Strength Isn’t Always in Numbers

Strength+Isn%E2%80%99t+Always+in+Numbers

Augie Hawk, Editorials Editor

As the school bounces back from a year dictated by the pandemic, we’re experiencing several changes to student life, the biggest being (to us at The Vanguard, at least) our new schedule. Though we appreciate the creativity and effort, we worry that this new model doesn’t promote the community-based values the school hoped it would.

The lengthening of assembly time—from 15 to 80 minutes a week—is perhaps the most glaring problem. The blocks are intended to have students spend more time together as a school—a worthy cause, no doubt. But when students spend that community-building time watching others juggle soccer balls instead of exploring clubs and meeting new peers, it becomes forced, resented, and unproductive.

After weeks of these assemblies, it still seems there’s no well- formulated plan on how to spend the time. Even the somewhat purposeful parts, the weekly updates from clubs and other programs, can be done over email or Zoom (one productive skill we learned in the pandemic).

Above all, this facet of the new schedule reveals a lack of communication and partnership between the administration and students—a large problem for a school trying to strengthen its community.

We must rework how we engage with each other. We’ve all experienced the power of collaboration and connection in small groups during classes, sports, or clubs. But we lack more opportunities to have those experiences across grade levels. All-school assemblies add value in moderation. But we shouldn’t spend all 80 minutes listening to others’ experiences; we should be living experiences instead. We cannot manufacture such experiences or expect them to arise sitting silently in the gym; they must come naturally, during times when students are free to explore, interact, and connect.

To move forward, we must ask ourselves one question: what do we want our community to look like? We need transparency from the administration, first and foremost, and respect for each other’s ideas, opinions, and feedback. We need to feel our ideas are not just heard but are implemented.

But we must initiate these opportunities, too. The administration is trying its best to rebuild our community post-COVID, but this important mission won’t succeed without our ideas and intuition. So, if you have an idea, big or small, voice it, any way you can. That’s the future of our community.