The Student Council is a student-employed structure present within high schools all over America. Generally, councils are comprised of a body of elected members, working together to provide opportunities for school-wide student expression. However, it is oftentimes the case that the very students the Council advocates for are not fully aware of all that the student organization does. Bedford High School students are not an exception; many do not understand the Council’s overarching goals for the year, or have much awareness regarding the complexity of the organization. Olivia Archard, the student council vice president of the sophomore class, provides an insight into this elusive, yet integral, part of our high school.
Upon each Student Council election in the fall, each respective class gets the opportunity to hear their representatives speak on what their goals are for their coming council term. However, the overarching goals of the whole council is rarely explicitly stated. Primarily, Archard States, the Student Council is “Trying to make BHS a more fun environment, because, obviously, it’s a school; so, it’s filled with academics and very rigorous studies. So, we’re trying to promote the ‘pep in the step’; the pep rallies, the dances, to try to make BHS a fun environment, and an inclusive environment.” Particularly for students who take demanding courses, the Council works hard to provide fun opportunities with classmates outside of an academic environment. Dances and pep rallies are a fantastic way for students to socialize with their peers, and to relieve the everyday stress accompanies the title of ‘high school student’. As an organization filled with students who have felt these anxieties, the Council wants to create memorable and fun nights for everyone in the high school to enjoy.
Although the social experience is a primary focus of the Council, they also have the power to cause change in school policy by working directly with Mr. Hagen and Mr. Jozokos. The esteemed Community Senate holds meetings that the Student Council Senator and President, from each class, attend to discuss issues and concerns of the student body. As vice president, Archard does not necessarily have a firsthand experience of the senate meetings, but the President often relays the details of these conferences with the rest of the council. Most of the meetings, Archard explain, cover relevant issues that affect BHS at large. “Last meeting, I think they were talking about implementing cameras in certain hallways to ensure that bomb threats were taken care of.” Bomb threats are a reality that has been somewhat ingrained within BHS culture. They are becoming more prevalent, and this disturbing trend has students and parents alike discussing the possibility of security cameras. The Community Senate, a sect of the Student Council, is actively working to reach a solution to this issue, and the ability to incite change within the school depends on what is decided.
The Community Senate is only one of the many sects that fall under the umbrella of Student Council. Others include the Prom Committee, which is primarily spearheaded by upperclassmen, and the Honor Code Committee. Archard contributes to the latter, asserting that “As far as if someone is accused of breaking the honor code we help ensure that their voices are heard, that our voices are heard, that we have a uniformed choice on taking action, to prevent cheating” The Honor Code is an expectation of all students here at Bedford, and a standard that some fail to meet. However, if ever one is in the situation where they are accused of cheating, and they stand to get a zero on an assessment, they still have an opportunity to prove their innocence. The Honor Committee, which hold meetings that Archard attends, fights to give students a voice in this situation. So, on top of providing fun events, the Council also focuses on supporting students and allowing them second chances in difficult situations.
Even within the class councils themselves, there falls many divided sects, all handling different responsibilities. Archard names these different roles, beginning with the Class President, who, as previously mentioned, attends Senate meetings, and speaks with our principal and vice principal on pressing issues. Then, she speaks on her own role as vice president, “I do RWL hours; I can make new options to achieve hours, and I can advertise new ways for students to get hours. However, I don’t approve them in any way, that all goes through Ms. Woods.” With approval, the vice president could ask for outside aid to Student Council events in exchange for hours; for example, asking for a friend to help decorate for the dance could garner some of those sweet Real World Learning benefits. Next up, the Chief Entertainment officer, who heads the Prom committee, and who, Archard states “deals with the planning of those dances.” the CEO also brings ideas about dances to the forefront, and generally has responsibility for most entertainment events. The Public Relations role mans the Instagram and Twitter, as well as makes posters for the Council. The Officer at Large, comparable to the role of the White House Press Secretary, keeps lines of communication up between the student body and the Council. And, finally, the Senator, as previously mentioned, attends the Community Senate meetings alongside the Class President. As one can see, the student council requires a lot of responsibility from its members, and it occupies a lot of facets of BHS.
A less defined separation occurs between the classes on the Council. Although the Council as a whole works together to achieve the same goals, each class has different focuses specific to their peers. Upperclassmen, for example, comprise most of the Prom Committee. The Senior class tends to organize all-student council meetings “because of their seniority”, as Archard states. However, Archard asserts, in class-specific matters, “Seniors’ ideas don’t necessarily trump, like, the freshman’s” So, the decision-making process is not entirely based upon age. However, some specific roles emerge when organizing school dances “Freshmen do concessions at dances, Sophomores do decorations, Juniors sell ticket, and Seniors advertise. However, when it comes to picking the themes, we all contribute ideas” Archard states, explaining how, despite some class-specific roles, the Student Council is very inclusive for members of all ages. A large part of Student Council, in fact, is the ability of the organization to work smoothly together.
One such common goal that the Council works towards is fundraising, and is completely vital to creating the fun environment that the Council aspires to. The random days of free ice cream do not simply materialize; they are a direct results of the Council’s fundraising. On where excess funds go, Archard explains, “Majority of them do go the Senior year. Whatever we have at the end of the year, which, you’d hope is around a couple thousand dollars, is going to make prom a lot better.” A large priority of the Council includes focusing on the Seniors, and their experience at their final year in BHS. The student experience is a large priority for the Council, and who deserves the attention more than our graduating class?
The Student Council is a complex organization with many working parts, that Archard and her peers believe every BHS student should understand and come to appreciate. The Council ensures that every student’s year is memorable and fun, and actively works towards improving relevant issues. So, readers, thank your Class Representatives today, for all that they do not only for students, but for what they contribute to the larger Bedford Community.