Creativity flourishes within Meraki


Leah Desserich

Outstanding Artworks: Promoting a positive mindset, one of Meraki club’s murals found in English teacher Katie Hoover’s classroom includes bright colors and entrancing illustrations.

Sofia Cole and Alexandra Zachary

As the school empties for the evening, juniors Sydney Kim and Jamie Hong, co-presidents of their newly founded club Meraki, gather members to transform perfectly average classrooms into something magical. With ideas being tossed around, piles of construction paper and craft supplies splayed across the floor, and laughter overflowing into the desolate halls, the students of the club utilize their own creativity to leave a legacy at South through unique works of art.

Meraki has completed multiple projects, from the fall play posters to murals of Chicago’s skyscrapers made of construction paper, all with the mission of contributing to their community and making South feel more welcoming, Kim said. They work with teachers who want a piece of artwork to make their classroom a better environment for students. English teacher Katie Hoover was the first to request a project. She hoped it would correlate with the practice of her students setting their intentions at the beginning of every class, she explained.

“The project illustrates the talent and creativity of the students in the club,” Hoover said. “It sends a positive [message] about how students can direct their own education.”

At Meraki’s first meeting, the co-presidents were unsure if anyone would show up, Hong explained. She expressed her gratitude when she realized that people were willing to participate in the club she had been planning since her freshman year.

“My favorite memory so far was the first work night we had, because [Kim] and I were [worried about] who was going to show up,” Hong said. “But we had so much fun. We played music, had doughnuts, and combined all of our ideas to create a really cool project. It was such a cool experience to see that people actually cared about our club.”

Club sponsor Diane Dillion was excited to see what the club would accomplish. She said that supporting Hong and Kim, her former students, was important to her. To Dillon, being a club sponsor means helping the students enjoy themselves and aiding them however she can.

“Everyone is having so much fun [and] their work is amazing,” Dillon said. “I wanted to support them.”

Kim believes Meraki differentiates from other clubs at South by providing students with the oppurtunity to contribute their own ideas into a project. Club members participate in the creation of important and lasting works of art within the walls of the school.                       

“One of the promising things about Meraki is that it allows you to leave a legacy at the place where you learn and grow,” Kim said. “Students put their creativity and passion into something for the school and other people.”