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 Academian records, photographs and documents the happenings of the year through the production of a full color yearbook with the special purpose of honoring the senior class.

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 goal of this club is to teach and support a love of the study of astronomy.

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.

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.

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

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 Environmental Club seeks to make positive changes throughout our school, community and the greater Pittsburgh area to fight for the environment. Activities include raising awareness about recycling and composting, and events such as the Green Cup Challenge, Farmer's Market Chopped and other environmental-related games.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

Jewish Student Union
This group supports and ensures the acceptance of our wonderful Jewish community at Shady Side.

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.

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.

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

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 society's mission is to educate people about, discuss, foster and protect conservative values.

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
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.

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
This club plans service opportunities both at school and in the local community, which are open to anyone in the SSA community. 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.

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.