Student Mayors Meet to Consider Solutions for School

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About 100 students came together at Meetings of the Mayors Nov. 28 and Feb. 6. The meetings were designed by faculty to organize a group of students who are active in the school want to help Shaker. Students were invited based on their involvement in groups such as SGORR, MAC Scholars, MAC Sister Scholars, Student Council, athletics and academics.

“It was such one of the most diverse groups I’ve seen, it was really cool,” SGORR advisor Halle Bauer said. Bauer was present at both meetings to help keep order, however, it was completely student driven. At times participants met as one group of about 100 students, but most time was spent in eight to ten smaller groups which were randomly assigned.

Senior Catherine Taylor changed her senior project after attending the meetings. Originally, Taylor was going to work at the zoo. Taylor’s project now involves her making a presentation about the high school from a student’s perspective. “We thought it would be cool to let the incoming freshmen know what to expect in high school and answer any questions in a more casual way than with freshmen orientation in the fall,” Taylor said.

Taylor will go in to the eighth grade English classes at the Shaker Middle School to informally present and answer questions.

The meetings served as a “safe space” for students to talk about any topic they chose. Set up as an open discussion where students voice their opinions, students discussed many topics, including school spirit and student involvement and attendance at school events.

In addition, they discussed the behavior and attitude of both students and teachers. Students also brainstormed ways to bring new students and freshmen into the community by informal mentoring.

Attendees were given the challenge of identifying the issues and causes of the issues within Shaker, and create opportunities and solutions to fix the issues identified. “It certainly was inspiring to see students come together from a wide variety of backgrounds and work for one problem,” Bauer said. She added that she thought the meetings were “successful for implanting the seed of change.”

Sophomore Conor Matthews attended both meetings. “It created a positive movement to improve the spirit in the high school,” he said.

Advisors of the meetings hope that there will be more meetings later this year and in the future. They hope to have the same mayors attend, but they also want to incorporate more students.  “The more mayors the better,” Bauer said.

A version of this article appeared in print on 28 February 2012, on page 4 of The Shakerite.

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