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Upper School Clubs & Activities

Upper School students have numerous opportunities to pursue their interests outside of the classroom. The school offers activities in the arts, student government, student-led publications and affinity groups to name but a few. There is dedicated time in the Upper School schedule for these groups to meet.


  • Asian Politics and Culture (APAC) is a forum for students of all backgrounds to discuss politics and culture across Asia as they relate to current events. We examine pieces of media from various Western and Asian sources to discover the political climates of a wide range of Asian countries, as well as explore issues that affect Asians in the US. We will also look at the role culture plays in creating sociopolitical environments through commemorating significant occasions, educating ourselves about and sometimes partaking in traditions, and working to connect with and support our local Asian American community. With globalization intensifying and Asian countries gaining influence in the geopolitical landscape, we believe that being educated about Asia’s culture and politics is essential not only to gaining a holistic understanding of the current state of global affairs, but also to living in a modern multicultural society.

  • First, a limerick: "Fun-loving birds of a feather,/Creative Writing’s got it together!/We learn and we play/As the days while away,/Creating no matter the weather." This creative writing club is a tight-knit community of students interested in improving their writing skills through thoughtful games, exercises, author visits and collaboration with other clubs.

  • The BEAVRs provide many opportunities for technically savvy students who have an interest in using audiovisual and stage lighting equipment via rigorous hands-on experiences. By managing and running internal school-sponsored events, students are empowered to work collaboratively with their peers in order to produce high-level events. Participants in the club will assist the Technology Department in providing coverage for various types of situations.

  • The AV Club provides many opportunities for students who have an interest in audiovisual media and stage lighting to gain hands-on experience. Participants in the AV club will learn to assist the Technology Department in providing technical coverage for various school-sponsored events: assemblies, dances and more. Through managing and running internal events, students gain the skills to work collaboratively with their peers to produce high-quality events for the entire Brearley community.

  • The Business and Financial Awareness Club seeks to educate and prepare the Brearley community on various business topics through fun, informative activities and discussions. We stress the importance of financial literacy regardless of whether our members want to pursue a career in business in the future. We also explore the intersection of business with social, environmental and political issues. Some past projects have included Beaver Tank (with Shark Tank–style business plan development), fundraising for female entrepreneurs in developing countries through Kiva, an interschool stock market game, and several speakers on various topics. No previous knowledge of business or finance is needed, only an enthusiasm to learn and try new things!

  • Classics Club encourages students to pursue an interest in the complex and diverse culture, mythology and modern reception of the ancient world. Outside of the school day we participate in Certamina (Latin Jeopardy) with other schools, organize club events like museum outings and lectures, and work on volunteer programs in the classics (such as the Paideia Institute's Aequora, which aims to teach English literacy through Latin). In typical meetings, we discuss literature, articles and advancements in the field of classics, as well as practicing for Certamina and holding space for members to present on myths or historical events that interest them. Meetings are held once a cycle during the school day, but special events may take place on the weekends. We welcome all members of the Brearley community regardless of previous experience with ancient languages or knowledge of the ancient world.

  • The Comedy Club invites Upper School students to take a break from academics once a cycle and play fun improv games, learn how to write stand-up and help write and perform a Saturday Night Live–style show right here at Brearley.

  • Computer Science Club offers the opportunity for novice and experienced coders to acquire and practice new skills. Meetings alternate between fundamental lessons for beginner members, fun collaborative activities for intermediate members, and open group discussions about the social aspects of technology and the applications of computer science. CS Club strives to have a fun and open environment for both experienced coders and beginners who are looking for basic exposure.

  • We aim to cultivate public speaking and critical thinking skills through the art of debate. We compete in the Public Forum and Lincoln-Douglas debate styles, providing expert training for all students, regardless of experience. Members have the opportunity to compete at both local and travel tournaments in the NYCFL, NSDA, and TOC national circuit. The Debate Club offers an accessible environment for debate at a casual level, while the Debate Team is geared toward committed members looking to excel at the competitive level. We research a variety of topics, ranging from current political issues and policies to ethics and philosophical theory. All students, regardless of academic interest, may discuss and debate topics that interest them.

  • Diversity Club encourages open, nonjudgmental dialogue about social justice, identity and intersectionality in the Brearley community and the world at large. Every meeting is open to all Brearley Upper Schoolers, regardless of club membership, to continue building a community where everyone feels they belong.

  • French Club strives to give students a view into French-speaking cultures. We want to expand students' experiences through the exploration of different identities. French is a global language and we use the language as a way to facilitate discussion about the connections that exist across borders.

  • Global Girls is a club devoted to promoting global gender equality through discussions, fundraising and internationally micro-financing women's business and education endeavors. We discuss modern feminism and sexism and engage in activism to benefit women worldwide.

  • Members of Hablemos are committed to celebrating and learning about Hispanic cultures within the Brearley community. The club's mission is to explore through conversation and education the various experiences from diverse cultures that share the Spanish language, Hispanic Latinx countries, Hispanic África and Spain. We are committed to being well-educated citizens and allies to all underrepresented and unheard voices, supporting all through conversation and service initiatives. In our meetings, we discuss politics, media representation, holiday festivities and traditions from the often unheard Latinx-Hispanic, Afro-Hispanic and Spanish cultural perspectives.

  • In Medical Science we aim to educate our members on human anatomy and medicine through presentations, games and videos. We invite guest speakers from the medical field to come in and share their experience as well as teach practical skills.

  • MECCA (Middle Eastern Culture and Current Affairs) is dedicated to discussing Middle Eastern current affairs and learning more about the many cultures of the Middle East. MECCA is a fun way to learn about a fascinating and complex region of the world, and to engage in dialogue about important Middle Eastern issues. No prior knowledge is required, and anyone interested in foreign affairs, politics, food or just the Middle East in general is welcome to join.

  • Music Mentorship aims to foster sisterhood in the Brearley community and strengthen cross-divisional relationships in Lower, Middle, and Upper School. Through music mentorship, Upper School students can develop their leadership skills during weekly meetings with Lower Schoolers and occasional visits to Middle School Orchestra. During Upper School club periods, meetings consist of planning for weekly mentoring sessions, preparation and practice for long-term projects and concerts, and discussions about music education. We look forward to sharing music with the local community through outreach concerts.

  • Brearley’s Riley’s Way Chapter works to provide Brearley students with skills in leadership, empathy and kindness, to drive positive change throughout our community. The chapter is youth-led, putting a strong emphasis on student leadership, community connection and hands-on service learning. As a chapter, we meet biweekly to strengthen leadership skills, engage in discussions and develop projects to support our community in and out of school.

  • The Science Club aims to promote and develop curiosity and a passion for science in the Brearley community through labs, activities, presentations and discussions on a wide variety of scientific topics, especially those not focused on in our standard curriculum.

  • Students in Politics aims to bring a diverse group of students together to openly discuss and learn about current political news, elections and the broader political spectrum with an accepting, bipartisan approach. In the club, we strive to combine local, national and international topics in order to give students a holistic sense of current politics. We seek to create an open forum where students feel they can share their opinions and bring up topics that are important to them.

  • Summer Heart raises money through bake sales hosted by our members to send children from the East Harlem School at Exodus House, a middle school committed to serving low-income families, to Brearley’s day camp, Summer @590. The club also works to build community between the two schools.

  • The Tech Drama Club is composed of students who do all of the technical work for Brearley’s staged productions. Tech work includes stage managing, building sets, running lights and sound, organizing props and making costumes.

  • The Technology Club aims to increase awareness around technology and create a space where students are exposed to and learn about various topics while being able to ask questions and express their opinions.

Student Publications

  • Students in Class XI edit and staff the school literary magazine, published twice a year. Stories, poems, drawings and photographs are submitted to the staff by students in Classes V–XII; the staff selects submissions to be published, edits them as necessary and lays out the copy using desktop publishing software.

  • The Brearley Review of Books (BRB) aims to support and promote the active engagement with reading and writing that exists within the Brearley community. It is the first publication of its nature at Brearley; its literary book reviews fall between the journalism of The Zephyr and the creative efforts of The Beaver. The BRB provides a home for the writing of students who, as passionate readers and thinkers, both engage with a book’s immediate implications and consider it in a broader intellectual and personal context.

  • Catalyst is Brearley’s first STEM publication, dedicated to making STEM accessible to the greater Brearley community and empowering young women interested in STEM. Catalyst showcases the scientific writing of students who are passionate about science and technology and promotes STEM throughout the Brearley community in the form of a student publication. Catalyst accepts articles written by Upper School students as well as the work of staff writers.

  • Panoramic is a creative magazine that is meant to educate, empower and embody Brearley's values of diversity, equity and inclusion as well as cultivate a closer-knit school community by promoting individual self-care and embracing the intersectionality of all identities that exist within “One Brearley.”

  • Organized around a theme chosen by Class XII, the yearbook has sections devoted to every major division and activity of the School but focuses on the senior class. It contains some written features, many photographs and much artwork, all of which are produced and laid out by the staff.

  • The Zephyr is a student-run newspaper that serves as the voice of Brearley students. With integrity and a commitment to the truth at the forefront, The Zephyr covers topics that are important to students. We aim to inform, entertain and promote discussion in a community of engaged citizens. The Zephyr welcomes community submissions such as columns, blogs, letters to the editor, guest essays and comments, including all voices and covering topics that are important to the students.

Identity-Based Groups

  • BSDLC represents the needs of historically marginalized students by creating spaces for healing, celebration and affinity; holding people and organizations to their statements of beliefs; providing accurate representation and aid; and acting as a liaison between students, educators and administrators to bridge the information gap.

  • Bonim (Jewish Affinity Group) exists to create a safe and welcoming environment for all Brearley students who identify as Jewish to gather together and discuss our experiences being Jewish in today’s world, as well as current events that concern the Jewish community. We aim to create a tight-knit community for all Jewish Brearley students of any race, gender or sexual orientation. We include all students who identify as Jewish, no matter their beliefs or manners of practicing religion.

  • ESEA Affinity is a space for East and Southeast Asian or East/Southeast Asian Pacific Islander–identifying students to discuss shared experiences and relevant topics to their culture and heritage.

  •  The Latinx Affinity space aims to establish a safe space for students of all ages and grades in the Brearley Upper School who identify as Latinx, including all the races which make up the ethnicity. We speak about our experiences both in and outside the walls of Brearley and hope to establish a stronger Latinx community within the school. We are aiming to do this by discussing current events and having thoughtful and introspective conversations about the implications and experiences of being Latinx in this age.

  • The Multiracial Affinity Group is an affinity space dedicated to fostering connection among students of mixed racial and ethnic backgrounds. In community we discuss issues related to our mixed backgrounds and experiences, process contemporary events and hold joy with each other.

  • Muslim Affinity aims to create a safe and supportive space available for any student who identifies as Muslim. This affinity is a place to foster connection through both deep discussions and lighthearted conversations. We hope that the flexible and inclusive environment will allow for members to connect to their shared Muslim identity at Brearley. We would also like to use our platform to spread awareness to the rest of the student body about our community in order to make Muslim students feel included and safe in our school environment.

  • Neurodivergent Affinity seeks to provide a safe space for students with learning disabilities to discuss their experiences and make Brearley a more inclusive and welcoming space for students with learning disabilities.

  • Queer and Allies (Q&A) is an affinity/alliance space dedicated to the discussion of intersectional LGBTQ+ topics and the broadening of community through collaborations, projects and engagement.

  • The South Asian Affinity Group aims to provide a safe and welcoming space for students in the Upper School who identify as South Asian to discuss topics such as current events, culture and identity. We hope to use these discussions to foster an environment of inclusivity that allows students to speak openly and connect with their South Asian heritage.

  • Umoja is a safe space for Black students to discuss Black culture, Black excellence, the Black diaspora and the issues within and outside of the Black community.

School-Sponsored Groups and Activities

  • The Actor’s Collective is an initiative by the Brearley Drama Department to create a more cohesive community of actors on B-Deck. It aims to give active members of B-Deck (who focus on acting rather than tech) a place to share ideas and hold leadership. The co-heads work with the Tech Heads to strengthen B-Deck as a community of people working on shows together. 

  • The Athletic Association works closely with members of the Physical Education Department to organize schoolwide events (Homecoming, Mountain Day, Winter Carnival, Spring Fling and Field Day) as well as the intramural games between the two school teams, Red Team and White Team. In addition, the AA may help to plan other athletic events, depending on the interests of the student body. We are dedicated to inclusivity and accessibility in athletics and fostering school spirit.

  • The Brearley Environmental Action Committee (BEAC) is a club dedicated to examining and raising awareness around the underlying issues in our community and the broader world through the lens of environmentalism. In order to foster a more holistic understanding of the climate crisis, BEAC sparks conversation and direct action in our school community on the topics of environmental justice and intersectionality.

  • Big Sister, Little Sister is a student-led mentorship program for students of color at Brearley. Upper School mentors meet regularly with Middle School and Lower School students of color to have discussions, give advice and form meaningful bonds. Our goal is to maintain an affirming and supportive environment for students of color that extends outside of scheduled meetings.

  • The B-Naturals are Brearley's Upper School a cappella group. They perform and represent the school over 20 times a year both at school events and around the city. Students develop their musical knowledge and their range while learning to read music and harmonize with peers in small and full group rehearsals. Each year, students get the opportunity to record albums, which are subsequently released on streaming platforms—Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and more!

  • Upper School Ceramics offers structured hand-building and/or wheel tutorials as well as an area for open exploration. We examine natural forms such as shells, pods and fruit as launching points for sculpting. Surface decoration is also explored. No prior experience is necessary.

  • Upper School Chorus, open to all students in Classes IX–XII without audition, meets twice weekly to prepare a varied repertoire and performs at school concerts and assemblies, as well as in joint concerts with boys’ schools.

  • Students learn to operate manual film cameras to take creative, artistic photographs. Students are guided through the “magic” (actual science) of developing their film into negatives and using their negatives to make black and white photographic prints in Brearley’s darkroom. No experience is necessary.

  • The Debate Team cultivates public speaking and critical thinking skills through the art of debate. We compete in the Public Forum and Lincoln-Douglas debate styles, providing expert training for all students, regardless of experience. Members have the opportunity to compete at both local and travel tournaments in the NYCFL, NSDA, and TOC national circuit. The Debate Club offers an accessible environment for debate at a casual level, while the Debate Team is geared toward committed members looking to excel at the competitive level. We research a variety of topics, ranging from current political issues and policies to ethics and philosophical theory. All students, regardless of academic interest, may to discuss and debate topics that interest them.

  • Drawing at the Met is for MS and US students who enjoy using simple drawing tools in their own journals to observe great works of art in the collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Students meet in the school lobby to walk to the museum and are picked up or dismissed from the museum at 5:00 pm. Upper School students are welcome on a recurring or per diem basis.

  • Math Team’s mission is to expand our mathematical horizons beyond the classroom for anyone interested, regardless of previous experience. Our team members bond over our love and appreciation for mathematics through creative problem solving and friendly competition.

  • Mock Trial aims to simulate real trials for civil and criminal cases. Students learn about the legal system and criminal justice through competition with peers, interschool scrimmages and club discussions. Mock Trial is a space for students to hone their public speaking skills, learn how to build effective arguments, and develop strong logical thinking skills. Mock Trial hopes to instill in its members a passion for justice and the American legal system.

  • Brearley Model Congress dedicates itself to providing an instructive, collaborative and enjoyable atmosphere in which students can develop their interests in American government while learning to be active citizens. In Model Congress, students debate a wide range of issues from different viewpoints and explore policy areas they are passionate about as they write bills and debate in citywide and national conferences. Participants immerse themselves in legislation and politics while practicing public speaking skills in mock congressional committees that focus on topics such as education, technology, health, foreign affairs and the armed services. We empower students with opportunities to model creating legislation that can make a difference in their communities and beyond.

  • Model UN aims to educate participants about current events, international relations, diplomacy and the priorities of the United Nations. Members are assigned countries, and they negotiate solutions, representing their country’s beliefs, for the most pressing international issues, ranging from climate change to nuclear nonproliferation to the crisis in Syria. During the year, we attend several day conferences in New York and a four-day conference in Boston. Model UN develops students' public-speaking and problem-solving skills, provides a space to immerse oneself in international politics and affords an opportunity to meet new people with different perspectives, both within and outside of Brearley.

  • Instrumentalists may participate in the Upper School Orchestra, which rehearses twice weekly and performs in concerts at the School throughout the year.

  • The Robotics Team designs, builds and codes a robot to participate in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC). We design our robot for the FTC robotics challenge and compete with other teams in FIRST competitions. Students can work on the design, construction and coding of the robot, as well as organize various team outreach initiatives. Members make up a welcoming, tight-knit team and no prior experience is necessary to join.

  • This association aims to develop in each individual a sense of responsibility for herself and a sense of fellowship and cooperation with others. It represents the interests of the student body in discussions with the faculty and administration about many matters of school life.

  • Upper School Community Engagement Club provides opportunities for Brearley students to participate in service work and discussions. We seek to educate and raise awareness about important issues through discussions regarding equity and social justice as well as collaborations with other clubs and organizations. As a club, we engage in physical service projects both within and outside of the Brearley community and use our resources to support causes that align with our community values.

  • Brearley Student Ambassadors from Classes X to XII work closely with the Office of Admission, playing a key role in fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for prospective families. By conducting campus tours, student ambassadors have the opportunity to represent Brearley and share their stories with Middle and Upper School applicant families.

  • The Student Events Association is a committee of student leaders dedicated to supporting and informing all initiatives related to student life. Students who would like to  plan schoolwide events and develop strong leadership skills and the ability to advocate on behalf of the student body are welcome to join.

  • Participants experience the ancient art of relief carving where shapes and figures emerge from a flat surface to create the illusion of depth. Students design and carve their own decorative relief images that may also be used as part of other woodworking projects. Tools and materials are provided.

Common Interest Organization (CIO)

  • Our mission is to create a vibrant and inclusive community of anime enthusiasts at our school, where students can come together to explore and appreciate the world of anime and manga. Through regular meetings, discussions and activities, we aim to foster a love and appreciation of anime, promote cultural awareness, and provide students with opportunities to stimulate their creativity through art and storytelling. Through fostering a welcoming environment for anime lovers, we also spread awareness on different topics that people do not often think about and help people build meaningful connections.

  • The mission of Brearley Art Society is to create a place in which students can pursue and foster their passion for art and the historical and cultural context behind it. BAS aims to bring the wider Brearley community together through a shared interest for the arts by placing an emphasis on art projects and discussions, where members choose areas of focus and drive meetings. BAS strives for a creative environment open to all students, regardless of skill level.

  • In Film Club, we explore aspects of the film industry and filmmaking through watching, discussing and hands-on learning. Film Club brings students together over a shared love of film and helps them gain skills that can prepare them for future professions, or it can just be a creative outlet.

  • The mission of the linguistics club is to learn about the mechanics and evolution of language and explore the crossover between language and culture in different groups around the world. One of our main goals is to prepare for the NACLO, a national contest for high school students to solve different types of linguistics problems. After NACLO in January, we will continue to examine different languages through a linguistic lens. Linguistics CIO also allows students to explore linguistics as a window to cultures around the world. Linguists study the foundation of communication, which is essential to all parts of a society. They also look for common patterns among different languages, comparing and contrasting how different groups communicate. By studying the inner workings of a language, we can discover what is important to their society overall. Our exploration and study of linguistics is structured around the Crash Course Linguistics series (which has 17 videos), along with other material that will cover different areas of linguistics such as morphology, syntax, phonetics, writing systems, etc. 

  • NECK CIO is a student-led group in which members can relax from school stress by participating in needlework-style activities. As a community, we participate in fiber arts–centered charities. We have pattern, thread and yarn bins for those who like working independently and a teaching corner for those who are learning. We also host fun holiday activities.

  • Our CIO’s intention is to teach our peers how to think both critically and creatively about philosophy. We discuss philosophers from diverse backgrounds with origins from around the world so that all our members feel represented in our work. We aim to create an environment full of knowledge and ambition, where members are comfortable and confident in participating in lively conversations, and to provide a space in which members can share and build upon their ideas. The complex ideas of philosophy analyzed in our clubs will cultivate curiosity among students and increase their love of learning and dissect difficult concepts that they can use after Brearley.

  • Public Health CIO strives to create a forum in which Upper School students can learn about health care as it relates to the past, present and future. Discussions and debates pertain to racial and social inequity, scientific research, public policy and more. Our aim is to educate students about public health issues within our local and global communities and empower them to take action to alleviate these crises.

  • Quiz Bowl rewards and encourages learning while providing meaningful experiences with teamwork and preparation. The skills students gain in acquiring information and working together prepare them well for their futures not only throughout their remaining academic years but also throughout life as professionals and citizens.

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