Student Life

In addition to a balanced curriculum of academics, arts and athletics, Shady Side offers a wide array of extracurricular activities and clubs that allow students to explore most any interest under the sun. Develop your leadership skills as a student council officer, department associate, admissions ambassador, dorm prefect or club president. Join like-minded students in one or more of our 50+ student clubs – or start your own! – from service learning to speech & debate to diversity to finance.

These experiences are overseen by the Senior School Student Life Office, a team of faculty members devoted to helping students grow to their full potential while being shaped by our Guiding Principles.

Leadership Opportunities

Academic Policy Committee (APC) Members
Students are elected by their peers to serve as voting members of the APC, which is comprised of senior administrators and academic department chairs, and engages in discussions about academic policy, curriculum, schedule and pedagogy.

Admission Ambassadors
Selected juniors and seniors give tours to prospective families and assist the admissions open houses and events.

Class Officers
Peer-elected leaders organize class events, build school spirit, raise funds and address issues facing the class. Class officers run monthly class meetings.

Club Heads
Students lead a variety of clubs.

Departmental Associates

Selected students participate as members of academic departments, and attend monthly meetings to discuss curricular issues germane to the department and the Academy.

Discipline Committee Members
Selected seniors hear disciplinary cases and decide on an appropriate response together with faculty members.

Diversity Leadership Council Members
Selected juniors and seniors discuss issues of diversity that affect the Senior School and plan activities.

Dorm Prefects
Selected juniors and seniors serve as a link between the boarders and the dorm parents, help create a sense of community by planning feeds and activities, and help boarders enjoy their boarding experience.

Peer to Peer Leaders
Selected juniors and seniors assist freshmen in transitioning to high school and ensure they are equipped with the knowledge and skills to succeed. They are also the stewards of SSA's participation in the Making Caring Common Project, a national initiative to promote kindness and a commitment to the public good.

Sports Captains
Elected athletes lead their respective team by encouraging each player to do his/her best, to model and encourage good sportsmanship, and to build team unity.

Student Council Officers
Elected officers from each grade comprise Shady Side’s student government. They work together to organize CUP events, dances and fundraisers, and they consult with and advise the faculty and administration on issues related to student life.

Student Clubs

Student Clubs

The yearbook club is responsible for consolidating all photographs and information from the school year into a fun and memorable book. 

Asian Student Union
The Asian Student Union's mission is to promote and educate the student body about Asian culture on campus and serve the SSA Asian community. We hope to enhance the public's viewpoint of Asian ethnic values and traditions among different Asian countries. We invite poeple of all nationalities, races and ethnicities to come and embrace Asian culture together. 

Angles is Shady Side's nonfiction magazine, featuring student memoir, essays, and poetry in an end-of-year publication.

Anime Club
This club enjoys watching and creating the art of anime.

Astronomy Club
The Astronomy Club is a place where students interested in astronomy gather and discuss recent advances, interesting theories and potential implications in this particular field of study. In each club meeting, a member of the club will lead the discussion of a topic related to Astronomy. Other activities include visits to observatories, lectures and on-campus observation sessions. 

Black Student Union (BSU)
The goal of BSU is to empower black voices by fostering and supporting individuals in a safe environment for the discussion of issues facing the black community in SSA, Pittsburgh and the country.

Cabaret Club
The Cabaret Club's mission is to bring music and performance to all aspects of life. The club organizes benefit concerts for charity on campus and is available to perform at fundraising events for other clubs and groups. The club also performs outside of school, at places such as hospitals and senior living facilities.

Club for Animal Respect and Education (CARE)
CARE aims to educate students about issues in society involving animals as well as giving students the opportunity to explore possible veterinary/animal based career paths. It also encourages participation in animal shelters and making the SSA campus an animal-friendly environment.

Chess Club
This club teaches new players and expands the skills of experienced players. 

Chiapas Club
The club brainstorms and carries out fundraisers to raise $1,600 each year to support the schooling of five Maya children from Chiapas, Mexico.

Chinese Club
All students are welcome to participate in Chinese Club to practice Chinese and take part in fun, cultural activities.

Christian Fellowship
This club is a place for Christians and those curious about Christianity to come and converse about faith and religion, and how they play out in our daily lives. It's an open place for open minds.

Craft Club
This club engages students in hands-on activities, primarily focused on knitting, soap-making and embroidery. Members will try different ideas from students as long as they are practical to implement.

Dance Club
This club is a place for the SSA community to share a love of dance.

DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe. The club prepares members for a business competition extending all the way up to interational levels, along with preparing them for future careers and volunteering in the community. 

Democratic Student Union
The Democratic Student Union aims to promote liberal ideals through student-led discussion and political activism.

DnD Club
The DnD Club plays Dungeons and Dragons, a fascinating fantasy role-playing game.

Both print and online, Shady Side's literary magazine features writing, art, music, film and more. The Egerian also hosts writing workshops and poetry slams to foster the Academy's writing community. Anyone is welcome to submit work and attend/participate in slams and workshops throughout the year.

Environmental Club
The Environmenta Club works to promote healthy practices on campus stuch as recycling and composting. We also participate in volunteer work on and off campus in our local environments. We strive to reduce our carbon footprint as an entire community. 

French Club
The purpose of the club is to allow participants to find, advance and share their passion of French culture in a fun, welcoming environment with French games, food and film.

Friendship Circle Club
The mission of this club is to bring values of inclusion and acceptance maintained at the Friendship Circle to our school community through conversation and activites. 

Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)
The purpose of this club is to develop business leadership skills through career-oriented programs. This is an extension of the Personal Finance Club.

Gargoyle Society/Drama Club
Come and hang out with the creative, spontaneous theater students for fun theater games! No prior experience is necessary, and you don't have to be involved with the school productions to be part of the club!

Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA)
GSA, the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, is a group focused on the support and education surrounding the LGBTQ+ community. The club promotes inclusivity and equality among members and the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. 

German Club
The club both practices the German languages and explores German culture.

Girls Who Code
This club is STEM-based and its mission is to get girls involved in STEM. 

Go Club
Go Club is a place for anyone who wants to play or would like to learn. 

Health and Fitness Club
Our goal is to educate students on the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle. The club participates in outside of school fitness classes or runs as a way to build community and increase daily physical activity. Members explore nutrition through food tasting and the benefits of particular foods/nutrients. Each member sets his/her own personal goals.

Hillman Center Ushers
The Hillman volunteer usher corps helps families with young children and seniors by acting as docents, activity leaders and SSA ambassadors during the Hillman Series and SSA Gargoyle Society theater productions. Students receive dinner and a complimentary ticket to the show for volunteering before the performance.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship
The mission of this club is to empower students by giving them the opportunity to innovate and explore opportunities in entrepreneurship and design. 

The Intonations is SSA's all-male a cappella singing group. Find them online at

Italian Student Union
This club both practices the Italian language and explores Italian culture. 

Japanese Film Club
Member of this club will watch a Japanese movie or show of the club's choosing on the smart board every week. 

Jewish Student Union
This group supports and ensures the acceptance of our wonderful Jewish community at Shady Side. The club is open to all who want to learn or celebrate thier heritage and talk about current issues in the Jewish community world wide. 

Kids of Haiti
This club supports the non profit, Work for Haiti, that betters the lives and families currently living on landfills in Haiti. Members will participate in a pen pal system to connect with children in Haiti. Goals include fundraising for children to attend school and have health care. 

Latin Club
Latin Club allows students to engage with the culture of Ancient Rome and the ubiquitous nature of the language through a variety of activities, games, films and food.

LatinX Club
This club helps to unite students of (but not limited to) Latin American descent and inform members of the Shady Side Community about the history and modern issues of Latin American cultures. 

Left Politics Club
This group is a platform for left-wing political discussion. The club is farther left than the DSU and discusses communism in theory and in action.

Library Ambassadors
This student-driven club plans library events, writes book reviews to share with the community, creates and performs story times for the local public library, and participates in the Battle of the Books competition at Carnegie Library.

Manos a la obra!
This club is open to anyone who wants to practice their Spanish by interaction, hands-on activities and the exploration of different cultures and vocabulary. Members will participate in cooking, painting, music, sports, film and literature. 

Math Club
The Math Club (formerly Math Team) is a place for students to meet and talk about math and participate in math competitions.

Mental Fitness and Psychology
This mission of this club is to learn about the brain and to explore the different topics in psychology based on the interests of the club members and sponsor. 

Model UN
Model UN is a club for students interested in pursuing law, policy or international relations. The club travels to universities to compete and have fun with thousands of students around the globe in interactive simulations of the United Nations.

Patriot Society
The Patriot Society is a club dedicated to the promotion of traditional and rational conservative values. While this club does have a right leaning political affiliation, the club is devoted to generating meaningful political discussion, no matter the person's school of thought. Club members will engage in discourse about current political news and the core values of this country, and will be able to participate in lively debates about a range of topics. The Patriot Society also aims to bring in moderately conservative speakers to share their thoughts with the student body at assemblies and other occasions. Ultimately, the club serves as a vhicle to more thoroughly engage the student body in politics. 

Perspectives Club
The Perspectives Club is a sanctuary for the discussions that aren't always easy to talk about. Every week, the members will talk about a controversial topic. The mission is to promote discussion throughout Shady Side. 

Personal Finance Club
The Personal Finance Club is an organization for students with an interest in finance and/or entrepreneurship. In the club, you can take FBLA tests and manage a real portfolio of stocks.

Philosophy Club
In this club, students learn about and discuss a different idea in philosophy each week.

Physics Club
In this club, students prepare for the F+ma preliminary exam and/or the SAT II Physics Subject Test.

Piano Club
The club is for piano players to play songs in different genres and with other people.

Portfolio Art Club
The Portfolio Club is a social celebration of the independent work and efforts of students with a keen interest in the visual arts. Members produce independent portfolios, organized bodies of work, and have a conscientious dedication to producing art work. Portfolios are not judged, but instead are shared with others who have a similar enthusiasm.

Pre-Med Club
The club's goal is to expose the student body to what a career in, or pertaining to, healthcare has to offer through presentations given by professionals in various medical fields. Members also have a chance to volunteer and interact with children being treated for cancer.

Political Science Club
The mission of the Political Science Club is to engage the Senior School community in political discourse on the local, state and national levels through school-wide discussion and polling.

Quiz Bowl Team
Quizbowl is a club that focuses on trivia and meets in order to prepare for regional tournaments. This group competes in trivia competitions with other schools, including on KDKA's Hometown High-Q.

Robotics Club
The Robotics Club works on the design, development and testing of both hardware and software of robots, and takes part in the annual FTC (First Tech Challenge) robotics competition. Join us at the new robotics arena inside the Glimcher Tech & Design Hub!

Rocketry Club
This club meets to design, build and launch rockets, and share the wonders of model rocketry.

Science Olympiad Team
Science Olympiad is a team competition of 23 different events. Teams bring up to 15 competitors to invitationals and regional/state/national tournaments. Team placement at a tournament is determined by the summation of 23 individual event placements.

Service Learning Club
Service Learning Club works to understand needs in our community and actively engages with various nonprofits to assist in fulfilling those needs, We host volunteer opportunities, open to all students, on and off campus throughout the year. Visit the Service Learning Club page to learn more.

Special Education Awareness Club
The club's goals are to educate and raise awareness of the true abilities of special needs children, while trying to break down stereotypes and stigmas surrounding physical, emotional and learning disabilities. The club also sheds light on how special needs is regarded internationally.

SSA App Club
Developing the SSA Student smartphone app for both Apple and Android, which Senior School students use for scheduling and information.

SSA Film Club
The mission of this club is to create a place for people to learn, share and make videos. This club does the WSSA-TV news videos shown at assemblies.

SSA Newspaper
Shady Side's primary outlet for student journalism, featuring academy news, student life features and opinion pieces. The club designs the newspaper, writes and edits articles, takes photos and helps with mailings.

SSA Spikeball Club
This club provides a place for students to have fun and play spikeball after school. 

Ski Club
The club coordinates ski trips for the school community.

Speech and Debate Team
This team competes locally, nationally, and internationally while preparing students with the real-world skill of public speaking Speech events make excellent opportunities for actors, and debate offers an analytic view of current events and issues.

Students Support the Schroeder Fund
This club's mission is to help raise money for the Schroeder Fund, which enables students to fully participate in all of what Shady Side has to offer by helping to pay for the additional costs of going to SSA, such as textbooks, field trips international trips and athletic competitions.

Theater Tech
Theater Tech helps design the scenery, lighting, costumes and more for SSA's theater productions.

Video Games Club
For students interested in playing video games and sharing their interest with others.

Who Run the World
This club is a place to discuss the role that women play at Shady Side, Pittsburgh and the world.