FHC’s P.A.C.E Club provides opportunities for students to learn about current events, themselves, and others


Morgan Beckett

A photo of some of the current members in P.A.C.E. club, including Jiya Patel and Nora Blok.

In the midst of midterm elections, junior Nora Blok and the rest of FHC’s P.A.C.E Club were deciding the fate of Michigan’s government. 

FHC’s P.A.C.E (Politics and Current Events) Club, run by juniors Eva Harshman and Saniya Mishra, is a space for FHC students to respectfully converse about politics and other current events. Meeting every Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., the club has a lot of opportunities to debate and grow their understanding of the world around them. 

“During the midterm elections,” Nora said, “we took candidates and then took a non-biased approach describing what the candidates plan on doing. And then, we [also explained] the background of the candidates. So, that was cool.”

Activities such as these are the unique opportunities that make Nora so passionate about the P.A.C.E Club. She has a lot of gratitude for the space to debate and learn that this club has given her. 

Nora has been interested in debate and current events for a while, so being presented with the concept of P.A.C.E was really intriguing for her. Almost immediately after the club’s inception, Nora was a resident member. 

“I was interested in joining clubs,” Nora said, “because I wasn’t doing much [some days] after school. I was interested in joining Debate Club, and [P.A.C.E Club] is similar, but requires less [commitment]. You don’t have to go to long debates, so I [thought], ‘that sounds perfect for me.’”

Joining the club is a decision that Nora holds no regret for. The club has been growing and expanding since it started, and Nora has appreciated watching the process happen.

During meetings, she feels heard, but she also appreciates listening to the thoughts and opinions of others. Learning about the current events and politics that impact Nora is an incredible opportunity in itself, but learning about those around her is just as interesting. 

“It’s nice to talk to people,” Nora said. “It’s like school, but it’s not homework or assignments. It’s being able to talk to people about things and topics that you feel strongly about, and [that’s] something I enjoy about [the club].”

Although the appeal of debate and learning is what drew Nora into the club, the people around her are what encouraged her to stay. 

The people within the club are very important in fostering a positive learning environment, and junior Jiya Patel couldn’t agree more that this has been her experience.

“I wasn’t very active politically or keeping up with current events,” Jiya said, “so I thought it was a good opportunity for me to learn new information every week. I’ve been learning a lot already, so I think it was a good decision.”

I wasn’t very active politically or keeping up with current events, so I thought it was a good opportunity for me to learn new information every week. I’ve been learning a lot already, so I think it was a good decision.

— Jiya Patel

When joining the club, Jiya knew she would be surrounded by equally open-minded individuals, and as the meetings progressed, she was proven right time and time again. The structure of their meetings has allowed a lot of conversations to be had and connections to be made; every unique activity proves to be worthwhile for Jiya. 

“[During] one of the [first] meetings,” Jiya said, “we did speed rounds where we each had a minute or two to talk about a particular topic and [explain] why we had that standpoint. Then, we would go around the circle and add on to that information. That [was interesting].”

The meetings always prove to help members learn more about different perspectives and about the world in general. No matter what topic is being discussed, a respectful and supportive environment can be expected. 

The real-world nature of the club and all that it discusses can be a somewhat intimidating factor, however, this is the main reason that P.A.C.E Club advisor Morgan Beckett found herself involved. 

“I decided to become the advisor,” Beckett said, “because I’m a big proponent of what you learn in school should be applied to what’s happening outside of school. So, because the club is based on real-world events that will impact you when you leave high school, that’s why I decided I [to] advise it.”

As the advisor, Beckett has seen the respectful debate and learning that goes on during P.A.C.E club meetings firsthand. Her role is to oversee discussions and facilitate them if they get out of hand, but that is almost never necessary. 

With students getting the opportunity to explore topics they’ve selected, and proving time and time again, they have the means to courteously discuss sensitive topics, and the future of the club is exciting. As the year progresses, so do the ideas and prospects for the P.A.C.E Club.

“We’re still trying to evolve,” Beckett said. “But, what I would like to see happen in P.A.C.E. Club is us going out into the community, or even discuss certain policies in our high school, and [explore] things that they can actively do to [create] change.”

The future is bright for the P.A.C.E club. With help from Beckett and its student leaders, excellent things are on the way. 

The factor that contributes most to the future and success of the club is the students that make up the club’s members, and the willingness of these students to learn and grow together. All students are welcome to join the club and experience the opportunity to discuss with peers. 

“It’s a nice community,” Beckett said. “I bring candy. And, if you’ve never tried debate, it’s so small and intimate that you can [comfortably] learn about opposing perspectives which always helps you understand the world better. And also, because the people are kind in this club, if you want to try your hand at expressing your opinions, this is the place to start.”