Student voice sparks change

Megan A. '20, Writer

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In the upcoming 2019 – 2020 school year, Olentangy High school will elect students to act as the school’s government. When students vote, they are more likely to be engaged with politics. There is also a better chance for direct change within the school’s environment, and this is exactly what Principal Robert Griffiths wants to achieve.

“Last year, students who took the senior survey wanted more student  voice,” Griffiths said, ”so I want students from now on to have the opportunity to be heard.”

When students are elected, they take a more active role in the school. Individuals develop qualities such as drive, leadership, influencing, multitasking, organising, communication and negotiating according to Prospects. With permission, students will be able run effective meetings and manage small school budgets for events such as homecoming, prom or charity events.

“I would like to get a school wide election [in the upcoming future], because I want the students to decide who is going to be the student representative,” Griffths said.

When this group of individuals take an active role, this will allow them to interact with students from different backgrounds and sometimes this can also create strong, functional, long-lasting friendships. Students also have the opportunity to grow as individuals as well as becoming more aware of the voting process even during real elections. In 2008, 21 percent of young people between the ages 18 and 29 were not registered to vote and 6 percent did not know where and how to register to vote according to Campus Vote Project. The goal is to help students explore their options of voting and introduce the idea to future voters.

“I want a real student council that is making decisions and doing the work,” Griffiths said. “The best way to do that is to get them up and running, give them the voice and let them make decisions.”

In every grade, a couple of students will be elected to represent their grade and make tough decisions for the student body. In student council, there will be a senior president, and a sophomore or junior will be the Vice President. These students were originally officers who moved up within the club.

“Student council means to me that you are willing to step out of the way to be involved and care about the staff and your peers by being behind the scenes,” Khanhinh M. ‘21 said.

Khanhinh has been apart of student council since her freshman year and she is the sophomore vice president this year, she had the opportunity to create student council’s constitution.

“We created it as a rule book or more of an explanation of what positions, rules, requirements and objectives we are supposed to have in student council,” she said.

Right now, the students are voted by teachers and club members and Griffiths hopes to get to a school wide election in the upcoming school year. As of now, student council is responsible for events such as charities, donations, parties, activities and working to get money into each grade levels’ bank account. However, next year, they will also be responsible for anything students would like in the school.

“Student council is the voice of the students,” Griffiths said. “They can bring anything to me, so can principal’s advisory.”
Principal’s advisory is a newer club formed in the fall of 2018, in which students volunteered and were then handpicked by their homeroom teachers. People involved have the opportunity to speak with Griffiths about topics or events in the school.

“Principal’s advisory and student council will check on one another and balance out the opinions,”Griffiths said. “Students deserve to be heard and I want them to utilize this opportunity.”