Club Spotlight: FBLA, Coding, and Gift of Life


The Gift of Life Club meets virtually on Monday, November 9. (Photo Credit: Daniel Porotov)

Daniel Porotov

The interview transcripts in this article have been edited.

Our school is home to dozens of unique and exciting clubs. Many are partially, or even fully, student-run, and they are exceptional opportunities to learn a new skill and make new friends. The high school looks different this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but many clubs are still running. I wanted to see how clubs have continued to thrive despite the circumstances and spotlight a new club taking the stage.

Future Business Leaders of America
Coding Club
Gift of Life Club


Future Business Leaders of America

Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) is a longstanding club in the midst of a revival. Its outreach programs and competitive aspects interested me, so I interviewed Michelle Marti, the club secretary and treasurer, to find out more about the FBLA.

Who founded FBLA?

MM: This was an old club within the high school which was revived by Mrs. Siciliano when she began teaching around 6 years ago. It’s become most successful in the past 2 years in terms of membership and competitors.

What type of things do students do during regular meetings, and how has this been changed due to the pandemic?

MM: Students are trying to adapt to a Covid-19 environment and to find a social project they could do in spite of the current situation. In the past we used to “adopt families.” Around the holidays we’d try to give back to the community around us, donating and working on projects to benefit our surroundings. We are closely tied to the Foundation for Lower Moreland Schools, and the projects often intersect.

Are there any competitions or culminating events?

Competitions occur on a regional level in December. They include objective tests focusing on aspects like entrepreneurship and business ethics. Then, during the competition itself, you would generally be presenting along with a teammate on a set topic such as Website Design or Intro to Business.

What skills do students develop?

The biggest skills gained are work ethic and time management. A lot of FBLA work is asynchronous, and a lot of the preparation we do is done on our own time. To sit down after a busy day of school and put together a speech, or a graph, is something our members gain the discipline and dedication to do. You learn to work well with your peers, because having members from lots of different backgrounds brings people together. I have noticed that there’s lots of creativity with the ideas we come up with, and with today’s constraints we need to learn how to be resourceful and compromise to make sure our club outreach project is safe, and to make a unique idea that is still safe but appealing to, and beneficial to the public.

Coding Club

Coding Club is a fairly new, student-run club. Founded several years ago, this is a hands-on logic and math application extracurricular. The members work together on a project each quarter. This marking period, the coders are working through the challenge of constructing an algebraic calculator capable of solving for single variables, as well as quadratic, cubic, and quartic equations.

Through this club, students also participate in various hackathons throughout the year, which are events in which programmers are given a certain topic, prompt, or assignment, and a range of time to code their submission. Each of these activities encourages teamwork and collaboration between the members. If you are just starting coding, or interested in learning, don’t worry! This club combines several disciplines (Programming, Math, and Logic), and has a group that teaches the basics of programming in a variety of languages, such as Java and C++. I interviewed junior David Volchonok, current co-leader of the club (along with fellow junior John Tur and sophomore Varun Singh), to find out how the extracurricular looks this year, and how it is impacted by current conditions.

What do students do in a regular meeting?

DV: Short answer: Code. We split up into a few groups, typically tasked with different aspects of the project. You code whatever your section is working on, and there is generally also a group to help non-coders learn more about the basics of programming to gain the skills necessary to participate in the club.

What skills do students develop in the club?

DV: All students improve their coding, which helps with logical and analytical thinking. Coding has a lot of math, and this club definitely entails lots of working through problems and using math to solve each new roadblock.

Are there any culminating activities?

DV: We had plans to do a bunch of hackathons this year, but Covid shut those down. Now we’re just getting together and coding this quarter’s project, the algebraic calculator.

How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected normal club procedures?

DV: Slightly. Last year, we all met in-person and wrote out pseudocode on the board, similar to a pitch meeting. Now we have to do things virtually, which can be bothersome, and makes it harder to bounce ideas off of each other. However, I am glad that through the programs available to us we are able to collaborate on the project remotely.

Gift of Life Club

The newest club in the high school is the Gift of Life Club, started by juniors Ava Lee and Misha Bankulla. The purpose of this extracurricular is to inform its members about the scientific and legal processes behind organ donation, as well as its profound impact on human lives. Throughout the year, participants raise awareness through various fundraisers and events. I interviewed both founders to learn more about the club.

Where did you get the idea to start this club?

AL: It was around the time many of our friends were getting their drivers’ permits. I remember thinking about organ donation and asking my dad, who has been in the organ transplant field for over 20 years (pulmonologist), about it, and realizing how little I knew about it. I realized that lots of people our age don’t know a lot, or at all, about organ donation, and I figured that starting a club about the Gift Of Life program would help spread more awareness through kids our age.

МB: It was a good idea because lots of people in high school are getting either their permits or their licenses, and, as Ava said, it is a relevant topic to learn about and understand.

What kinds of things do students learn about and do during meetings?

AL: Students learn about how to register as an organ donor in the future, learn about the Gift of Life Family House, located in Philadelphia, which we are working with to perhaps do a baking program, or coordinate a Wish List drive. In a non-Covid year we would try to receive permission to bring club members down to the house to cater or bake for the transplant recipients and their families, to help ease that transition during their tumultuous times.

MB: There are some things about organ donation which many people do not know. Therefore, through this club we will educate our fellow students about transplantation basics, as well as provide information. We don’t know everything about the science of it ourselves, and this club will be a learning process for us and our peers.

How will fundraisers take place?
MB: We will raise materials that the Gift of Life House needs, basics like canned foods, detergents, towels, etc. Through establishing a wish list drive we plan to collect basic necessities.

AL: We are planning to send down baked goods, but with the issues and precautions surrounding COVID this is all still in the planning stage. We hope to get more of the NHS members involved, and to be able to work in coordination with them for service projects.


Interested in any of these clubs? By taking a closer look at the activities offered at LMHS, you can get a glimpse of the wide range of disciplines that students can explore, and the importance of these extracurriculars to the community around us. Many clubs are still open to newcomers, and I encourage everyone to pursue their interests and learn something new through one of the many clubs offered at our school.