New balloon club blows up at South


Photo courtesy of Jackson Marchal

The club visited elementary after-school programs throughout the district last year to entertain and teach kids how to make balloon animals.

Jackson Marchal '21 , Copy Editor

They say there is a club for everyone at Grosse Pointe South. This even goes for people who have a niche for making balloon animals. Whether you enjoy balloon art or just spreading joy among children, this club might be the perfect one for you.

Run by Ryan Wheaton, a math teacher at South, the balloon club meets Friday mornings at 7:15 to practice making balloon animals. All their practice pays off when they go to elementary schools to make them for the students, according to Wheaton.

According to Wheaton, last year participants of the club went to after school Kid’s Club, Halloween in the Park, and each elementary school in the district twice

“If people want to do the volunteering stuff, since that went over really well last year, then they can do that,” Wheaton said. “Or if they just want to come in and have fun and learn how to do it, then they can do that too.”

The club is not only about making balloons, it is also about having fun, according to Wheaton.

“It’s fun to see the students who’ve worked with me to go and interact with the younger kids in elementary schools,” Wheaton said. “There’s a lot of positive feedback because of bridging that gap between high school and elementary schools and seeing the older kids work with the younger kids.”

Nate Vorhees ’20, member of the balloon club, agrees with Wheaton when it comes down to the impact on the organization.

“I really enjoy teaching kids how to make balloons, mainly because I love to see how happy they get,” Vorhees said.

The club idea actually sprouted from a volunteer event from the Varsity Club, according to Wheaton.

“We actually made balloon animals at the Halloween In the Park for one of the stations as the kids were trick-or-treating,” Wheaton said. “I showed five students that were in Varsity Club how to do it so they could help me out.”

According to Wheaton, once students got the idea, they were determined to make it into a real club, no matter how many people wanted to join.

“In March, three of the students wanted to try and turn it into something more.” according to Wheaton. “So at the end of the school year we actually started meeting on Friday mornings as well, and if anyone wanted to come in and learn just for fun they could.”

Even with low expectations, it’s apparent that the number of participants is still growing, according to Wheaton.

“At the end of last school year, we honestly were like maybe we’ll get 10 people by the end of next school year. And then at the first meeting, we had 20 people,” Wheaton said. “I guess the word just kind of spread! The first meeting we had two people walk by and ask “what are you doing?” and then just joined in!”

According to Ellie Kaess ’21, the club is rising a lot of talk around the hallways.

“My friends and I were just talking about this. We were brainstorming clubs to join, so we might actually try this balloon club. We haven’t gone yet but it seems fun and interesting,” Kaess said. “It would also be a good way to get service points if they count.”

Wheaton encourages any student to join the club, regardless of prior experience.

“It’s about just having fun and learning something new,” Wheaton said. “There’s literally no stress to it. It’s not like there’s a test on it, it’s just come in, have fun and do something different.”