly surprised that Lafayette didn’t already have a history club. Other nearby schools, including Henry Clay, do. Lafayette’s club is applying to be an out-branch of National History Club, which has locations in high schools all across America.

To begin, Lily Miles presented a PowerPoint on the history of hippopotamus farming in the United States circa 1910. Grace Yi followed that up with her own belated Black History Month project on hidden African American figures, including Henrietta Lacks and Union spies from the Civil War. At some controversy over a couple of people mentioned, they concluded that “historical figures are never great.” With ten minutes left, Jamie Cook launched into an impromptu rant on the history of Ukraine. And with the wind getting colder, the club meeting ended.

So, what exactly is the point of the History Club?

It’s incredibly member-driven. The central focus is individual students sharing something in history that they are passionate about, and the discussion branches off that. They have tentative plans to do events like movie nights or guest speakers. The club also intends to have an ongoing look at Russia and Ukraine, to view current events “through a historical lens”. And while any period of history, obscure or broad, is fair game, Yi specifies that she doesn’t want the club to discuss the more controversial sides of modern history. She draws the line “if we can’t stop arguing,” or if the discussion centers around something that is “less than fact.”

If the discussion-oriented meeting style seems intimidating, be aware that there is no pressure on any members. Multiple people in the small group didn’t speak the entire time, simply listening and learning. Members have an opportunity to present on a time in history, but there is no pressure to do so.

Yi emphasized that the club was very low-commitment, with members attending as often or as little as they would like. Aside from volunteer presentations, no preparation is needed for club meetings, and desserts in meetings have been mentioned. To join the club’s Remind, contact Grace Yi or Mrs. Kurzendoerfer for a join code.

All in all, History Club’s second meeting has proven the dedication and resilience a common passion can create in people. Whether in a nation’s invasion or in a club’s determination to meet together, history continues to be made.