Student Council Looks Ahead


Haley Banta

The outgoing Junior Student Council poses for a group photo. Rising seniors Haley Banta, Bridget Mitchell, and Sarah Bires (second, third, and fourth from left respectively in first row) will serve as Senior Class President, Student Body Vice President, and Student Body President respectively next year. They and their comrades in the rest of the Council will shoulder the burden of enacting additional structural and communication reforms while continuing the programs of the outgoing O’Keane administration.

Casey Murray, News Editor

Casey Murray, News Editor

As the new Student Council leaders prepare to succeed the reformist O’Keane administration, they are under a great deal of pressure to carry on with the work of communication and structural reforms. Only time will tell if they can succeed.

It is well, then, that the new administration has wasted no time in developing a set of goals for which to strive. High on that list of goals is continuing the positive legacy of previous Student Councils, according to Student Body President-elect Sarah Bires.

Student Council will move forward with its Inclusion Initiative, which was proposed earlier this year after an Ask the President session where “people kept coming up to [President O’Keane] and saying… ‘we don’t feel like we’re represented in the high school,’” Bires said.

The initiative, Bires continued, is intended to “make sure that all students, no matter who you are… feel that the high school is a good place, and a safe place, to be.” Student Council plans to work with Alliance and other clubs to that end.

[We want] to move things forward and make sure that Student Council has more power than it has in the past years.”

— Student Body President-elect Sarah Bires

The Council will also seek to implement an Environmental Initiative centered on, among other things, improving the recycling system; “the school has the budget,” President-elect Bires said. Dances will remain a mainstay, and Student Council will continue its tradition of volunteerism, and the committee system introduced this year will be preserved. That which is familiar will not fade away but endure, tended by the new leadership.

More significant structural reform efforts could be blocked by the School Board, which can restrict students.

“There’s definitely boundaries that are set in Student Council,” Bires said, “things we’re not really supposed to change.” Nonetheless, it will be a primary goal of the Bires administration to “move things forward and make sure that Student Council has more power than it has in the past years.”

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Junior Class President-elect Will Elliott also cited Student Council’s lack of autonomy as an obstacle the Council will have to work with and around.

“There are a lot of hurdles when it comes to making changes,” Elliott said. “Student Council is not an autonomous body” and must work with the administration, but even then “sometimes plans fall through,” he said.

Student Council can, however, improve its level of communication with the student body, and communication was mentioned in most campaign videos — or at least in the campaign videos of candidates who won election. It will be a primary concern next year, for Senior Class President-elect Haley Banta not least.

“The role of Student Council is to listen to what people want,” Banta said. “If we have an easier way for people to voice what they want it’s definitely going to be the place of student government to listen to that… [and] bring everyone’s concerns to people who can do something about it.”

President-elect Elliott framed communication as a precondition for accountability.

We’re doing things for the class and they should know what that is.”

— Junior Class President-elect Will Elliott

More transparency and open communication about StuCo operations is necessary for leadership to be held accountable,” Elliott wrote in an email. “We’re doing things for the class and they should know what that is,” he said.

The services provided by Student Council are likely to increase next year, potentially including support for the various clubs at the high school.

We also want to make student council a club to support other clubs,” President-elect Bires said. “We want to advertise new clubs, meetings, and support their needs as well.”

Adequately supporting LFHS’ formidable civil society could require an additional committee specially dedicated to the task, but at present Student Council seems to be focused on improving and expanding existing committees.

“We [will] have these different subcommittees that are really going to be focused on aspects that are important to Student Council,” Bires said. “Some of the committees weren’t as effective as they could have been,” she continued, hinting that her administration could focus on improving the already-existing committees — Communications, “Scoutreach”, Spirit, and Fundraising.

Student Council will continue to face the perennial question of what exactly it does; traditionally, its self-definition has involved school spirit, community service, and the like. Next year’s leaders may perhaps change that.

“Student Council is an organization that serves the student body,” President-elect Elliott said simply.

Whether the Council can live up to that high standard remains be seen in the coming year.