On May 6th, the student body met virtually to elect members to fill student council positions for the 2020-2021 school year. Although it was a tight race with all very promising candidates, the student body named Lisa Kopelnik ‘21 and Cole Wogan ‘21 as All-School Co-Presidents, Sophie Coutu ‘21 and Loucas Xenakis ‘21 as All-School Spirit Masters, Audrey Hardtke ‘22 as All-School Secretary, and Hayden Thompson ‘23 as All-School Treasurer.
With the future for the school year being so uncertain, it is important that the School’s leadership has clear first steps for the time to come, whether that be in a distance-learning format or not.
All-School Co-Presidents Kopelnik and Wogan are working to figure out ways to create change from home. Some of their immediate goals include creating adult-free forums over Google Meet for the student body to voice their opinions and ideas and sending Google Forms where students can vote on policy proposals. Some of their goals for the year include frequent meetings with the administration, “specifically the Board of Student Life, the Board of Finances and Financial Administration” (Kopelnik). They also want to work with Ms. Pak and Ms. Tucker and “make sure we’re updated on teacher training.”
Despite our current distance-learning format, they don’t believe we need to halt all of the projects started this year, and there is still lots of work that can be accomplished from home and online. Some of their goals include implementing consistent consent training, creating clear policies surrounding the use of derogatory language, and combating the School’s issues with racism, homophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia. The newly-elected Co-Presidents are making it a point to prioritize policy creation and increased communication within the community and with the administration.
By the end of their term, they want the School to be a less stressful place that cares about the emotional wellbeing of the students, prioritizes their needs, and is a safer place for marginalized communities.
The All-School Spirit Masters Coutu and Xenakis are “prepared to go to any lengths they need to in order to make spirit inclusive, community-oriented, and fun for everyone” (Coutu). They are planning to close out the year on a high note and work with Interim Head of the Upper School Saya McKenna, administration, and student council to work through the current circumstances. Some of their ideas include a virtual lip-sync and other fun events and challenges that are online-accessible. They also want to reach out to the community for ideas and opinions and increase communication with the student body and administration. They’ve already taken the initiative to involve the students in their plans through a Google Form accessible via their Instagram (@chaboi_spirit_2020).
Next year, they’re planning on rebooting spirit committee to reach out to different grades and keep everyone in the loop and bring back the fan-favorite game of Assassin (given that we’re back in school). They want to determine students’ favorite traditions in spirit and introduce new ones. They intend to implement more school-wide events like a field day and spaces where students can come together and take a break from the stressful school environment. Their main goals for the year are to increase transparency, encourage people to have fun, and foster community through participation in spirit days.
All-School Secretary Hardtke wants to work on finishing the projects that were started this year, such as the Incident Feedback Form, and working with the administration to create harsher rules surrounding racial slurs. After finalizing those, she wants to start working on the goals mentioned in the leadership’s campaigns and make the student council more transparent. In order to accomplish this objective, she wants to utilize social media and make an Instagram account specifically for the student council to promote and increase communication. Ideas for said account include polls for quick feedback and weekly to bi-weekly posts to keep the student body informed.
Finally, All-School Treasurer Thompson wants to do more fundraising (whether it be online or in-person) next year for both the student council and outside organizations. She admits that planning student events will be more difficult during a pandemic, but she is willing to work with the business office to make the proper adjustments. She also wants to fund more clubs, make it easier for them to reach out, plan more student events if possible, and encourage the student body to input ideas. She is ready to listen to her fellow student council members and allocate funds to whatever requires increased funding, ranging from spirit days to racial training and mental health days. Her main priority is improving student experience, and she wants to put funding towards activities and events that benefit the students the most.
Overall, the leaders’ main goals are to create lasting and meaningful change, increase transparency, and make the school year great for everyone, whether online or in-person. Student council advisor Ms. McKenna is also hopeful for this upcoming school year, stating, “I was so pleased to see so many invested students put themselves forward as candidates for leadership. Their statements and platforms reflected very detailed and comprehensive goals for building and strengthening our community and delivering upon our mission—especially by continuing to elevate and address the issues raised by our community of color. This is important work at any time, but especially so in a period of distance and disruption. There is a lot of important and challenging work ahead of us as we return to campus in the 20-21 SY, and this team seems well-equipped and committed to delivering upon their goals of prioritizing the student experience.”