If you do not learn your history, you are likely to repeat it. Such is the mantra for the History Club at Jackson High School.
Elias Abboud, Ishani Tripathy, Faheem Ali and Mitchell Dillon founded the club in 2015. It meets the first Wednesday of each month after school, and those meetings, which draws an average of 60 members, often celebrates historical observances.
"We decorated the school for Black History Month," said Abboud. "In March, we will be decorating the school for Women’s History Month. We really try to engage the whole school."
Usually lasting about ninety minutes, the meetings also include a movie or a documentary or trivia.
"We have had fantastic support from our members," said Dillon. "Most of the clubs at Jackson have a few members, perhaps a couple dozen at best, but the student body has truly taken a liking to what we are doing. The administration has been extremely supportive as well. They trust with us with a lot of responsibilities. In fact, we played a fundamental role in planning Veterans Day."
Tripathy said, "Our events are really exciting and we offer a broad range of activities. As a result, we seem to be a little more popular than most other clubs."
Last month, the history club took on a fundraising project. In commemoration of the founding of the United Nations, the group sold raffle tickets to raise money for the United Nation's High Commissioner for Refugees to alleviate the worsening plight of refugees abroad.
"All of us are politically active and spend a great amount of time discussing world affairs on Jackson’s Speech and Debate team," said Abboud. "In recent months, the refugee crisis has been a topic that just kept popping up. Soon enough, we got tired of all the talk with so little action and we decided to lend our support. In the end, we managed to raise about $1,200."
The group’s goal was to raise $1,000.
"Each member was responsible for selling tickets," said Dillon. "During lunch, for two weeks, we sold tickets as well. Each ticket was sold for $4. We sold about 300 tickets. Once the tickets were sold, we got together. The directors drew the winner out of a hat. The winners each won one of four prizes: cutouts of the former presidential candidates, two $100 gift cards, and an Ohio State football raffle basket. Given the outstanding reception we received, we will likely try to extend our help to another cause next year."
The Jackson student body is 2,000 students strong and the history club reaches approximately one-sixth of the school. However, none of the success would have been possible without the support of its sponsors, which include Mercy Medical Center, Danny Boys, Quaker Steak and Lube, Smoothie King, Chick-fil-a, Wendy's, Sluggers and Putters, Dog Daze and Texas Roadhouse.
The club's advisor is teacher Daniel Taray.
"He is exceptionally involved with our group and has helped us every step of the way," Abboud said. "He has a plethora of essential experience and is an integral part of this club. This idea would have never gotten off the ground if it weren’t for him."
The group said that the international refugee crisis is a pressing issue regardless of what political side you are on. Group members said whether they reside here or in foreign countries, refugees need help. They agreed that we cannot claim to be a global power if the U.S. does not actively lend support around the globe.
"Our club makes a special effort to be non-partisan," said Ali. "We try to educate the student body and help solve problems. You do not even have to have extensive knowledge of history to be in the club nor do you have to be solely interested in American history. We look at the history of technology, art and highlight basically any field. History is essential part of everything."
The group’s next meeting will feature a CNN documentary on the founding of the internet during the 1980s. The group said they will also read the Presidential Proclamation for Pearl Harbor in remembrance of that event.