Poly Club’s Comeback


Polynesian Club

Ayala’s Poly Club rehearse for their in-person performances.

Tiffany Kye, Staff Reporter

With the strike of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and the continuation of distance learning in 2021, Ayala Polynesian Club’s 2022 Luau on Saturday, April 23 will be held in-person for the first time in two years. During these two years, the officers of Poly Club faced challenging yet valuable experiences.

“During COVID, we held Poly Club practices over Zoom,” said Poly Club president Ashley Isa. “What made it hard to teach was the cameras being off or at a different angle where we couldn’t see if the members were understanding the moves we were explaining. The lag between the video and audio also made it challenging, since dancing heavily relies on timing with music.” 

Due to the pandemic, Poly Club experienced a dip in membership; however, the falling numbers did not discourage them. 

“We found a way to showcase our annual luau and even reached out to Chino Hills’ Polynesian Club to choreograph joint dances & a local hula studio to showcase their keiki’s (kids’ group),” said Poly Club advisor Mrs. Mariana Jolly. “This year, we are back to an in-person luau and are hoping that the club will continue to grow in the following year. The one thing that remains constant regardless of member count is the dedication from the officers and members to show-up (in-person or virtually) and continue to spread the Aloha Spirit.”

Despite the difficulties, Isa credits the Zoom practices for teaching her the significance of communication, as the physical barrier between herself and the dancers required her to use clear verbal communication. With the lessons learned from a tough two years of online meetings, Poly Club is working hard to prepare for their in-person Luau.

“None of our current officers have ever planned Luau before, but many do have experience with Luau or even have siblings who have participated in the event,” said Isa. “At some points, there is uncertainty because of complications due to COVID and how much time we have before Luau, but I think our club will be prepared for it.” 

Poly Club begins planning during the summer and continues to work hard during the school year for the Luau, in which they aim to create a story that celebrates the numerous different Polynesian cultures and dances. 

“Our officers paint murals, create a storyline, design and sew costumes, and choreograph new dances each year,” said Mrs. Jolly. “We even invite alumni back to perform. And, if there is enough staff interest, Ayala staff is invited to learn and perform a dance as well. Our goal is to involve more clubs in performances or in helping out with Luau. After all, Ayala is one big ohana.

Officers put a great deal of effort into the preparation of the Luau; in return, the Luau serves as a rewarding experience for its participants.

“I really like Luau at the end of each year because it showcases all that we’ve worked on for the whole year,” said senior Magdalena Solorio, who has been a member of Poly Club since her freshman year. “It almost serves as a place to reminisce on the memories we made as a club.” Solorio claims that her freshman year Luau was one of her most memorable events from the club, describing it to be large and welcoming with a nice atmosphere.

Aside from events such as the Luau, Poly Club members also seem to appreciate the connections they are able to make with others through their engagement in the club.

“I love my Poly ohana and wouldn’t change a thing,” said Solorio. “They have always been there for me and we go through tough times together but make the most out of each experience.” 

“Poly Club rewards me with a greater connection to my family in Hawaii, as well as to the culture I have grown up in,” adds Isa. “My membership in Poly Club means a lot to me because it’s a safe space where you can always have people supporting you no matter what you are going through.”