Student Advisory Committee Gives Students a Voice


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Freshmen work to generate ideas with the help of a teacher during a class assembly.

Saskia Van't Hof, Features Editor

On September 21, Southern Lehigh High School held its first Student Advisory Council meeting during spartan period. About 25 students from different grades gathered to pitch ideas directly to SLHS administrators and teachers.

The Student Advisory Council is a group formed this year by new principal Mrs. Beth Guarriello. Students are randomly selected from a list of over 70 volunteers to meet every month to discuss the school’s most pressing issues and share their thoughts on decisions being made around the school.

“[The Student Advisory Council] was just a collection of diverse students talking about the issues that mattered to them specifically. Like I talked about givings honors weight for the arts program and the classes we take for them,” senior Eme Sargent said. “Overall, I thought it was really useful and eye-opening because we got to hear the administrators’ input.”

Students brought up many ideas at the discussion. A few common issues included the lack of parking spaces, restrictions on internet access, the need for a turf field, more time in between classes, and the most mentioned topic of all, urinal dividers. The forum gave a chance for students and administrators to speak directly to one another on what they viewed was most important.

“The meeting was really inclusive and open. They accepted a lot of questions and it didn’t feel like they were trying to push any questions off or anything. They gave a lot of honest answers to pressing questions,” sophomore Evan Wimmer said.

However, Mrs. Guarriello stressed that not every suggestion can be made possible. The administration is taking every idea into consideration, but big changes to school districts can take a lot of time.

“Somethings we can control, some things we can’t. We can’t make more parking spots, but we can for example do different things with graduation,” Mrs. Guarriello said. “I know we’re going to put a senior video together this year. And when was brought up as a suggestion, I was really happy to say ‘We’re already on it!.’”

The Student Advisory Council is part of Mrs. Guariello’s effort to bring more communication and openness to the school. In addition to the student advisory council, she is also in the works of forming more groups for students and faculty alike to have a voice.

During the first week of school, Mrs. Guarriello and the assistant principals held assemblies for each grade. Each class was able to get together at once to discuss their own priorities. Mrs. Guarriello had students break up into groups to discuss ideas and write them down on posters. Students presented these posters to the administration and the rest of the student body in attendance.

“The things I feel have the most potential are the things like the student meetings, the faculty council meetings, and the parent meetings where we can actually start talking about substantial, important, big things that will have longer lasting impacts,” Mrs. Guarriello said. “That’s what I’m most excited about moving toward: empowering more of the students, empowering more of the staff to take your school back. Because it’s really not my school, it’s your school.”