Welcoming Scituate High’s Newest Addition: The Red Cross Club


Ellie Snow and Ainsley Hayes

With the new year bringing expected changes, Scituate High School was met with its own, as the Red Cross Club became the latest addition to the vast array of SHS extra-curricular activities. This club, focused on contributing to the disaster relief and biomedical services of communities worldwide, was founded in early January by SHS juniors Elena Ponichtera and Sofia Marshall.

The Red Cross Club, though new to SHS, is already sparking the interest of many students and faculty members within its first weeks. In the first two meetings alone, 50 SHS students were in attendance, and the club is sure to grow even larger in the coming weeks as awareness grows.

When discussing the founding of the club, Marshall noted how “so far, there are no healthcare-related clubs at the high school,” which can, for the most part, explain the incredible turnout the group received in its first meetings. Though Ponichtera initially came up with the idea for the club, both founders agree it was their passion for community service and interests in healthcare that really set the idea in motion. Ponichtera explained that she and Marshall were looking to start a club where they could envision their “actions making an impact in Scituate as well as worldwide.”

With an obviously modified school year, Ponichtera shared the club’s plans for the remainder of the year: “Normally the club would have four major projects, but this year only two will be possible.” This year’s projects will address both disaster relief and public health, with their first project focused on collecting funds for the Red Cross initiative, “Vaccinate a Village.” Their second project focuses on spreading awareness and educating others on safety protocols and preparedness for natural disasters, which, as Marshall pointed out, “are no stranger to us in a coastal community.”

The club’s rapid growth could largely be attributed to the unique opportunities it offers students at SHS. Marshall explained how the Red Cross Club is going to “provide students the opportunity to give back on a global scale, as all of the efforts and work anyone puts into this club is lifesaving.” Ponichtera hopes to see the club provide a sense of urgency and motivation for students to take action in world crises, as “the Red Cross can make a lot of changes on a local level in Scituate, as well as on an international level.”

Unique to many of SHS’s clubs, the Red Cross Club also cultivates a lifetime impact for all its members: students who join this club become recognized as Red Cross volunteers for the rest of their lives. As Marshall puts it, members enjoy a “lifetime connection” to the organization and its morals.

Though the ambition of Ponichtera and Marshall is a great credit to the club’s success, one cannot summarize the Red Cross Club without recognizing the efforts of the club’s faculty advisor, SHS science teacher Jennifer Last. Recognizing the club’s vast influence early on, Last aspired to have “the greatest reach to the student body to promote the club, and really create interest in it,” mainly due to her expertise in science-related fields. As an anatomy and biology teacher, Last addressed how involvement in extracurriculars connected to humanitarian efforts teaches students the profound impact small acts of kindness can hold. Last believes the main source of these positive influences will come from spreading awareness. She cited “students becoming aware of not only concerns in the Scituate community but of concerns worldwide” as a major turning point for the level of activism in our community.

With the passionate and determined efforts of the co-founders and guiding support of the club’s advisor, it seems the Red Cross Club is sure to make SHS a more open-minded and philanthropic community. At the very least, the club’s founding can serve as a reminder to others that they hold the power and potential to create change in both their local and global communities. With the exhaustion and hopelessness felt worldwide from COVID-19’s ever-present impacts, small community actions, like the founding of the SHS Red Cross Club, are the moments of inspiration needed now more than ever.