Clubs & Organizations
Commonwealth has a long tradition of student-run clubs and teams. They always enrich the atmosphere of social and community engagement at the school; occasionally they effect more substantial change in how the school operates. The organizations listed below are among the longer-lasting; students often organize new clubs to suit their interests.
- Diversity Committee
- Model Congress
- Model United Nations
- Environmental Club
- Commonwealth Cares
- Math Team
- Robotics Team
- Debate Team
- Science Team
- Lit Mag
- Chess Club
- Gender-Sexuality Alliance
Diversity Committee brings together a group of students and teachers who meet to talk about identity, difference, and current events. Discussions and presentations at weekly meetings draw on students' own experiences, cultures, races, and backgrounds. Diversity Committee helps to create a community at Commonwealth that is open to dialogue on such issues as social justice, race, gender, and sexuality.
Members of the Diversity Committee attend the national Student Diversity Leadership Conference and the local AISNE Color Conference.
The committee also organizes and oversees school events, including Diversity Day, during which student-facilitated workshops and activities replace regular classes.
The Model Congress club sends about 15 students to Harvard's Model Congress Conference each February. During meetings, student leaders teach about Parliamentary procedure and the art of writing laws as they prepare to impersonate a member of Congress, take part in Supreme Court simulations, or engage in an historical re-enactment.
Founded in 2003, Commonwealth’s Model UN Club has grown steadily: about forty students, including five club officers, now participate. Through lunch meetings, students prepare themselves to represent their assigned countries in committees that address a range of international issues. This year, we are attending MIT Model United Nations Conference, Boston College High School Model United Nations, and Concord Academy Model United Nations. Over the years, Commonwealth students have won many awards at these conferences, including Best Delegate, Outstanding Delegate (second place on the committee), and Best Position Paper.
Commonwealth Cares is a student-led group of students in all grades who work together to offer interesting and meaningful community service opportunities to their peers. The aim is to provide a range of opportunities such that every student finds something he or she would like to participate in. In recent years, service opportunities have included preparing a monthly dinner at the Pine Street Inn Women's House in Dorchester; supermarket drives for Our Place; blood drives through the American Red Cross; refurbishing computers at the World Computer Exchange; volunteering with the Prison Book Program in Quincy; tutoring and other projects at Blackstone Community Center; working with children at the East Boston YMCA; learning to lead CPR training with the American Heart Association and many more.
Many members of the Math Team participate in competitions, where the topics discussed at our meetings frequently appear. We participate in the following competitions:
- Massachusetts Math Olympiad, a 90 minute exam with 25 questions, administered at schools across the state
- New England Math League, a series of six tests over six months, with six questions per 30-minute session
- The American Mathematics Competition series, which starts with a 75-minute exam with 25 questions, potentially leading to a three-hour exam with 15 questions, potentially leading to a nine-hour exam with six questions, and beyond
- Purple Comet, a team contest in which six people do 30 problems in 90 minutes with math and programming
- The Harvard MIT Math Tournament, an international competition with several rounds
- Greater Boston Math League, five-person team contests that happen once a month for 5 months in which top-scoring teams then qualify for larger contests
- The Mandelbrot Competition, held in a series of five rounds spread throughout the school year, with 7 problems in each 40-minute round
The Robotics Team is a venue for students to explore computer science, engineering, and applied physics through hands-on activities with electrical and mechanical systems. Students of all grades and experience levels are welcome and can participate in various ways.
Students can learn about standard microcontrollers with open-source programming and explore various topics including mechanics, electric circuits, and computer programming. The Robotics team has also participated in the inter-school VEX Robotics competition. The focus here is on a larger-scale robot that must perform per-determined functions with a given set of components. In both cases, students work as a team to design and build their ideas from scratch.
Debate meets weekly to practice for conferences held by the Debate Association of New England Independent Schools, DANEIS, and hosted at schools in the Boston area; we attend five or six each year. Commonwealth's team participates in Parliamentary Extemporaneous debates, which are unrehearsed and done in teams of two. Most often, resolutions are in the form of a policy to be implemented by the US Congress. One two-person team defends the proposition, while a second team (representing the "opposition") attempts to refute the "government's" position. The debated propositions can range from the serious ("The US Federal government should cut off all funding for theoretical mathematics") to the goofy ("Superheroes should enjoy free healthcare benefits") to the goofily historical ("Be it resolved that Athens kicked more butt than Sparta.") Commonwealth also participates in other forms of debate (Interpretive, Impromptu, Public Speaking), and occasionally in informal scrimmages with other teams in the Boston area.
The club has nearly twenty members, of whom as many as a dozen go to each conference. Each Thursday, we conduct one full-length practice debate, and our officers work with our debate coach to provide constructive feedback to help students improve their argument formation and public speaking.
Commonwealth's annual yearbook is put together by a small but dedicated staff headed by an editor, a senior who, most often, was the previous year's assistant editor.
Commonwealth's yearbook differs from larger schools' in several ways. Though every student receives a yearbook, each senior has a full page, and creativity is encouraged. The book itself preserves the fun, offbeat feel of the School itself, rather than hewing to a predetermined format.