History Enthusiasts Form Agora Club


Juniors Sean Burchesky, Vandana Apte and Jungbin Lim lead Agora.

Aurora Hebner

Juniors Sean Burchesky, Vandana Apte and Jungbin Lim lead the Agora Club.

Global Studies, Animal Shelter Club, Peer Counseling— most of the students at Walpole High are unaware that these extracurricular activities even exist, but no club is more unknown than Agora. Agora is a Greek word meaning marketplace, a place in early Greek history where people would gather to listen to statements of the ruling king or council. Similarly, top-notch students of, but not limited to, the junior and senior class gather in Mr. Balkus’s room once a week to discuss historical and current events without a teacher present. It takes a lot of brain power to have a club run successfully by teenagers, as a club led by the average American teenager would accomplish nothing, but the brilliant minds of juniors Jungbin Lim, Vandana Apte and Sean Burchesky smoothly manage Agora.

Past Agora meetings have covered Gaddafi, Bin Laden, Fukushima and nuclear energy, the 2012 presidential election, the American Jobs Act, Israel, China and Taiwan, technology and life, and education in America. At Agora’s most recent meeting on Monday, January 23, Lim presented a Powerpoint titled “The Korean Peninsula,” which covered the history and current state of North and South Korea. While Lim demonstrated his teaching skills, fellow history enthusiasts actively asked him questions and took notes on the topic. Lim said, “It took me about five hours to research on the topic and another five or six hours to make the presentation.” Lim is essentially taking another history class that he does not receive grades for, which should be commended. Following the Powerpoint, Jungbin led a discussion about Korea where he posed questions such as, “What do you think will happen in North Korea?” for his peers to think and debate about.

While not having to worry about being graded or saying what their teachers want to hear, students in Agora are free to express their ideas, which is co-leader Lim’s favorite part about the club. Lim also said, “I believe the greatest benefit Agora provides is letting people hear what others think because when we read newspapers or books at home we do take in a lot of important information but we don’t get to hear what others might think on the same topic.” In terms of Agora basically being an extra history class, in observation, Agora seems to be more efficient as the students seem genuinely interested and anxious to participate. Lim expressed his thoughts on this topic; he said, “people in Agora tend to be more frank and honest in saying what they truly believe than they are in class because no one is watching and grading what and how much we say.”

Though without a doubt being one of the more unknown extracurricular activities at Walpole High, Agora should be applauded. The club is filled with educated students, all with something interesting to say, that WHS should listen to.