Zebra Tales
Yuen Ning '21

A Festive Fall

After the bell had rung, signaling my last class on Saturday, I rushed towards the art center and started searching for materials to make a poster for the Film Club’s table at Fall Jam. I had a clear image in mind of an eye-catching, oversized clapboard as the poster; I cut, measured, and painted as I glanced up at the ticking clock every couple of minutes. The Fall Jam tables were already neatly aligned in two rows along the paths outside the Dining Hall, waiting to be covered by vibrant decorations the club heads were so eagerly preparing. The sun glistened with warmth, complementing the tree leaves that had begun to fade into shades of crimson and amber — it was the perfect afternoon to be out on the Circle after a morning of classes and afternoon activities.
By the time I finished my poster and grabbed my laptop, it was only half an hour before the beginning of Fall Jam. My fellow Film Club heads – Luke and Tai – met me at our table, and we arranged the sign-up sheets and poster. Our laptops screened the film projects we had done from the past year: FSA short films, theater production trailers, video class projects, and more. I looked around us, only realizing the bare rows of tables I saw earlier were already filled with goodies earnestly calling out to students walking past them. Behind our table on the Circle were numerous bouncy castles, jiggling as students pounced on them in jubilance. A thought came across my mind — that merely a few bouncy castles, even to high school students, could bring so much joy. The smell of the cookout by the Dining Hall wafted through the air, and I returned to my table after grabbing a plate of food.

As we ate, Tai, Luke, and I enthusiastically spoke to students about the activities Film Club would do and encouraged them to sign up. Some eagerly scribbled down their names, while others did with a little more hesitation. It is easy to forget the number of unique and engaging clubs there are at Groton and how difficult it is to resist signing up for every cool club you come across. But I could totally understand the mixed feelings of hesitation and excitement that the new Second and Third Formers felt as the passionate Upper School club heads fervently tried to recruit them.

Now as a junior and one of the Film Club heads, I was just as excited about having students join our club. But looking back to my Third Form year, I would have never thought of becoming one of those eager Upper Schoolers trying to win over every student passing by their table. I still remember the first Fall Jam I attended in Third Form fall: I was in the midst of adjusting to a school located halfway around the world from my home, and I was amazed by how the club heads could so confidently engage with and welcome new students to join their clubs. Just as the Film Club was passed down to us by seniors who graduated last year, I am excited to see the flourishing of the new Lower Schoolers, and the leadership roles they take on in the near future.