Inside Student Council
Avenues Middle Grades is in its second year with a Student Council. Have you ever wondered what they are up to? I talked to Bernard Geoxavier, a grades 6-9 Dean and advisor for Middle Grades Student Council meetings. These Student Council meetings are open meetings. They meet on Tuesdays in the Seventh Floor Commons. If you are interested in attending, you are more than welcome to. However, here is a little insight on what has been going on.
What is something the student council is focusing on?
“Student council was focusing on the food drive and is always trying to be a conduit for the students to the administration.” says Mr. Geoxavier.
Are there any big events for the Middle Grades in these few coming months?
“We are going to have some kind of community building event towards the end of December, especially when winter seminar gets under way. When we get back in January, we are going to try and get a winter field day, but we do not know if we can pull it off. We do know that toward the spring we are looking at grade level trips overnight.”
What is the point or main goal of student council this year?
There are so many times when a student can bring up a good idea or a good proposal, or a good suggestion, or a good change. As adults, we are cognizant that we are here to educate you, but we realize that we may not have all of the answers. We do not know the experience walking in your shoes and it is important to get the students perspective on how to make their day better or how to make school more productive. If kids want to make a change in the world and they want to organize and speak with one voice, to send a message to administration that they would like to see x, y, z, or they don’t like x, y, z, we need to create a forum for that, because if we are going to train you to be self-advocating, we need to give you a forum of which you can do it.
Is what some of our new 6th grade representatives were pitching such as “less homework” and “more lunch time” actually possible?
I think one of the things we, especially the 6th grade representatives should consider, is taking a poll of how much time a student is taking to do their homework on a given day, because with actual data and feedback, we can go to the teachers. A teacher can say, ‘this project takes 15 minutes,’ but for the class it takes like half an hour. So that targeted feedback can help teachers make thinking more effective. More lunch time, we can try to work at it but realistically if we were going to change the schedule, it might have to wait until next year.”
Who decides what to prioritize in the student council meetings?
Ideally the representatives do and Alexis Kim [Student Council President]. The representatives can bring something up and Alexis Kim can decide what we vote on. If I have something that I want to bring to student council, it is really on the representatives and Alexis Kim what to prioritize.
How can student council members bring their ideas to the table?
Just get feedback from the kids in your grade and directly bring it up in Student Council. You can say, “ Hey these 6th graders have been bringing this thing up to me, can we talk about it?”
Is there anything that you want the community of Avenues to know?
Student council is here, it exists, it is working along you, so take advantage.
These are a couple of questions I asked Elias Tejpaul, a 6th grade representative.
What has been a challenge? What has been the best part?
“The best part of student council is that I LOVE helping people, just the fact that I get to solve people's problems is awesome!”
“What's been challenging is incorporating everyone’s ideas and blend them together so everyone likes the idea that is proposed. Also, we all need to work on compromising ideas.”
What do you think is the purpose of student council?
“I think the purpose of student council is:
For students to have a voice in their school community, and by having representatives there is more of an opportunity for conversation and change.”
These are few questions that I asked Alexis Kim, the student council President.
Will we ever get more recess?
“Right now, I cannot give you an exact answer to your recess question, however, I do assure you that we are working on things that we get more complaints on.”
Will there be a movie night?
“As of now, it is one of our priorities to create a movie night. So what I can say without regret is most likely.”
Is there any way you can get input from students?
“The way we get input from the students as of now is sending out grade wide emails. However, if you have anything on your mind anybody can come up to me.”
As a leader, how do you feel about running student council? How is student council working as a team?
“To answer your first question I feel that running student council is a very fun opportunity. I've always loved the idea of the student council, being student-run to help the students.
I think that this experience so far has been a rollercoaster of emotions for me. First, I felt nervous, I mean it's hard to stand up in front of a big crowd but I turned that nervousness into motivation. To answer your second question, I think that the student council is a bit of a rollercoaster as well. I mean we have our highs and lows, although we always make it out on top.”
What are your biggest priorities?
“My biggest priorities right now are related to food. Many of the students have been complaining about snack so we have been trying to address that by looking into new snack options.”
What do you think is the purpose of the student council?
“I think the purpose of student council is to represent the students and be a voice for the student body when they need to communicate their thoughts to the faculty and administration.”
Is there anything else you'd like the students to know?
“Yes, one major thing is, we are working on Frost Valley and trips like that. Many people have been expressing their want for it and I assure you it comes up a lot.”