Blue Prints

Class officers return, drawing mixed reaction from students

Aidan McMillian, Staff Writer

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At the beginning of the year,
the class advisors and the school
administrators decided to eliminate
the positions of class officers
after a constant struggle to
make them work. Now, at the
end of the first semester, the
class officers have been reinstated
because of a few parents and
students who believed in their
importance.
When the decision to
get rid of student elections was
announced, a group of concerned
parents and residents
approached the school administration
and the superintendent
about this choice. Those in
charge eventually agreed to bring
back elections for class officers
and their various positions.
Senior Alan Cunningham has
been fighting to get class officers
back since it was announced
they were removed in October.
He wants to give every student
a voice. He provided this written
response: “The importance
of student elections is the voice
that it gives every student. Not
every student chooses to run,
but that doesn’t mean they don’t
have opinions on what the class
should be doing. Having a vote
and a voice allows these students
to have a bridge into decisions
made on their behalf.”
The election allows for a democracy
where students get to
vote on which of their peers will
best represent their class.
However, not everyone agrees
that the system in the school was
working. Several people said that
the class officers were not meeting
their expectations and that,
because of this, the advisors were
having difficulty managing the
responsibilities that fell to them.
Many of the students who were
elected were either unaware of
their responsibilities or neglected
them, leaving their responsibilities
to be taken care of by their
advisors.
Tyler Wenzel, a junior, said, “I
think the advisors found it hard
to keep the class officers responsible
for what they had to do.”
Senior advisor Lauren Pszczolkowski
said, “The class officers
weren’t doing their jobs…
It just wasn’t what it should have
been.”
On top of that, most students
voting in class elections in previous
years could not make an informed
vote for their officers because
of how the elections were
run. Candidates did not make
speeches and were not given opportunities
to share their ideas or
advocate for why they were the
most eligible. Therefore, students
could not get a true sense of who
to vote for. Candidates did not
run based on ideas or goals that
were made public, so students
were constrained to voting based
based on what little information
By AIDAN McMILLIAN
Staff Writer
they had, often coming down to
the popularity of the candidate.
New requirements for candidates
were put in place this year
in the hopes of deterring students
who were merely running
for the title or were unaware
of the responsibilities that they
were signing up for. These included
a petition with one hundred
student signatures, a letter
of intent, and several teacher
recommendations. However,
according to some, these precautions
were not too effective.
Many thought that the system
that replaced class officers
was working well and that the
reinstatement of class officers
was unnecessary. This new system
is called the class advisory
board. It is a weekly or monthly
meeting — depending on your
grade — that is open to anyone
that’s committed to helping and
volunteering. In these meetings,
students plan events, fundraisers
and activities for their class.
These meetings are still run by
the class advisors, but allow as
many people to be involved as
are interested.
On these boards, students
work together as a group to get
the job done. Stephen Hill, a junior,
spoke about the advisory
board. He said, “It’s really productive
… It’s all one voice.”
There is not a lot of recognition
and no titles given to board
members, so their attitudes
toward working hard must be
authentic. Only people who are
genuinely interested in being involved
in class decisions attend.
These students can work hard
for the betterment of the school
without needing the recognition
or playing into the politics of being
a class officer.
Having a larger group, as opposed
to the previous four class
officer positions, also allows for
the workload to be less for each
individual. Furthermore, since
anyone is allowed in the group,
a variety of voices can be heard.
Because this advisory board
has has been proven successful,
the junior class board decided
that they would not have class
officers. Everyone who ran for
the junior class, forfeited their
positions to sit as equal members
on the board.
While this format has shown
success for others, there is one
grade that this does not seem
to apply to. The freshman class
advisory board, run by Jeffrey
Mickiewicz, only has two regular
attendees. One attendee,
and now freshman class officer,
Kelly Baran said, “We lack good
communication. [Information]
is not really being told effectively.”
There hasn’t been enough
outreach to freshmen so not
many seem to know the board
exists. Freshman Nora Smith said,
“I would have joined [the class advisory
boards] if I knew something
about it, but I didn’t hear about it until
my friends
joined. Even
then, I didn’t
know where
to go or how
to be on it.”
She reflects
the feeling
that many
have, which
is that for the
class advisory
boards
to work well,
they need
to be widely
publicized, so
that there can
be a diversity of voices and a large
amount of committed students like
there are in the three other grades.
This lack of communication also
left many confused about the new
system for electing class officers
once they were reinstated.
To become a candidate, new
standards required students had to
get one hundred signatures from
classmates in their own grade. This
kind of petitioning was put in place
to get candidates talking to other
students.
“We are hoping that will encourage
kids to talk and say ‘This is why
you should nominate me,’” Pszczolkowski
said.
There was a lot of talk around
the petition, however, not all of it
was good.
Although the petitions were
supposed to encourage communication
about class related ideas
between the candidates and their
peers, in reality this was not the
case. Junior Brandon Parker
said, “I got a hundred signatures
in one hour, just to prove it was a
popularity contest.”
Students who are on the class advisory
boards were notified of the
petitions many days before the rest
of the student body.
Multiple students shied away
from running for office once they
realized that the board students already
had the advantage. Since each
student could only sign one candidate’s
petition, potential candidates
who started after the board members
could not possibly get enough
signatures. Mathematically, there
are not enough students in each
class to allow for more than three
candidates to gain the required signatures.
This happened to freshman
Ryan Cudworth.
He wrote in a statement, “The
petitioning process for officers
was absolutely unfair to those who
wanted to get in on the race. The
start of the campaign was not
well-publicized after it was announced
there would be no class
officers, people could only sign
one petition, leaving only a handful
of spots open for candidates,
and most people who knew about
the race were already in the class
advisory board.”
This system has limited the
amount of people who could run.
Since there are only about three
hundred students per grade, and
each candidate has to get one hundred
different signatures, it would
be impossible to have more than
three people on the ballot.
All things considered, the election
of class officers allows for every student
to make a choice on who will
represent them, while the class advisory
board brings in a committed,
hardworking group of students who
work efficiently and include a variety
of voices. Both of these systems
have their pros and cons, but for either
or both of them to work there
needs to be better communication
between the leaders in the school
and the students. Hopefully, with
class officers being re added to the
class boards, presidents, senior Bella
Lombardo, sophomore Rose Cunningham,
and freshman Kelly Baran
and the junior class board, will help
this communication improve.

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Class officers return, drawing mixed reaction from students