Step into the wild with Cleveland’s new wilderness club


Brandon Trujillo

Wilderness and Drama club advisor Robert Gandy.

Elliott Hernandez Sebastian, Staff Reporter

Cleveland is adding two new after school activities – a drama club and a wilderness group – both led by Robert Gandy. The freshman Humanities teacher revealed he wanted to add more options for physical activity in a school where many after school programs are overshadowed by sports.

“We live in a part of the country where there’s amazing wilderness, and mountains, and forests, and oceans,” said Gandy. “I wanted to help students get out and explore that wilderness.”

Gandy asserts the wilderness trips will be for everyone, no matter their experience level, and a free breakfast and lunch will be provided.

“When we do hikes, we usually pick hikes that are okay for beginners,” Gandy said. “We will usually have a fast group, and a group that takes it easy.”

Gandy also said the trips will vary in the type of activity as much as they will in the level of difficulty.

“Not every trip is a hiking trip. Some trips are canoeing trips, or biking or snowshoeing,” he said.

Even though this new outdoors club is just getting started, the program may be familiar to students who attended Mercer Middle School, which is also a part of the Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO) program. The group has been working to serve inner-city youth in Seattle for over 25 years by taking them on various outdoors adventures.

“Hopefully, students will feel like even if they can’t go on every trip, there is still something that sounds fun for them,” Gandy said.

The Drama Club will offer students the opportunity to act and become involved in theater productions.

“We don’t have any kind of general drama elective,” said Gandy. Even though Cleveland already has a  Young Shakespeare class, Gandy claimed that his club would have a lot of differences for students who don’t connect with Shakespeare. This program will also be a year-long club compared to a semester class. It will feature more modern scripts and plays, and students will even be able to help choose the plays acted out.

“They’re gonna have a voice and they’re gonna have choice,” Gandy said. He also confirmed that this program won’t just be for actors, but also for people interested in watching plays, or even the more technical aspects of theater.

“There will be opportunities for students to run lights and be back stage. It’s open to anyone who wants to be around the theaters.”

Gandy said students can also be in the club if they simply want to watch. He also said students could see any show in the city for $5.00, from plays and musicals, to operas and dance.

Any student hoping to be an actor, will have their work cut out for them. Gandy claimed it would be a competitive environment.

“For students who want to perform, they’ll have to work hard, be committed … daily rehearsals and practice,” he said. “They will have to audition for parts, so it will be a little bit competitive.”

The drama club already has caught the attention of some students in the school. Junior Max Basom, who has a fair amount of experience in drama, supported the program for offering, “a more cohesive, face value” experience than the Shakespeare class, where much of it is spent dissecting the playwright’s text.

Freshman Sakura Phan praised the drama club concept for its freedom.

“People are able to express themselves in ways that feel less personal to them when they do a character.”

The first drama club meeting will take place Tuesday, Oct. 17, from 3:45-4:30 p.m. in Gandy’s room. For more information you can contact him at his school email, [email protected], or swing by Room 1335 and introduce yourself.