Leadership class period receives positive reactions from students

September 22, 2016 — by Muthu Palaniappan and Jason Zhao

Students share opinions on new leadership class.

In years past, here was the scene in the main office every other Monday at 6 p.m: 60 students — class officers, commissioners and ASB members  — piled  infor bi-weekly ASB meetings. Chaotic and often unproductive, these meetings were one of the only times these students came together.

“Sometimes, we didn't even know a meeting was happening until ASB told us,” senior ASB club commissioner Ellicia Chiu said.

This year, these students have combined to form the fifth-period Leadership class that meets in the Team Room under the direction of activities director Matt Torrens.

Whereas the Leadership team met during lunch last year and consisted on other students focusing on planning Speak Up for Change, rallies and other events, this year’s Leadership class only consists of class officers, commissioners, an Outreach team and the ASB.

Although the implementation of the class period was initially controversial among those who did not want the extra class, the overall reaction this year has been positive.

“Because all of us were new to the class period at first, we had trouble figuring out what the best way to allocate time was so that every group felt like they were being productive,” said Spring Ma, the ASB vice president. “But once we addressed this concern, I think everyone can agree that there is a lot less stress outside of school for Leadership work now.”

The class period starts with a “Light on Leadership,” where various groups share moments of leadership outside of the classroom or recognize the individuals who have been working hard this year.

“We incorporated the ‘Light on Leadership’ to emphasize that we’re working on leadership not just within SHS, but also in our community,” Ma said.

For the rest of the class time, students are allowed to check in and check out of the Team Room to work on their respective projects in areas such as the Quad, the ASB room, or Torrens’ regular room. Finally, at the end of the period, students report back for general announcements.

With the class period, communication between Leadership members has improved. According to ASB President Mitali Shanbhag, events like fundraisers and rallies are much easier to organize since class officers and ASB members communicate more easily.

“We have a recap session at the beginning of each period and check in with each group, so it makes the process of Leadership much better,” said Shanbhag.

By having more time to meet, the Leadership team has been able to plan more events for the school. For instance, Chiu said, they plan on adding a night rally with Los Gatos and have been able to add an extra rally.

Class officers said they have also seen a noticeable difference in their workload after school and have been able to spend class time preparing for Homecoming during school.

“We finished our entire Homecoming script and have been able to work on decorations,” sophomore class president Cameron Lin said. “It’s a lot less pressure because we have more time to plan and don’t have to rush as much.”

While the Leadership class has much more time to plan and work on events, some activities still have to be done outside of school, such as visiting venues for prom. Even so, student leaders seem happy with the class so far.

“[The new Leadership class] gives people the opportunity to connect every other day rather than through chat or having to make time after school,” Shanbhag said.