The student news site of Western Albemarle High School - Crozet, VA

The Western Hemisphere

The student news site of Western Albemarle High School - Crozet, VA

The Western Hemisphere

The student news site of Western Albemarle High School - Crozet, VA

The Western Hemisphere

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Student Senate: Students Make Schools a Better Place

Sublette+discusses+plans+and+goals+with+Student+Senate+students.
Sublette discusses plans and goals with Student Senate students.

Minority groups make up 40% of Albemarle County public school students, and 24% of students are economically challenged. Unfortunately, these groups are often an afterthought to the school board. However, this is being fixed. Recently, ACPS formed the Student Senate, a group of students from different minority groups, such as students in GSA, students with disabilities, and students from different cultural backgrounds. ACPS has made a budget for $10,000 that will go towards improving schools and school communities, so the main focus of the Student Senate is coming up with a plan for this money. They have already had one meeting, but it was mostly for brainstorming.

There are over a dozen Western students in the Student Senate. With the help of Zoe Padron, the talent development specialist, and Jami Curry, a librarian, they have been meeting in schools to brainstorm further for the Student Senate. 

Western junior Matt Neu, who is a part of the Student Senate, is passionate about equality in education, so these meetings are very important to them. “I think that [the Student Senate] is super important because it helps us connect with the other minorities in our school, especially at a place like WAHS where it’s a majority of straight white people. I think it’s really important to have some intersectionality in our minority groups so that we can stand together as a united front,” they said. 

Both the meetings at Western and through ACPS are centered around improving equality in schools. And while the administration from ACPS are hosting the meetings, the main focus is getting student involvement in the solutions. 

“It’s definitely about student participation,” Junior Margaret Lee, who is involved with the Student Senate, said. “Students are going to be organizing things and students are going to be working together to make it happen, but then the administrators are going to see that it gets through to the county level.” 

The $10,000 grant is another topic of discussion for the student senate. At the meeting of the Western branch of the Student Senate, many ideas were discussed on what to do with this money.

One of the goals discussed was to start events that bring people from different cultures together, whether that be through activities, food, or more. “Asian American Pacific Islander month is coming up. Maybe we could use the money to fund events, maybe to bring in food or cater, just to raise awareness for the people who want to be there,” Lee said. 

While the grant will be a big bonus to this project, some students have solutions that have little to do with money.

“I’d love for there to be more teaching about what is ‘correct.’ I feel like there can be a little bit of ignorance about these kinds of issues because there is just such a small population of people of color and super small population of members of the GSA. The microaggressions can often be overlooked, and things that can be offensive can just be a joke. We need to really educate people about what’s okay and what’s not,” Neu said.

Freshman Emerson Fatovich-Luckey agrees with this. “My peers and I are hoping to address the lack of education surrounding difficult topics such as racism, xenophobia, and homophobia. We would like to better educate those in Western Albemarle High School on things that may be unfamiliar to them, as a lack of understanding often leads to fear and hatred,” they said.

All of these issues, and more, are what the Student Senate is trying to address and amend. Certainly, these driven students will continue to advocate and make change for the better of Western. As Lee said, students will be the driving force behind the reform of our schools, and positive change depends on us.

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About the Contributor
Olivia Moore, Assistant Editor
Olivia is a sophomore in her second year of journalism. She plays soccer and likes to spend her free time reading and baking. Olivia's favorite things to do are hike and spend time with friends.
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