A Passion for Learning

New club works to help students academically


Hugh Hankenson (11), Sophie Phillips (12), Inyia Umachandran (11), Emma Stroupe (12) and Nicholas Lane (12) take photo during a club meeting for SBE.

Midway through this previous summer, Hugh Hankenson (11) began working on plans to start a club-Students for Better Education (SBE). His goal is to offer peer support to students through extracurricular learning and study opportunities. 


“I contacted some peers who wanted to enact similar positive changes,” Hankenson said. “We began working on finalizing my ideas and write-ups for a club application.”


The club’s goal is to make education easier for students by educating students about crucial events for college and other post high school plans. At meetings, they invite guest speakers and educators on a wide variety of topics.. They hope to enrich good academic habits and opportunities for all students. 


When Hankerson was building the foundation for the club he contracted Iniya Umachandran (11) to assist him in creating SBE, where she holds the position of secretary she is in charge of facilitating relations with the public through social media. 


 “I have always been interested in education reform so I realized SBE was a perfect starting point for that,” Umachandran said.   


There have been some challenges for Hankenson and Umachandran to navigate while running the club during the pandemic. The biggest challenges they face are getting the word out to others about the club, getting consistent attendance and adapting projects that create change without being in school.


The meeting begins with a brief check in over how everyone is doing with their school work. Then they move on to other topics such as college prep, handling stress and healthy study habits. 


They are currently working on their middle school tutoring program, which is a completely free service for the middle schoolers. It is also serving as a way for National Honors Society (NHS) students to receive hours. In the past, they’ve hosted faculty to hear students and their thoughts on online school.