Committees to enhance student experience

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    Fans at the annual “Quad Night” cheer for the boys’ varsity basketball team on Jan. 6. Palo Alto High School students supported the team as well as the Athletic Advisory Council through a jersey sale fundraiser. Photo: Noah Yuen.

    Classic basketball jerseys, three-point contests, mindfulness and school climate; over the past year various committees have formed to improve the student experience at Palo Alto High School.

    While there is no one set way to form a committee, most are focused around a school or district wide goal, according to Assistant Principal Victoria Kim.

    “Usually there is a faculty member who leads this processor for a particular committee,” Kim said. “In most cases, we want a good representation of all stakeholders staff, students and parents.  Sometimes, committee members are nominated and then invited, and other committee members are chosen through an application process.”

    Read on to learn about the people behind your soon-to-be favorite Paly initiatives and traditions.

     

    Athletic Advisory Council: Enhancing your experience as a Vikings’ sports fan

    Under the supervision of Athletic Director Kathi Bowers and Asst. Athletic Director Therren Willburn, 30 student-athletes have come together in hopes of improving involvement within the department.

    “The purpose of the council is to give Mrs. Bowers light into what the athletes want and we work to create experiences that are more fun for the fans and players,” senior council member Peter Snodgrass said.

    In addition to providing insight into the daily life of a student-athlete, the council aims to encourage its peers to attend games through incentives such as raffles.

    “We have been planning events for boys’ basketball,” Snodgrass said. “We were a little quiet first semester because we were gearing up and working up to events.”

    The council is in the process of selling raffle tickets, according to Snodgrass.

    So far we have made money selling old basketball jerseys, and with those funds we are going to raffle off a pair of Beats [headphones] at the next Paly vs. Gunn basketball game.”

    Not only does the council want to continue to support Paly teams such as boys’ and girls’ basketball through three-point and half-court contests, but it also aims to encourage attendance to sports that are often overlooked.

    “I think we’ll soon grow to have more involvement in trying to reach sports that aren’t usually recognized such as wrestling, swimming and badminton,” Snodgrass said. “We want to try and make it so that more fans will want to go.”

    In the future, the council aims to expand the athletics department. In an effort to integrate more of the student body, one of the council’s goals is to provide roles to students who are not necessarily athletes.

    “Right now we’re hoping to get more student involvement within sports, not just athletics as in being a player on the team, but being an announcer, statistician or a team manager,” Snodgrass said.

    Wellness Committee: Integrating various wellness efforts

    The seven-person School Climate and Wellness Committee works with an intention to improve the well-being of students and staff at Paly by helping students de-stress.

    “We focus on mental health and communication between students and teachers, the state of the relationships between administrators and students, as well as students and parents,” senior committee founder Cezanne Lane said.

    The committee also aims to help the various already existing wellness-related groups on campus work together. The point of this committee is to bring all the student efforts together and to act as a liaison among them.

    “There are different efforts going on in the realms of wellness,” Lane said. “There’s Sources of Strength, as well as teacher, administration and board wellness efforts.”

    This year, the committee will be hosting Change in Our Schools Week (previously known as Not in Our Schools Week), and it is hopeful that involving several initiatives will strengthen the event. Working alongside science teacher Josh Bloom and Mental Health and Wellness Coordinator Jonathan Frecceri, co-leaders of Sources of Strength, the committee will work to dedicate one day to Sources. 

    According to Lane, the committee also works with Wellness Outreach Worker Julia Chang and Frecceri through the Wellness Center.

    “I’ve been working really closely with them in planning and executing a lot of our events and ideas, so they’re sort of our support system,” Lane said. 

    Recently the committee hosted a parent education night in the Media Arts Center that featured a panel of students discussing topics including interpersonal relationships, self care and post-high school plans.

    “Hopefully that [parent ed night] made the parent-student relationship better and we’re relieving general pressure and stress,” Lane said.

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