FLIP Club creates place for freshmen

(L-R) Rebekah Richardson, Heather Garnett, Margaret Connolly, Hannah Davis, Anna Shepherd, Emmy Njaaga. (Reporter photo/Christine Boatwright)

 By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

HOOVER – Margaret Connolly wanted to create a safe place for freshmen entering high school. In connection with her quest for her Girl Scout Gold Award, she developed FLIP Club at Spain Park High School.

FLIP Club (Freshmen Leaders Improving and Progressing) is a bridge for service-minded eighth-graders as they find their new places as high school freshmen.

“I wanted to be in Peer Helping,” freshman Rebekah Richardson said of a club that mentors elementary school children, “and FLIP Club was a starting point.”

Connolly, 18, said the first year of FLIP Club has been “great.” She said there was nothing for freshmen to do, They get excited for TNT (Teens Need Teens), but they can’t join the club until they are sophomores.

“Some freshmen tend to get lost,” she said of incoming freshmen. “This eases the transition into high school.”

The members of FLIP Club pledge to be drug and alcohol free.

“It’s just worth it,” freshman Emmy Njaaga said. “It occupies my time better. I don’t want to waste my time doing something that won’t mean much.”

Freshman Anna Shepherd said joining the club and making the pledge helped her find friends who also avoided drugs and alcohol.

“When you make the pledge, you automatically don’t want to do it (drugs and alcohol),” she said.

Richardson said none of her friends are into drugs and alcohol, as her core group of friends are in FLIP Club with her.

Connolly, who is a senior, will pass the club leadership to junior Ellen Marsh.

“I’ve enjoyed the experience,” Connolly said. “It takes a lot of time with 58 kids in the group. The club is popular at the middle school, and I was excited to hear that kids were looking forward to joining FLIP Club when they got to high school.

“The club makes freshmen feel a part of Spain Park the second they come in,” she added. “They don’t have to be star athletes to find a place.”