As I have observed so far in my time in high school, student leadership has played an almost totally insignificant role here at Parkview. Out of all the students that run for Student Council in my grade level, few of them have addressed specific issues with our school and how they would solve them.
It just seems that student leadership in our school has almost no beneficial function for the school community whatsoever as of now. If a student wants to be in the position of a representative in Student Council, he or she can just simply come up with a slick slogan and hand out treats to his or her fellow classmates .
I am not referring to the student leadership in all four grade levels. I have talked to notable leadership figures among the seniors like Harshal Choksi and Niki Ozburn, and they have sufficiently explained that they are competent of helping our school community. It is mainly the leadership of my graduating class, the class of 2016, who just do not seem to list their major accomplishments nor explain what they are specifically planning to do to make our school a better place. I have asked several teachers, including one of the assistant principals, yet I have only heard very few accomplishments done. One notable one was the recent changing of our school’s cell phone policy that members of the Gwinnett Student Leadership Team have convinced administrators to enact. However, the worthiness and benefits of that achievement are yet to be seen.
As far as I can remember from last year’s student council elections, candidates ran on almost nothing besides their popularity. By election day, it all came down to unnecessary issues such as who had the best looking campaign poster and who was best at being a slick celebrity. None of the candidates presented an agenda that listed what they would do to reform or fix the main problems plaguing our school community.
This has been the same case with this year’s Beta club elections. Only one of the students running was able to demonstrate that she could be taken seriously, and she rightfully earned my vote by laying out an agenda of what she would do to fix the problems that were preventing the club from functioning properly. For me, watching the candidates deliver their speeches on stage was equivalent to watching Disaster Movie. I found it hard to take most of the candidates seriously despite their catchy slogans and their “leadership” skills that they touted. In the election for one of the Beta officer positions, all of the candidates simply mumbled their speeches, something that I ended up cringing so much that I simply could not vote for any of them. The winner of that position could not present me an agenda of what he would contribute to making Beta Club a viable entity in our school.
For all its great intentions, student leadership altogether at Parkview High has withered down to none other than a good ol’ boys and girls club filled with mostly amicable kids who are not uniquely qualified to have leadership positions of our graduating class, except that they look like they do. It is at best a comical entity of our school that does very little to devote to its duty of letting other students get in touch with the administrators, which would allows students to have input about certain rules such as the dress code and the recently loosened cell phone policy.
“We have to find the tie between the administrators and students,” Harshal told me as we discussed this. However, meeting this challenge will depend on how students commit in their elected leadership positions. As I have observed since I was a freshman here, most students in my grade level do not seem to live up to their commitment when they become part of student council or other leadership organizations.
Still, there is no doubt that student leadership should always be a part of high school “I think students to evaluate more on who they are voting for a particular student for a leadership position,” Mr. Murphy has also told me.
In addition to Mr. Murphy’s statement, I would also suggest that any student considering to run for a leadership position ought to elaborate more on why they are running besides benefiting their college resumes. Student leaders also need to address important issues that still plague our school such as the dress code. We need more kids in student leadership who are willing to imitate what a few kids in GSLT have done to strengthen the connection between administrators and students so they can make the learning environment more compatible with their peers.
The recent revision of the cell phone policy is one example of how kids can demonstrate their competence as leaders, yet other leadership organizations like Student Council do little of this.
I never wanted to be this negative about student leadership in our school, but this is the cold hard truth about what it has come down to recently. I understand that there are some students like Harshal, Niki, and Sarah Nguyen who are in leadership positions and can at least be taken seriously. I am glad about what they do and what the rest of GSLT and Student Council have done to help our community such as giving aid to a person whose house tragically burnt down and bolstering fundraising for Relay for Life. However, being that most teachers and student leaders who I have asked can barely name a single achievement by these leadership groups of our school tells me that kids involved in these groups have learned little from their experience in their leadership roles since they do little to demonstrate what they have learned. Thus, it will depend on these kids to show their sense of purpose if student leadership is to reverse its current course towards becoming a lackluster spoils system.