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Competitive Membean Club bolsters vocabulary in fun ways

William Hays ’21 and Jackson Bernreuter ’21 partake in a standard Membean duel.

By Jackson Moran ’20

THE ROUNDUP

In November, some students banded together to form the Competitive Membean Club, CMC, where students can gather to do Membean, compete and expand their vocabulary.

Membean is a website where students participate in practice sessions in order to learn new words based on their vocabulary level.

These sessions are often graded by English teachers based on length and accuracy.

The CMC, which meets in Brophy Hall room 202 every other Wednesday at lunch, hopes to provide a more enjoyable outlet for training, in order to improve and stimulate engagement with Membean.

According to their mission statement, they “strive to help students to effectively and efficiently learn the depths of the English lexicon in a controlled and constructive environment.”

Gregory Clary ’20, one of the founders of the club and whose favorite Membean word is idiosyncratic, created the club to provide people with a space where they can focus on their practice sessions.

“It’s a place that kids can come to do Membean instead of doing it with distractions, like one would have in the SAC, light rail, or even at home,” said Clary.

He added that it is a place where people can go to get help with Membean, with students of many different levels gathering to work together.

“They are a club in progress… overall their goal is to increase engagement with learning vocabulary, and they are using one of the great currencies of adolescence, which is the competitive spirit, to see if they can drive more engagement with the product [Membean],” said Mr. John Damaso ’97, moderator of the club and head of the English department.

“It’s a place where people can do Membean, learn, and get help with it and also add a more fun spin to Membean,” Clary said.

In the future, the CMC hopes to turn their Membean prowess into community service by working as tutors, providing help and assistance to students who need more help during practice.

Mr. Damaso also sees the club’s potential for students who wish to increase their brain’s glossary.

“Any club or organization that encourages you to use the tools you have at Brophy more deeply is a good idea,” he said.

He also added that the CMC encourages you to use these tools [Membean] to learn words more thoroughly and authentically in a fun competitive environment.

Ian Kingman ’21, a CMC member, found Membean “loathsome” during his freshman year.

“Every so often I would end up not doing my Membean, so I would have to do large batches of it at once,” said Kingman, whose favorite Membean word is verisimilitude.

He credits having to do long training sessions with his later affinity for the service.

“It got me interested in Membean as I got used to it, and it got me really far, from level three to level five,” Kingman said.

Most of the time during meetings is spent “increasing one’s vocabulary,” said Kingman, both individually or as a group.

However, as the club’s name suggests, there is also the competitive aspect of the club.

The rules of competition consist of a set training session, generally between five and fifteen minutes long, during which any number of competitors can battle for the title.

Students across levels can compete together, but more difficult words make it more difficult to win.

Essentially, the goal of the game is to answer as many questions as accurately as possible in a limited period of time.

“We grade based on accuracy times correct answers, so we’re basically pushing for how fast you can answer the questions,” Clary said.

The competitions take place intermittently during meetings, with new formats such as deathmatch elimination and spelling bees coming soon.

Recently, Kevin Yin ’20 created software that allows teachers and students to input essays, stories and assignments into the site to find out how many Membean words were imbedded in your writing, as well as color coding them based on their level.

With most, if not all, English teachers requiring Membean as a weekly assignment, and the addition of the software as a way to check if the training is transferred into writing, the CMC is a place that provides quality, “more enjoyable” Membean training.

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