New Year Brings Restructured Student Government

By: Alex Duh

As the new school year starts, preparations are ongoing for two new organizations in the Gilman community. One is the Spirit Club, which is intended to lead the charge in strengthening school spirit and raising student turnout for school events. The other is a Student Congress, a monthly meeting of the student leaders of the school, including the Student Council members and the heads of Gilman’s major clubs. While the Spirit Club is actually a revival of an older club, the Student Congress is an entirely new creation. The projects are being worked on by members of the Student council, as well as select students, primarily heads of major clubs and seniors interested in taking a proactive role in the community. One of these is Connor Mitchell (‘’18), who said, “this is the first time we have a group of seniors who were not elected into a student government position meeting on a regular basis to talk and plan out events for the school.”
    The Spirit Club will be a prominent club at Gilman whose purpose is “to boost school spirit and student turnout at games and other student events,” according to Student Body President Piper Bond (‘’18). Mr. Schmick, faculty advisor to the Student Council elaborates, “It’s actually an old club that has been revived. For a long time this was an important part of the school. It dissolved, and we’re bringing it back.” Previously, the Student Body President was head of the Spirit Club, but this year Mac Webster (‘’18) will be leading the club to help share some of the responsibility. Mr. Schmick points out that, ”Piper can't lead the charge, he’s leading the team on the field… Mac has the time and energy to push this forward.”
    Both Mr. Schmick and Piper have high expectations for the spirit club and hope for broad student involvement. “The Spirit Club is a club, so anyone can join!” Piper says. Mr. Schmick, Piper, and the other students helping with the Spirit Club hope that it will serve its purpose and create a greater feeling of excitement and support for the school among the student body. The Spirit Club will be in charge of organizing special games, band performances, giveaways, and occasionally leading assemblies. Mr. Schmick said, “This is something that is student driven. The students came up with this idea, and I hope it sticks around.”
    Along with the new Spirit Club, Piper and other student leaders will also be working to try to organize a Student Congress. “The Student Congress is not officially created yet, but the point of the committee is to keep major clubs, the Gilman News, Cynosure, and the student government all on the same page,” Piper explains.  Mr. Schmick clarifies that it isn’t exactly what the name implies. “It’s a monthly meeting of all the major club presidents… and the student leaders.” Connor Mitchell believes that “this new leadership group will allow for more ideas to be circulated through the Gilman community... We can all give each individual topic more time and thus execute larger plans and events. With these larger meetings in the Congress, Mr. Schmick comments that they may take the place of the weekly Student Council meetings. Nothing is set in stone for the Student Congress yet, but the students involved are actively working to try to start it up this year.
    Mr. Schmick feels optimistic about the new organizations and the increased student participation this year. He believes that this will help to build off of the foundations established by LJ Shapiro’s (‘’16) “One Gilman” and Matt Tomaselli’s (‘’17) “All In.” He said, “My goal is to have kids get involved in the school and school life... Once you take ownership of something, once you have a role or a part in a community, you're really gonna care about that community and do what you can to make it better.”