Join Niles West’s New Trial Club: Albanian Club!


Gia Bexes

The club members and sponsors take a group photo together.

By Anna Lusson and Gia Bexes

Niles West’s Albanian Trial Club, founded by junior Sabrina Islamaj, has been connecting Albanians and those who would like to learn more about the Albanian culture ever since the club’s first meeting on September 1st of this year. Among the vast sea of clubs here at Niles West, Albanian Club specializes in organizing fundraisers and fun activities for those who are interested in getting to know fellow Albanians or even those who want to meet new people and learn about a different heritage at our school. 

The Albanian club is co-sponsored by science teacher Charles Martin. Despite this being his first year at Niles West and not being of Albanian descent, Martin gladly jumped on this opportunity when asked by a couple of students.

“I’m so excited to be a part of it, and to promote this, and to help with our other sponsors to create a great place for students of Albanian heritage and also students that are just interested in learning more about Albanian culture- to have a place to get together and celebrate and have fun. And that’s a really great opportunity for any educator or anybody that’s in the business,” Martin said. 

Albanian Club President Sabrina Islamaj posing before the club meeting begins. (Gia Bexes)

The other sponsor, engineering teacher Robert Foster, sought to connect more with his own culture.

“I wanted to sponsor the Albanian club because my grandfather’s family came from Albania,” Foster said.

With help from their sponsors, the members of the Albanian club have many projects lined up for the upcoming months. Their biggest project in October was working with a non-profit organization to send medical aid to children and families in Albania. To raise money, club members will be selling coffee and donuts at the Regional Robotics Competition held at Niles West on November 19th, and a Blizzard sale coming up in December. In addition, the club is currently preparing for International Week in March.

The club has also received lots of positive responses from the students who are driving the club’s activities. Senior Emir Baller, who was named Vice President of Albanian Club, expresses his excitement for the club. 

“I joined Albanian club because I was shocked to see there were a lot of people from my country here and as I moved to the school and I wanted to meet people of my culture because it hits closer to home,” Baller said.

Although they are still in their trial phase, the club has many ambitions for the upcoming year, and years to come. Senior Samina Hoxha, the photographer for Albanian club, hopes the club she’s quickly grown to love will continue to prosper after she and her fellow seniors leave.

“I love how collaborative it is. We all contribute to ideas and plans for the meetings and for fundraisers. We’re all just one big community and it’s so great that we became so comfortable with one another so quickly given that this is our first year as a club. We hope to establish ourselves as a club with more members by the end of the year so that even when our seniors leave, the club will continue to flourish. We have a lot of goals for this club and I can’t wait to see them all come to life,” Hoxha said. 

With so many students involved in the club, it is no doubt that the club will continue to grow. One thing to note is the fact that students from several different grade levels are a part of the club, one of them being sophomore Alba Ahmeti. “Albanian club is a place where you can connect with Albanian and non-Albanians. We create a special bond altogether and build an exciting environment,” Ahmeti said. 

Make sure to support the Albanian club in all their upcoming events, and meet them Tuesdays after school if you are interested in joining. For more information, follow @nwalbanianclub.