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2020-21 Community Council Launches--and Broadcasts

2020-21 Community Council Launches--and Broadcasts
Tutt Stapp-McKiernan


Now embarking on its second year, the Wakefield School Community Council is charting a course to build on the work begun in its successful maiden voyage last year.

With four faculty and staff members and a roster of 57 Upper School students representing all four grade levels, the Community Council dwarfs the size of any other club or campus organization, and has ambitious goals to match.

According to founding faculty member and History Department Chair Peter Findler, the Community Council “enhances the life of the school by amplifying student voice regarding decisions that impact their lives within the Wakefield community.  The great hope of the Council is to make Wakefield a more democratic school by including and honoring the perspectives of all stakeholder groups.”  

Elections have now taken place within the Council for the 10 positions of student leadership, which comprise two grade-level Prefects for grades 9-11, and four seniors who will serve as Head Prefects. According to the Council’s Constitution, which the group wrote last year as its first duty, grade-level Prefects are responsible for organizing and leading grade level forums twice a year and communicating with advisors about grade-level events. The Head Prefects are responsible for setting the full Community Council’s meeting agenda each week, moderating the meetings, taking notes, and keeping track of funds. 

Both Head and grade-level Prefects also have responsibilities to lead the Council’s various committees and guide their work. For this fall, the Council has four standing committees. 

Two of these, the Class Days Committee and the Homecoming Committee, are as their names suggest responsible for assisting with the planning and implementation of these two major fall events, ensuring that student input is heard and considered by faculty members and administration overseeing them as well as supplying actual elbow-grease to the work of making these big undertakings happen. 

The other two fall committees, the Honor Council Committee and the Communications/Student Broadcast Committee, each have a broader charge. 

The Honor Council Committee will be continuing the work begun last year to codify and promote a Wakefield Honor Code and to establish a student-populated and student-led Honor Council to review and advise on disciplinary actions. 

Most visible at this early stage of the new school year is the work of the Communications/Student Broadcast Committee, whose commitment is to the creation and implementation of a weekly news broadcast for the Wakefield community. 

In terms of projects defined by hands-on work, deadline-driven deliverable results, and a high profile, launching a weekly news broadcast is possibly the most ambitious of the Community Council’s undertakings; fortunately, though, it is also the one with the most potential for light-hearted fun along with its useful community service.

Slated for airing via GoogleMeet each Thursday at 11:10 am during Community Time, the broadcast has taken place twice so far, in two wildly differing iterations whose differences were influenced by many factors, all of them emblematic of the growing pains of any big new project, from schedule disruptions to simple differences of opinion, like whether the broadcast should be fundamentally entertaining or fundamentally serious in its purpose. 

According to Director of Student Activities and Community Council advisor Lisa Winick, the broadcast’s most basic goal is to replace the weekly Upper School assembly of years past, which cannot happen right now, by making necessary announcements. However, the decision on how to expand and develop that simple goal so that students will be engaged and interested is the puzzle the Communications Committee will be working to solve this year. 

Will the Weather segment return? Will enough movies come back to theaters to justify a weekly Movie Review? Will  Arjun really have a “Joke of the Week” spot? Will current events, such as [gulp!] the election, be addressed? Keep tuning in! Time will tell.