Student Council elections are changing this year in an effort to make students more engaged in the process. This year’s candidates wrote short responses to the following questions:
- Can you give an example of a time when you followed through with a meaningful commitment?
- Describe two specific ideas you have for making u-32 more democratic.
- Should U-32 raise the Black Lives Matter flag? Explain.
- What is another important decision that students should have a say in? What do you think should happen?
- What could Student Council do to make U-32 more fun?
Your job, as voters, is to read over the candidates’ positions in order to decide who you want to vote for. Please do not reveal the names of the candidates before you read their responses.
9A’s Response: Dance is a big commitment in my life. I had to learn to give up other things in order to put dance first, and it’s taught me to stay true to my commitments. I commonly have to cancel plans that interfere with dance, because this commitment is something that is meaningful to me.
9B’s Response: Over the past 4 years, I’ve been committed to volunteering at the foodshelf once a month on Saturday mornings. Working at the foodshelf means a lot to me because I love helping people and giving up a bit of my time so people can get food is important to me. I believe that giving back to the community is just as important as receiving from your community.
9C’s Response: Yes, especially in sports I really put a lot of effort and work into them, I make goals for myself and I follow through with them. For example I tell myself that I need to get a certain amount of juggles by a certain day and then I put in the work and I eventually achieve that goal. I make sure to attend every practice and I put forth as much effort so I can better myself.
9D’s Response: I was in Girl Scouts for about 3 years, and sold cookies every year. Selling and delivery. And I only stopped because I moved, and I was driving 1 hour either way every Tuesday for a year to continue with my troop.
9E’s Response: I painted a under the sea themed mural in the Calais kindergarten bathrooms.
9F’s Response: An example of a time when I followed through with a meaningful commitment would be when 3 of us, at my old school, worked together to obtain a grant for an aquaponics system. A fellow classmate had previous experience which proved quite helpful. We obtained the needed equipment, tested PH levels daily, added the fish and plants, and, in essence, saw the project through. This contributed to our school community and I see it to be a meaningful commitment.
9G’s Response: For the past couple years, I have written essays for the Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest. They send out a prompt to middle school students that concerns issues of patriotism in America. Despite the fact that writing essays can be tedious and I have limited time, this is an important activity to me because it makes me think about democracy, liberty, security, and what it means to be an active member of our community.
9A’s Response: In order to make our school more democratic, I feel that we should elect a group of students that could attend school board meetings. I think that by doing this, students could have a voice on important school topics. In addition, I think that there should be something such as an anonymous box where students can voice their concerns or complaints about our school. I think this is good way for students to be involved.
9B’s Response: My first idea is that middle schoolers should be able to have their phones out during the school day. Especially, at lunch because it really isn’t any different from a high schooler using their phone during lunch. My second idea is that students could go outside during C lunch, students don’t have a choice of whether or not they have C lunch and should be able to have the choice to go out just like kids at B lunch.
9C’s Response: How could we make u-32 more democratic? We definitely need to give more power to the students in decisions made at the school, one way we could do that is teacher reviews. The people that watch teachers and review them are adults and really aren’t in the class normally, so we could hand out student surveys where they could fill out how they feel the class is and the quality of education they’re receiving. In the classroom we could lead more group arguments and talk about our different points of view. Seeing and hearing other people’s thoughts really give you a better perspective on a topic.
9D’s Response: To make U-32 more democratic, the student council needs to make the questions they’re asked, more open to the entire student body, and hear their opinions before any decisions are made.
9E’s Response: I think students should have more say in the matters at school. Especially ones like punishments (to an extent, being bullying and harrassment). We could do this by having surveys that would be completed during Monday callbacks and having the student body vote on things that matter to us.
9F’s Response: I’m not familiar with the logistics of student council but I would like easy communication between students and student council members. Ideally perhaps direct communication between students and the principal but I recognize that a council would be more adept at dealing with multiple requests at one time than one person. We can accomplish this by encouraging students to voice their opinions and send the student council an email. Maybe students could have more input on rubrics and grading tools.
9G’s Response: Student Council could send out more emails with surveys about what we can do to improve our school and what kind of activities we should plan. We should also have more callbacks with student-run activities and workshops.
9A’s Response: I think that U-32 should raise the Black Lives Matter flag because as a school that has a high percentage of white students, I think that we should make it clear that people who are black are just as welcome here as white students. I think our goal should be for all students to feel comfortable coming to school, and this is one way we can make that more of a possibility.
9B’s Response: There’s a huge significance to the black lives matter movement. However, not all students share my views and putting it up without the consensus of the student body isn’t fair either. We could raise it for a week and have a mandatory callback or 30 minute class discussion about why the flag is up and what it signifies(so that students understand it). At the end of the week students could take poll on whether or not it should stay up.
9C’s Response: It depends, I believe that black lives do matter, in fact all lives do, there is not a single person on this planet that matters more than the next. But I have noticed that this movement definitely has some political bias’s on certain subjects and tries to push some ideologies that have nothing to do with the organization. It depends on how the school handles it though, if they advertise it as black lives matter and all lives really have the same importance that’s fine, but if they push the movement in the classroom then no, it would not be ok.
9D’s Response: No, because it can viewed as offensive to some people, and it’s not the schools job to carry out political agendas.
9E’s Response: I think that we should because when we were doing the civil right project the blaamm group came into our class room and the students explained to us why it was important to them, those reasons Being that it symbolizes acceptance for all races; our new student said that he would have felt more accepted coming into a mostly white school if the flag had been flying.
9F’s Response: I believe that U32 should raise the black lives matter flag. While there are controversies surrounding this concept and historical lingerings, we, at U32, as an educational environment, teach equality and know that opinionated discriminations lack scientific validity. Appearance is no basis for differentiating people. The concept of racism exists, not races. We have been taught that the only race is the human race and raising this flag would exhibit our understanding and acceptance.
9G’s Response: I believe that U32 should raise the Black Lives Matter flag because it is not only a sign of acceptance, it also is a reason for the student body and community to engage in the discussions about race and using our platform to spread change that we need.
9A’s Response: I feel that students should have a say in the dress code for a similar reason I think that we should raise the flag. I think that students should feel comfortable at school, and having a say in what is and isn’t allowed to be on our bodies will contribute to that. I think that we should have a system put in place where students vote or express their opinion on what they think the dress code should be.
9B’s Response: School day start times. I realize that recently this has been a big topic of discussion in the school district but honestly it would be beneficial for students to go speak to people about what it would mean to them to have a later start time as they’re the ones affected by it. I think giving the student body a chance to speak to the matter might provide more insight to the topic as well.
9C’s Response: I find the small policies such as the cell phone policy or the drink policy to be very unneeded and pointless. I feel if high schoolers have the privilege of using their phone then why can’t we? I mean some people argue that we’re not mature enough or we’re not ready but I know for a fact that these high schoolers are no more mature then us middle schoolers, I truly do see the immature behavior coming from highschoolers as I walk down the school hallways. Also the drink policy is useless, I can get an applejuice that is loaded with double the amount of sugar that the vitamin water has that’s only available to the highschoolers.
9D’s Response: I believe that the student body should have more of a say of when events occur, so things such as sports events don’t affect the event or who attends. The student council council should hear the concerns of the people, and make an adequate decisions.
9E’s Response: I think that students should have a say the school start time because it effects students the most, in both Elementary and Highschools. I think students should have to take surveys about the matters during Monday TA callbacks, that way the whole school has a voice in the matter.
9F’s Response: While U32 provides a multitude of opportunities, it is lacking in certain aspects. For example U32 does not have an Ultimate Frisbee team, a debate team, a Volleyball team, etc… I recognize that some students have the motivation for clubs like these and I want to ensure that students have the opportunity to have a say in the creation, management, and existence of these potential cocurricular activities.
9G’s Response: There are many other issues that are important, but I believe that students should have a say in our grading system. Many of us don’t like proficiencies and believe they are ineffective. I will advocate for our ability to have a say in how we are graded and I will fight for the school to use a percentile grading system
9A’s Response: In order to make U-32 more fun, I think that the music that plays between classes should be more popular with the students. Also, maybe it could be louder in order for it to be heard by students in the halls. In addition, I think that students should have a say in the music, possibly by a weekly vote of the songs for the following week. I think this will make being at school more enjoyable and fun for students.
9B’s Response: I think that twice a month we should organize callbacks for people who want to go outside and enjoy the weather. As the Spring begins the weather has been beautiful and more and more people are spending every second out in the sun. I think that if a couple of teachers were on board we could totally create an outdoor callback where people could get out and enjoy the sunshine.
9C’s Response: I think the students should have more control over the projects we’re assigned. Kids our age need to be creative and our school doesn’t really promote that. For the large projects we should be given more freedom in what we make. For me when i’m able to choose what I want to do with no guidelines it let’s me feel free to do what I want and in the end i’m more motivated to do it.
9D’s Response: I think that to make U-32 more fun, we should host a field day at the end of the year, for all grades. So that we could get outside and do things like, water games, flag football, team challenges, and more. It would give students something to look forwards to at the end of the year, instead of watching the clock for summer. And could be enjoyed by everyone, and end the day with Ice cream.
9E’s Response: Having all school celebrations so middleschoolers feel more like part of the school, since they don’t get to go to the peprallys.
9F’s Response: A natural element that student council could offer to make U32 more fun would be to help organize and ensure fun events that would help create a more connected and enthusiastic community. Another thing that could make school more fun is incorporating projects into the curriculum that demand creativity. School has all sorts of academic projects but implementing creative oriented projects could make some students view projects as less of a chore and let some students really get into it.
9G’s Response: We could utilize callback more and have more teen health week like callback courses and activities. Also, students should have different options to prove proficiency in PE. If we were able to test out of PE, do a sport instead, or do an independent study more easily.
10A’s Response: Teaching myself to play a musical instrument
10B’s Response: Yes. It was just last week chorus was having people who wanted to sing a solo audition and I am a little scared at singing in front of people but I stayed with it and I now have a solo in are spring concert
10C’s Response: Starting in the summer of 9th grade I committed to a summer training routine in which I would have to, on my own, run a certain amount of miles each day all summer. The intent of the commitment was to keep up my training, with added benefits. The commitment I made has improved my ability to commit to other long term goals, one of which being a year round version of the original plan.
10A’s Response: I would like U32 to give students more control over their own schedules. I would also like students to have more say in who is hired to teach them.
10B’s Response: I think that U-32 should build a garden and I know we have a green house but a garden can be really fun to make. I also think that the student council should convince the school to make the pep-rally a little longer so we can do more activities.
10C’s Response: The issue with the U32 democratic system is that students have feel they have little to no power in the school. The two things that would make this better goes along a true democratic system. Issues and proposals that the council has can be decided with the student body’s vote, such as events and issues like the BLM flag. The ability which would better reflect what people want. New ideas and issues can also be raised this way as there can be times in the year where there are school wide poles, again better representing the student body.
10A’s Response: Yes. Police brutality is a serious issue in our country which cannot be ignored, and any attempt to bring more public attention to this issue is necessary to ensure safety for our fellow citizens.
10B’s Response: Yes Because here at u-32 we do not discriminate against african american or an other race and by putting up the black lives matter flag it shows that anyone is welcome to u-32 and can do anything they believe in.
10C’s Response: Personally, I would vote in favor of raising a Black Lives Matter as I feel it should reflect or community values and the values I want to project. However, as with the question above to really make an action like that hava any basis, the decision should come from the whole student body, not the council.
10A’s Response: Students should have more autonomy when it comes to retaking tests or classes.
10B’s Response: I think that student council should have a say in making more clubs after school so there are more options for kids that might not be into Theater or sports.
10C’s Response: As mentioned above I believe all decisions beyond very small logistical decisions.
10A’s Response: A larger selection of electives and clubs.
10B’s Response: More days in the hot spring/summer days before school is out we should have feild days with games where T.A’s go head to head or friends vs. friends.
10C’s Response: The issues with school being boring to some will always be hard, however school events are good for adding enjoyable experiences to school. I have heard from some people that other schools have cool events or weeks that they do with the same effect as spirit week but with more active participation. I currently have no specific plans, however I could ask around, (benefits of polling) and make sure it is as inclusive as possible.
11A’s Response: In my past year on Student Council, I have consistently shown up and followed through on my commitments. An example of this would be in blood drive preparation. There have been some instances of appointments having been entered wrong or timeslots overbooked. The night before this most recent blood drive there was an appointment request put into the spreadsheet for sometime in first or second band, but no one had put this teacher in the system or followed up to clarify an appointment time, so I emailed him the night before and then found him the morning of to make him an appointment at a good time for him as well as picking up some tabling bands when people did not show up.
11B’s Response: One of my proudest meaningful commitments that I’ve followed though with is coordinating student council’s bi-annual Blood Drives. Making these Blood Drives happen is no small task, since each one requires months of communication and preparation in order to pass. These are a commitment that takes a lot of time and dedication, and end up yielding a significant benefit for our community.
11C’s Response: Cross and Track. Long distance running is a hellish commitment to make especially if you are not in the position to achieve a spot near the top. However, I have followed through with it because it is mentally and physically rewarding. It is a massive testament to willpower if you stick with it and many don’t….
11A’s Response: I think next year on student council, we should do some restructuring of the council itself to make it less of a planning committee (although I do believe we should continue to run the blood drive) and more of an open environment for students that are not necessarily on the council to come and bring up issues with things like school policies. Student Council is supposed to be a bridge between the students and the administration and I do not think in the past few years the council has done a very good job of maintaining this bridge. If we were to do weekly or bi-weekly callbacks where we encouraged anyone to come and talk about what they would like changed or vote on how they feel about what the council is working on. We should be representatives of the student body, not a pep rally planning committee
11B’s Response: In order to make U-32 more democratic, there has to be better transparency and accessibility between students and administration. In any government, the representatives should serve the interests of the populus. By increasing accessibility, we ensure that the administration understands the sentiments of the students. By the same philosophy, the administration should be more receptive to student ideas by giving the populus (students) more voice and say, as in any democracy.
11 C’s Response: Publicize that there are two student representatives on the U-32 Board of School Directors and who those people are. I had no idea about this until recently. If the positions are filled then we need to let people know who they are. And if they are not then we should fill them so that students actually have a seat at the table. Also, publicize when school board meetings are. The most important part of democracy is getting folks to the polls and in this metaphor, I don’t even know when voting day is. When students say their voice isn’t heard I think you can break that down further to students don’t know how to make themselves heard. The lower the bar is to make your voice heard the better the sentiment about it among students.
11A’s Response: I do not think that U-32 should raise a Black Lives Matter flag. As important as I believe the Black Lives Matter movement is, if we were to raise the flag of one civil organization, then we would be setting the precedent that any civil organization could petition to have their flag put up. I do not think that this is a precedent we would like to set as a school.
11B’s Response: We should not raise the Black Lives Matter flag at U-32. Since Black Lives Matter is both a) a private organization and, b) a politically charged organization, raising the flag would be a motion by the school that promotes a private, political view. Although raising the Black Lives Matter flag is one way to promote equality, there are such ways in which the school can do so without running into the imminent unnecessary controversy and discord of raising the flag.
11 C’s Response: I got an email that says we already are. If not, then if the group pushing for this makes a good argument to admin then I don’t see why not. The only argument I have seen against this is that then we will have to be open to other flags being raised. But I don’t see that as a problem because there are no other proposals for that at this time. Also, the school would be most likely safe to reject ridiculous proposals as well.
11A’s Response: I believe that students should have more say in the available electives at U-32. Every year, some electives are filtered in or out and then they don’t come back in for a while and some students don’t get the same elective opportunities as others.
11B’s Response: Students should have more of a say in the amount of homework and out-of-school work assigned to them over weekends. School takes up enough of a person’s life as is, and to have multiple mandatory assignments over the weekend is a huge impediment to taking personal time to pursue personal interests other than academics. The meager academic benefit of a weekend assignment pales in comparison to the sacrifice we make for it.
11 C’s Response: The shirt policy, It’s inconvenient and unnecessary to exercise in the heat with extra layers on. Also- The curriculum, I understand that the school has limited options here but it has become painfully obvious how outdated what and how we learn since proficiencies have been implemented. This one will take a bit of development and feedback before I have specific/realistic suggestions. Also, we don’t have SAT prep. What is that about? Stephen said that his thing was getting kids into college but we don’t have SAT prep.
11A’s Response: If we succeed in making U-32 more democratic then I think we’ll find that students will feel like U-32 is a more fun environment. No one has fun when they have no control, but if we are able to make the student body feel like they have a say in what goes on and if we follow through on their requests, U-32 will naturally become a more fun environment.
11B’s Response: In order to make U-32 more fun, Student Council should organize more school spirit events! Our school lacks basic constituent elements of school spirit! If Student Council were to put in some energy to hype up sports competitions, theater performances and other school events for all students, U-32 would be more unified, and would be more fun! School Spirit! This is something that I will strive to improve if I am elected to council.
11 C’s Response: Some event around March. That’s a pretty terrible time of year so something to lift peoples spirits would be nice. Something involving food perhaps.
12A’s Response: My meaningful commitment is coaching an elementary school running team. When I was younger, I participated in a running program that helped me become who I am today, and I wanted to facilitate this experience for younger girls. So I got in contact with the organization and started figuring out how to bring this program back to the elementary school, a process which took many hours of planning and emails to parents, the organization, the school, etc. After much planning, the program is finally underway and I spend four hours per week running it. This commitment was meaningful to me, so I followed through.
12B’s Response: A meaningful commitment that I followed through with was when I was injured only a few weeks before the important championship races in cross country. In order to be there for my team, I had to go through rehabilitation on a stationary bike for over two weeks before I was able to run again. By following through with rehabilitation, I was back to running in good enough shape to help my team in these races.
12C’s Response: I work for a summer camp. Every day I had to be at work at 8. I was never late and I never missed a day of work. I am also part of three sports teams and I have been on Student Council for a year
12A’s Response: Firstly, more students need to join the Restorative Justice panel that I’m on. Restorative Justice is a great way for students to make their voices heard and it focuses less on punishment and more at getting to the root of the problem. It is receptive to what students want, and if they join this panel, the U32 disciplinary process could become more democratic. Secondly, U32 should have a set weekly time (maybe a callback?) where students can meet with the administration team and voice their concerns about issues in our school, no matter the size. This would make our system more transparent, and kids would have their voices heard.
12B’s Response: One idea is to hold a biweekly callback session for students to voice their concerns about policy, school climate, or community service opportunities to the Council to ensure that students are better represented by the Council. Another idea is to have members of Student Council be present and engaged at every school board meeting. This has been an important issue this past year, dealing with budget cuts and Act 46 and I feel like Student Council should be responsible for relaying that information to the student body.
12C’s Response: One, get more of a student voice involved, more communication between students and teachers. Two, Talk to teachers about listening more to students.
12A’s Response: Yes. Some people say that the Black Lives Matter flag is political and therefore a government-run school should not make a political statement, but this flag is not political. It is about human rights, and to claim that it’s about anything else is inaccurate.
12B’s Response: While it is a problem that a public school is raising the flag of a political organization, the importance of this topic, in my opinion, outweighs this concern. This discussion is about racial injustice and human rights, therefore I support raising the Black Lives Matter flag.
12C’s Response: Yes, It is an important show of support on an extremely important issue. The flag should be raised.
12A’s Response: Students should have a say in school start times. Recently, there have been several public forums about moving the school start time for high school. This issue affects us on a daily basis, so we should attend these forums and speak our minds about this important issue. If students were to speak up about this issue facing our community, I’m sure the adult support would be there. Students having a voice in the matter is dependant on them taking initiative, and it’s something we need to do.
12B’s Response: Students should have more of a say in the implementation of proficiency-based grading and be able to more easily voice their concerns about it. For instance, many students are upset that they cannot “test out” of a required class if they know all of the material in it. A clearer line of communication between students and the administration is needed for concerns like this to be addressed and fixed.
12C’s Response: Students should have a say in how the learning process works. This is because the student are the ones learning and therefore the teaching process should be modeled off how students want to learn. Once again more of a student’s voice
12A’s Response: Student council should serve as an extension of the voices of the students. We need to listen to what the students want and do our best to make it happen. We need to get more input on how to implement fun things in our community such as spirit weeks, unique callbacks, and community service (if it’s what the students want). U32 will be more fun if students have more of a say in what happens.
12B’s Response: One thing that Student Council can do to make school more fun is to run an actual Spring Day (more than 90 minutes) where students can participate in a variety of outdoor and indoor activities. This would improve school climate as we approach the final weeks/days of school and give students the opportunity relax with friends and relieve stress. This year is a trial for Spring Day (90 minutes long), but I will advocate for a longer period of time next year.
12C’s Response: A longer spring day.