High School Sorority Works to Revamp and Revive

With new leadership taking over, Logansport’s high school sorority works to demonstrate original values
For Septembers service project, Sub Debs write letters to give to residents at a local nursing home. When writing, small groups, also known as color groups, got together as a bonding activity.
For September’s service project, Sub Debs write letters to give to residents at a local nursing home. When writing, small groups, also known as color groups, got together as a bonding activity.
Courtesy of Gretchen Prifogle

According to Teenage Film, in 1945, a new group of teenage girls, known as the “Sub-Deb Club” exploded in popularity. The Midwest was particularly hit by the newfound high school sororities, which ended up causing chaos. Originally what started as a community service group that demonstrated sisterhood, loyalty, rituals, and bonding turned into an insulting, ridiculous and demoralizing club.

Although not a school-affiliated club, Sub Debs has been around Logansport for many years. For unknown reasons the high school sorority became unrecognized as a school club during the 1990s. This school year, senior Gretchen Prifogle has taken over as president.

“Sub Debs is a group of 32 upperclassmen women devoted to community service and helping change the school and county,” Prifogle said. “The whole structure of Sub Debs is a big sister, little sister kind of thing. Seniors are the so-called big sisters while the juniors are the little sisters. They work as a team to get all the service projects done as well as bond with people that they probably wouldn’t have known before. It also just gives people the opportunity to get closer to people because they have to do so much together.” 

With new leadership taking control this year, Prifogle has new goals and changes she wants to implement. 

“This year I have a lot planned and changes being made,” Prifogle said. “First off, I added five or six seniors, and you’re not supposed to do that. But, I did. You’re really only supposed to add juniors.”

Senior Gretchen Prifogle gives junior Lily Newell a basket filled with her favorite snacks and items. A main structure of Sub Debs is a big sister and little sister pairing. At the beginning of the new school year, senior girls are matched with junior girls. (Courtesy of Gretchen Prifogle)

One of the main things that Prifogle has changed was the hazing process that Sub Debs created to initiate new members. 

“I got rid of the hazing process because I found out it was illegal,” Prifogle said. “You’re not even supposed to do it in colleges, so I was wondering why we were doing it in high school then. So, because I got rid of the hazing process, our initiation was just a fun little hangout thing. We ate dinner together and played games. It was a lot of fun.” 

Another member of Sub Debs is senior Dania Fermoselle, who holds the title of treasurer. 

“I just collect money,” Fermoselle said. “If we ever have any fundraisers or anything like that, I’ll be the one to collect the money and take it to the bank. If Gretchen needs money, for example, for the dance, she’ll come to me, and I’ll be the one to withdraw it. I just handle all the finances.”

After being a part of an inactive club her junior year, Fermoselle is excited to see all the changes.

“Honestly, I like all the changes being made,” Fermoselle said. “I feel like Sub Debs used to just be written on paper, saying we’re a community service group, but not a lot of community service was done. Especially in recent years, we haven’t done much. I’m really glad that Gretchen is revamping it and reviving the group. She’s making the group what it was originally meant for.”

Since Sub Debs was originally made to be a club devoted to community service, Prifogle has made it a goal to really incorporate that more than it ever has been before.

“My goal for Sub Debs is to have a service project every single month,” Prifogle said. “For September, we wrote letters to nursing home residents, and we’re bringing them little flowers just to brighten their days. Then for October, we’re going on the Breast Cancer Awareness Walk. So, that is raising money for breast cancer, and it’s just a fun bonding activity to hang out with people in the club.”

Prifogle also has some other activities planned. 

After changing the initiation process of Sub Debs, senior Gretchen Prifogle holds a dinner and craft/game night to kick off the year. (Courtesy of Gretchen Prifogle)

“I have some plans possibly with the Parks and Rec Department, and around Christmas time, we’ll probably have a food/clothing drive for homeless shelters,” Prifogle said. “There’s definitely all kinds of stuff that is happening.”

After hearing about the new changes being made for Sub Debs, some juniors were influenced to join the club this year.

“From my understanding, when I first heard about Sub Debs, it was going to be a majority of community service,” junior Kailyn Langley said. “I heard from my friend Andy Rojas that Carissa Dawson and Gretchen Prifogle wanted to be more active with the club. There are a lot of clubs within the high school that aren’t really active, but they wanted to actually be active and do more.” 

A big reason, especially this year, that people want to get involved with Sub Debs is to really show their involvement within the community.

“I wanted to get a lot more community service through it, and it was a great addition to my college applications, showing my involvement with community service,” Langley said. “I think all the projects we have done and are planning to do are actually for good causes.”

Even though the upperclassmen girls have been in the club for only two years, they hope to continue to see the club grow beyond their years.

“I hope that we become a bigger group in the next few years,” Fermoselle said. “Even though I won’t be here, I hope that they continue on most of the traditions that we have and the new ones that Gretchen has set. I hope that we do more community service in general and have a positive impact on the community.”

As the club continues to grow and have a successful year, Prifogle shares her goals and the envision of Sub Debs’s future. 

“I hope to see Sub Debs continue growing,” Prifogle said. “I’ve been so passionate about Sub Debs this past year. I hope there is a junior girl that is coming up that is just as passionate and excited to keep it going because it is a really great idea and club to build women up and work together. You don’t have a lot of power in the world, and if this is a way we can take some leadership and be in charge, it is just so incredible. I just want to keep going and get bigger.”

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    Josh FlynnOct 9, 2023 at 3:15 pm

    Great job on this story!

    Josh Flynn, Pharos-Tribune