The Leo Club Begins Again


By Eunho Jung, Assistant Junior Editor

The 2020-21 school year definitely had an interesting start due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As teachers and students found their stride with the new circumstances, clubs at Wayne Hills have also found a way to adapt to the virtual nature. Given that almost all clubs met in-person after school in previous years, Google Meets and Zooms have found a way to supplement meetings. For instance, the Leo Club has managed to start their meetings and plan for this school year. 

The Leo Club is a youth organization of Lions Club International. LEO stands for: Leadership, Experience, and Opportunity. The Wayne Hills Leo Club is dedicated to community service around the Passaic County area. 

In past years, the Leo Club would raise money and attend fundraising walks for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. They would also visit Camp Marcella, a residential summer campground designed specifically for children and teens with blindness, and help clean up the camp. Leo Club would also celebrate the winter holidays with employees at Foundation for the Handicapped in Wayne, which provides long-term employment for developmentally disabled adults. Bringing cards, cookies, and treats, they would form close connections with those at the Foundation. Furthermore, the Leo Club has volunteered at Laurelwood Arboretum right in Wayne. They have rebuilt a new rock wall and planted the Fairy Garden. 

Given the guidelines and restrictions due to COVID-19, the club has managed to find a different focus for this school year. Leo Club will focus on a female empowerment organization: Girl Rising. This global campaign advocates for girls’ education and empowerment. Their goal is to ensure that girls around the world are educated and empowered. 

Lydia Yang, president of Wayne Hills Leo Club, shared her sentiments, “It’s hard that incoming freshmen and underclassmen in general won’t be getting the whole Leo Club experience,” she expressed, “Even with the physical barriers we have, Leo Club is still working to make a difference in the community no matter how big or small, and that’s what it’s ultimately about.” 

Membership Officer Cassandra Witten also shared her thoughts on the new circumstances, “I think that the virtual nature is hard for all clubs but especially for a community service club such as Leo club. The members are truly doing a great job, especially with such amazing leaders; Lydia Yang and Mrs. Fishman.” 

Leo Club held their first meeting on Tuesday December 22nd. During the virtual meeting, the club watched a short clip of girls around the world sharing their stories and their struggles. They also got to meet the officers of their club and their advisor Mrs. Fishman. 

On a heavier note, the Wayne Schools community lost a very special member on December 17th. Former Wayne Hills Science teacher and Leo Club adviser, Mr. Ruffini shared his love of community service with those around him. Mr. Ruffini started both Leo Clubs at Wayne Hills and Wayne Valley that are still running today. Leo Club members wrote letters and notes of appreciation for his family for the holiday season. He was an incredible teacher and will be very missed by many. 

For those that wish to join the club, use the Google Classroom code: 2bqj5xl. For any further information, reach out to Mrs. Fishman at [email protected].