An independent day school serving grades K-12 | St. Paul, MN

Clubs and Organizations

The Upper School offers a wide range of student-led clubs, organizations, and leadership opportunities. These groups are important pieces of the student experience, and time is set aside every week during X-period for groups to meet. Some groups are open for anyone to join; others require an election or selection process; and, others are part of a class and are taken for credit. Students are encouraged to form new clubs and organizations with peers who share their interests. 

"Elected and Selected" Groups

Groups that require election or a selection process:
  • Upper School Council is SPA's student government organization. Sixteen members are elected representing Grades 9-12.

  • Student Activities Committee organizes Upper School social events, dances, and other activities. Nineteen members are elected representing Grades 9-12.
  • Discipline Committee works with the Dean of Students and other administrators to hear student discipline cases, including instances of academic dishonesty and violations of the Student Code of Conduct, and make recommendations for appropriate consequences.  Ten members are elected representing grades 9-12.
  • Peer Helpers work with the Upper School Counselor and are trained to offer peer-to-peer support.  Peer Helpers requires application and selection.
  • Class Leadership Councils represent their grade levels in Grade 10-12 and work with the Dean of Students on activities and events. CLC requires application and selection.

Course-Based Activities

Activities that are part of a class for credit:
  • The Rubicon is SPA's student newspaper. The Rubicon is widely recognized as one of the best student newspapers in the country, and has been awarded numerous state, regional, and national awards in recent years for both its print and online editions. Students interested in working on The Rubicon take a series of Journalism courses within the English Department for credit. View Journalism course descriptions or read The Rubicon online.

  • SPA's Debate team is one of the best in the state, consistently winning Minnesota state titles and competing at the national and international level. Students interested in Debate take a series of Debate courses within the English Department for credit. View Debate course descriptions.
  • The IBID yearbook and Art and Literature magazine are for students interested in journalism, photography, graphic design, and publications management. Students interested in working on the yearbook or magazine take a series of classes within the English Department for credit.  View course descriptions.

Open-Membership Clubs and Organizations

Groups that have open membership

Every year, students organize and participate in dozens of clubs and organizations that are open to all Upper School students with common interests. These open-membership clubs and organizations are largely student-driven and change from year to year; a sample list of traditionally popular open-membership groups is below. 

  • Academic WorldQuest is a team activity testing competitors' knowledge of international affairs, geography, history and culture.
  • Film Club sponsors a year-long film series devoted to exposing SPA students to classic films.  The series is modeled on collegiate or art house film series in order to provide greater opportunity for discussion through the comparison of films on the basis of genre, acting, and direction.
  • Gender and Sexuality Acceptance Club is a group dedicated to fighting heterosexism and homophobia within our school through respect, education, and action.
  • Intercultural Club seeks to eliminate misunderstandings about diversity within the SPA community.  By celebrating and educating the students and faculty about the different cultures, traditions, religions and ways of life within our community, we hope to bring more awareness to the idea that diversity includes more aspects of humanity than race or ethnicity.  
  • Math Team represents St. Paul Academy and Summit School in the Minnesota High School Math League, to develop the problem-solving skills of talented students, and to give interested students the opportunity to meet and compete against other students who share their interest and talent in mathematics.
  • People for Animal Welfare and Safety (PAWS) works to improve animals’ lives by raising awareness and collaborating with animal welfare organizations.
  • People for Environmental Protection encourages the SPA community to think globally and act locally.  We seek to educate people about environmental issues with the hope that they will take action and make choices that will affect our school, our community, and the world.  We are especially interested in providing practical ways for people to take concrete measures to promote sustainability.
  • Quiz Bowl is a competitive, academic activity in which students attend practices and then represent their school at tournaments.  Quiz Bowl questions cover topics found in a high school curriculum and include current events, popular culture and sports.
  • Science Alliance seeks to pursue science activities of interest to the members and provides an opportunity for students to extend and apply what they’ve learned in the classroom.  This includes participation in the Science Olympiad competition and the Science Bowl.
  • Spartan Boosters supports the mission of SPA’s athletic programs as well as seeks to promote good sportsmanship and interest in the athletic endeavors of our students.
  • Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) help students make good choices within the SPA community and outside it.
  • Student Political Union is dedicated to furthering civil discourse over a broad spectrum of political issues.
  • Students for Social Justice is committed to "turning beliefs into action," choosing social justice issues, educating the members, and finding a way to act on injustice.

Every fall, the Upper School hosts an Activities Fair for students to explore the many clubs and organizations.