“The Student Council doesn’t do anything. There goes the Student Council, not following through on their promises.” These statements are frequently heard around The Gregory School among the student body. So far this year, many people seem to have the belief that the Upper School Student Council (STUCO) doesn’t do anything around campus or for the student body. That assumption is completely wrong.
Before people read this article, they’ll be thinking that I have a bias because I’m Vice President of STUCO. They’re probably right, but I encourage everyone to look at all the Student Council’s accomplishments throughout the year so far and think again whether or not we have really done nothing.
STUCO began preparing for this year immediately after elections for executive members and representatives took place last May. Throughout the summer, the executive members were in touch, working with different members of the school to see when we could hold certain events.
After finalizing dates for all our events, we needed to amend the STUCO constitution to make sure that all members were acting appropriately and that we were doing exactly what we were supposed to do.
As a TGS club, STUCO needed to make sure that we were working well together and improving our own leadership skills. To do this, we attended the Arizona Association of Student Council’s Annual Retreat in August in order to work with other student councils across the state to improve the way we function. In the four and a half months that school has been in session, STUCO has planned and implemented a series of different things, ranging from the new house system, the amended house system based on popular demand that divided houses by grade, to a successful 30th anniversary Homecoming, which included booths, house wars, and an Eegee’s lunch. We organized a pajama game night, and incentivized attendance with an iPad Mini raffle. Additionally, we planned parts of the Volleyball Senior Night, which was also a success.
STUCO believes in giving back to the Southern Arizona community, which we have worked hard to do. We were able to collect huge amounts of canned food during our food drive, and are currently working on more charitable activities, such as Penny Wars, to implement during the holiday season.
If people remember, there was a fair amount of discontent at the beginning of the school year due to the new schedule that required students to be in tutorial for half an hour every day before they could eat lunch. STUCO, after observing the unhappiness, acted as the voice of the student body and spoke with Head of School, Dr. Julie Sherrill. We worked hard to create a new schedule that allowed students the freedom of choosing to go to tutorial if they were doing well academically.
With all these events and improvements to TGS that STUCO worked very hard on, it is often hurtful to members who put in countless hours of effort to not receive any gratitude in return. “I feel cheated,” junior and Secretary Gabi Ventola said.
Student Body President and Senior Riley Matulewic shared sentiments similar to Ventola’s. “It can be annoying when people criticize STUCO and say we don’t do anything,” she said. “STUCO, like I’ve said earlier, is not just an event planning committee. Our responsibilities include being a bridge between students and administration, and bettering the community overall.”
Seemingly, the reason people dislike Student Council is because they dislike school sponsored events and school related activities in general. In short, the students here have no school spirit. “The student body shows a lack of interest in the student council’s activities,” Ventola said. “They have no right to tell us we don’t do anything when they do not attend any of the events or participate in the activities.”
While Matulewic’s main goal as President this year has been to increase school spirit, a goal she and the rest of STUCO have tried to achieve through various events, the student body has continuously seemed to shy away from these efforts.
While students are repeatedly reminded to dress up for Spirit Days, participate in house wars, like the soccer and dodgeball games we had during Homecoming week, they just don’t follow through. STUCO members constantly make announcements during meetings to make sure people are aware of all the upcoming activities. We repeatedly send emails to the student body. We consistently make posters that are put up across campus to remind people of various events. We even created a Snapchat account to communicate with students! Yet we still hear that people didn’t know that a Spirit Friday was taking place.
“Rather than the student body just saying that we don’t do anything, they should understand that we can only do things within reason. Obviously STUCO doesn’t have the power to eliminate homework or make Late Starts every Monday,” Ventola said. The Gregory School needs to understand that while STUCO strives to be the eyes, ears, and voice of the TGS student body, there are some things that are simply out of our control.
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