Pottery, Yoga and Self Care clubs teach students life skills


For the 2022-2023 school year, LSE is offering 36 club options to students. Some students may not know about or possibly have never even heard of many of these clubs. Clubs are here to benefit students within and outside of academics. Three of these clubs are the Empty Bowls Pottery Club, Knight Yoga Club and Self Care Club. 

The Empty Bowls Pottery Club, which is sponsored by LSE Art teacher Dan Ruth, makes an impact beyond the school walls. Empty Bowls is a global grassroots organization in which potters and artists around the world donate the money made from selling their pottery to local charities that feed the hungry. Ruth was at a National Council on Education for Ceramics Art (NCECA) conference when he saw a presentation about the Empty Bowls Club. He was enticed by the idea because it aligned with his view of the world and emphasized the importance of service.

“This world is bigger than you. You need to be giving back more than you take,” Ruth said. 

The pottery made by students in the club is sold at LSE art shows for $15 apiece. Not only do the club’s attendees show up once a month during LSE’s scheduled club day, but also every Thursday after school to continue working on their bowls. Some of the skills that are learned and practiced in the club include commitment, due to the time the projects take, patience while working with clay and discipline when figuring out how to work the pottery wheel.

“It teaches you perseverance because throwing on the wheel is about failing, failing again and failing better the next time,” Ruth said.

Sophomore Lauren Maw is taking Ruth’s Pottery One class this school year and decided to join the Empty Bowls club. She previously had some experience with pottery but continues to advance her pottery skills through the club. The Empty Bowls Club is a way for students to both connect with peers and express themselves creatively. 

“It’s a good way to connect with people and a really good way to spend your time,” Maw said. 

What makes Empty Bowls Club different from many other clubs is its aspect of service. Students need to know that they can make a difference in their school and their community, and this club is one way to fulfill that. 

LSE FCS teacher and Knight Yoga Club sponsor Julie Wilcox wants students to know that participating in yoga is extremely beneficial for young people, especially athletes. 

“[Doing yoga] will save your joints. It’s so good for so many body systems if you start young and stick with it,” Wilcox said. 

During a typical club period, Wilcox teaches students some fundamental concepts of yoga, as well as breathing techniques. She puts out yoga mats and plays some quiet music in an attempt to build a relaxing setting. This is the first school year that Wilcox has sponsored the club, but she has actively participated in yoga for the past 13 years. 

She began doing yoga as an adult and wishes she had discovered yoga sooner, so she hopes to introduce yoga to some of LSE’s teenagers. Increased strength and an improved mental state are only a few of the many benefits that Wilcox has found through learning to use breathwork, forcefully slow heart rate and loosen up muscles.

“My mental clarity is so good at the end [of the yoga session],” Wilcox said. 

The repeating cycle of school and responsibilities can pile up stress for students. Knight Yoga Club provides a chance for students to take a break from their packed schedules to connect with those around them and better themselves physically and mentally.

“It’s a little stress reliever, a little relaxation in the middle of the day,” Wilcox said.

Senior Vaughn Bausch joined the Knight Yoga Club this school year to improve his flexibility. A couple of his friends participate in the club, which enticed him to join the club as well. His favorite part is taking time to stretch his muscles, as well as being able to feel relaxed during the stressful school day. 

“The benefits of the club I would say are being able to meet new people while also having fun and doing something you all enjoy,” Bausch said.

Self Care Club is all about being intentional with time and finding strategies to manage stress. The club’s sponsor, English teacher Kim Anthony, began sponsoring the club five years ago. However, last school year she was approached by current senior Aida Burks with a request to help run the club. Anthony had been contemplating dropping the club in an attempt to reduce her stress levels, so Burks’ takeover seemed to be perfect timing. 

Sophomore Willa Gardner joined the club during her freshman year but jumped into the role of co-creator alongside Burks just this year. 

“I think [self-care] is important because it allows you to discover yourself more and gives you time to relax, because high school is really stressful,” Gardner said. 

Both Anthony and Gardner hope for the club to become something bigger in the future and maybe even become a class option for students. Self-care is especially crucial for teenagers with the weight put on their shoulders to maintain academics, athletics, extracurriculars, social life and a healthy lifestyle. On top of all these responsibilities, social media creates extreme pressure for students nowadays. These management skills need to be taught in a school setting because many students lack the support at home to get help for mental health or can’t afford the mental health treatment they require.

“I know kids are struggling and I know they need to take some time to find some strategies. I think so many kids self-medicate through different behaviors that are not healthy for them,” Anthony said.

The club’s activities include meditation, discussions about stress-management and a positive affirmation setting. One of Gardner’s favorite parts of the club is being able to do short activities with the group that help them practice self-care. Although there are numerous ways for students to practice self-care, which can be learned about in the club, Gardner chooses to practice self-care by making time for herself and through dance. 

“It’s a separate thing from my school and my work that I can enjoy,” Gardner said.