The Space Aims to Do ‘What School Couldn’t’

Seniors start club for discussion between students.

Katie Bogdanovich, Source Editor

Senior James Kim surveyed the people gathered for a meeting of The Space on Thursday, Sept. 22. He uncapped an Expo marker and drew three circles on the whiteboard, each one representing a discussion group.

“We use small group conversations to foster communication, but what people will end up talking about I would say is mostly up to them,” Kim said. “Maybe you have something interesting to share, like the history of clown colleges- yes, they’re real- or a question you want to hear other voices respond to, or an idea you want some feedback on.”

Kim took a step and drew an arrow to a larger circle. Eventually, he explains, the club would all come together in one big discussion.

“We’re not gonna put you up against a wall until you talk or something,” Kim said. “We start the meetings with an image or questions, and then we split up into small groups to come up with a response to it, whether that be a connection you see in something you read or just a personal experience.”

Moderators are the sole form of leadership in the club. They try to draw connections between the ideas and topics covered during the meeting. No subjects are restricted so long as the speaker is respectful, and digression is considered a good thing. Students can show up with any topic they want to talk about or simply sit in on conversations.

“I think it can serve a purpose unique to everyone,” Kim said. “I’d like others to consider how interesting the world is. For me, it’s a way to express my curiosities, gain knowledge from my peers and break away from the stress of formal learning. A lot of my aversion to studying came from the stigma attached to straight up academics at THS.”

Senior Gustavo D’Mello is also involved with The Space.

“I go to The Space because I just love everything about it,” D’Mello said. “You just go there and talk, and I’ve always liked talking, but it’s talking with a purpose. The purpose of The Space is for curious people to discuss ideas and learn more about life by just communicating with one another. Even if you’re shy and you don’t like to talk, you can just go and listen to what others are talking about and learn that way.”

Kim started the The Space with senior Shreya Subramanian.

“I’ve always really enjoyed learning through discussion, so this was very in line with that,” Subramanian said. “Something that’s cool about this is there’s hardly any structure and there’s a lot of freedom to bring ideas to the table that you are interested in. If there’s a topic you want to discuss you can just show up with it. There’s no rules.”

Subramanian helped Kim name the club.

“We were basically describing the space of the club in a bunch of different ways,” she said. “We just decided to go with The Space as a name because it’s so simple and it’s very ambiguous and it kind of parallels how the club itself, lacking structure, is very ambiguous.”

Math teacher Sharon Douglas-Chong advises The Space. D’Mello is a discussion moderator, tasked with keeping the conversation moving forward fluidly while also trying to include different people in the dialogue.

“It’s just a place where people can go and not only relax but learn more about current events, culture and science, anything,” D’Mello said. “It’s kind of like what school couldn’t do, what they couldn’t pull off, if that makes sense. I want to learn about other people’s interests and adopt them and make them mine. It’s pretty cool that way.”

Meetings of The Space are held on Thursdays after school in room 130.