The most impressive thing about my senior year of high school was my stint as kanzler of the German Club, better even than my strong finish in the Great Hallways Race of 1974 when, wearing long underwear and a crude cape, I ran straight into the waiting arms of an unsmiling vice principal.
Under my leadership, our small group of misfits met monthly to discuss international affairs in mangled German. We sampled wursts on campus and the occasional unsanctioned off-campus bier. We went door to door at Christmastime singing “Stille Nacht” and “O Tannenbaum” to no-doubt confused and possibly horrified homeowners.
To commemorate the dawn of a new school year, Orange Coast dispatched associate editor Astgik Khatchatryan to find out if those odd, often awkward teenage tribes still exist in this age of electronica and social media. And we’re pleased to report in “Members Only” that those special-interest clubs are thriving in high schools all over O.C., including a ukulele club in Fullerton, a robotics club in Huntington Beach, and a parkour club in Santa Ana.
There’s something reassuring about that. Older and presumably wiser now, I know those groups represent more than just a picture in a yearbook. They’re snapshots of tomorrow’s leaders at life’s most formative stage as they grope for identity among like-minded souls. We’ve all been there. “Hey,” my fellow German Club carolers gently crooned to me, “maybe you’re not so weird after all.”