Exposé Of The School Year

Many of you have complained, addressed concerns or just completely disregarded leadership all together. Now to answer your question as to why there’s not much school spirit this year and why there aren’t many events as we would like to have there are some components that contribute to this lack of school spirit I have to mention.

I am the first component and as the senior class president, I do take fault for some of the senior events being canceled or pushed back. What kind of leader would I be if I couldn’t admit to making some mistakes earlier in the school year?  I was voted in by you and the student body and it is my responsibility to provide everyone with a good year. I didn’t have good communication with the administration as I do now and I had no experience in leadership before.

Miscommunication has contributed to many events like senior rock painting being pushed back and just an unorganized calendar altogether. Having a new leadership teacher in place with a new process of how things were going to be run was confusing to EVERYONE (Including returners).

The new advisor wanted a different structure and was very critical of how things were executed last year. This leads me to the second component. It’s clear that Mr.Bonsteel had a different set up in mind.  He wants students to be independent and although this concept of his has challenged me to get things done on my own or to organize a group of people to figure out fundraisers or activities with me, It has contributed to the lack of thriving school environment.

Former leadership teacher Negin Mahmoudi commented on her role as the leadership teacher last year saying “The experience of being the leadership teacher was stressful but rewarding. I think it was stressful at times because I didn’t want to let my leadership students down and I didn’t want to let HP students in general down. What made it all worth it was seeing how much my leadership students grew when they were a part of the class. I saw them work together and work hard and trust each other”.

With the “Seniors work their own events” rule enforced by the structures of the class, there is a lack of underclassmen participation or teamwork in the program at the most common events, senior events.  Early on, a rule was established that prevented different classes from asking for help from other classes. This caused an immediate friction in the class.

Senior Class Vice President, Kalett Perez feels as if the class is divided saying “Last year, we were a team. This year, we’re just a class.”

There has been cliques formed within the class which makes it difficult to get work done.

A leadership student who decided to remain anonymous says “It’s been different, it’s been unorganized. if you’re the ASB teacher you should always advocate for more events and make sure students are on task and not just sitting around doing [nothing]. Because of that it’s hard to get things done”.

This lack of order in the classroom was targeted when our new ASB President Nathalie Castro, stepped in. Nathalie brought back weekly ASB meetings as well as service hours to make sure students were on task.

Although this method was effective for some time, leading up to the Homecoming dance, it did not last very long.

“We tried bringing a sense of order in the beginning of the year with class meetings but no one would pay attention or pitch in their ideas, so meetings eventually became useless,” says Nathalie Castro.

However, some people have expressed some positive opinions about the class. Our newest recruit, Leslie Ortega says “Being new to leadership was such an exciting feeling for me because it’s my first and last year at HP. I’ve always wanted to experience how it feels to contribute in our school, especially for our senior class. My first day of leadership was like any other day. We make posters for upcoming events and sit with our group of friends and talk. Overall, the class is ok. Everyone works diligently together and we all respect each other”.

When asked about the outcome of the leadership class this year Mr.Bonsteel expressed that he expected it to be somewhat difficult saying “I knew that the first year coming back off of the transition was going to be kind of an interesting year, If I came in with 100% brand new people it would kind of be a little bit different” and later goes on to say “it’s going well, just got to push kids to be a little bit more proactive with things”. Mr.Bonsteel knows leadership receives many complaints and responds with optimism for the upcoming year stating “One of the things I am trying to do is open up a dialogue where we can get more student input… Next year I’m trying to focus on creating  that House of Representatives where we can advise students from each advisory that’s going to represent and create an environment that’s a lot more proactive”

Although this independent type structure has worked for some people, like mentioned before, it’s not completely effective and people have noticed. Former 2018 Senior Class Vice President, Graciela Cardona says,  “From what I have seen, which is very little, I can tell that school participation is still a struggle for the Leadership class and I know there might be some frustrations within the class.”

This leads me to my third component: the amount of complaints we’ve received. Leadership students may see the silver lining within the class and even though this isn’t the biggest component as to why school spirit is not the best or why leadership may appear dysfunctional but it does affect the leadership classroom.

We are all aware that we’ve made mistakes and there is always room for improvement with the upcoming events and we all joined leadership knowing we were going to deal with complaints. However, it is a bit discouraging when complaints about events come from no shows.  There is a three to four week process for approval and sometimes things just don’t get through.

ASB President, Nathalie Castro, recalls the complaints made about the Coco Senior movie night earlier this school year replying with “we took our time and just to hear people complain about the pricing, it was kind of upsetting because that is the whole point. The money is supposed to go back towards our class, to create more events”.

Multiple leadership students can agree, It’s heartbreaking to give up extra hours, pitch in creative ideas, push for events constantly and sometimes use our own money to receive a lack of interest and discouraging complaints.

To add on, it is disappointing to hear people complain about the prom venue and let it affect their attendance to prom. It is saddening to think that people need to be reminded that the venue does not make prom. “The whole point of prom is not where it’s at but about the last couple of memories you’ll make with your friends” says Nathalie Castro.

In spite of the fact that I am passionate about giving back and contributing towards the school and community I do believe there needs to be a shift within the class. A better system with a collaborative and  friendly environment.

The purpose of this article was not to point fingers at anyone but to give you, the reader insight on what really goes on behind the closed doors of room 42.

I want to thank Mr.Alfaro for the support he has given us through this crazy year and I also want to thank the the senior class for giving suggestions and addressing concerns, it has helped the way we approached situations.

Lastly, I wholeheartedly apologize for the way this year has turned out, I know it is not the way we expected it to be. Even though there is a short period of time left in the year, Have hope! Good things are coming.

By Alex Huerta, Editor/ Media Manager