Student Leadership: The Powerhouse of Berkley High

SL’s Cookie Decorating event

Bagels. Prom. Cookie Decorating. These are all exciting parts of our days at Berkley, but who are the minds behind these events? Student leadership (SL), an unconventional elective at BHS, has the responsibility to decorate Berkley’s social scene with spirited events to engage students. But, how exactly does the class work?
Months before any event can take place, the class’s brainstorming begins. “About every two months we sit down as a class and shoot out ideas. Then we break into committees for those projects by picking sticks,” says Vice President Sophie Dawkins. She continues explaining how a member of each group will volunteer to be a chairperson, taking the responsibilities of assigning work, communicating with adults, and keeping the committee on track. Monitoring all of this alongside Dawkins are the senior leaders of SL, treasurer Nina Freeman, secretary Mercy Sjogren, and president Sydney Page. Although these students play essential roles in the class, Senior Gabbie Allen remarks, “Yes, we have a leadership board, but we really all blend in as one. The class is strongest when everyone plays their part.” The committees organize projects that span from annual events like homecoming, holiday family adoptions, and blood drives, to fresh ideas that bubbled up during brainstorming sessions. As Dawkin states, “Last year we did pumpkin decorating for the first time, and it was such a success that I think it’s a Halloween staple now.” With this ever-flowing style of work, the bustling group always has something to accomplish.
With all these moving parts, the class is bound to become stressful. “Prom is probably the hardest to plan for sure,” shares Dawkins, “We have to manage the food, venue, decorations, theme, and on top of that, ensure everyone has a good time.” However, the class agrees that the genuine happiness that students get from their efforts makes it all worth it. “My favorite thing we do is PowderPuff. Seeing everyone be so excited is very fulfilling.” Dawkins agrees stating, “It is a lot of work, but the payoff from doing each event is really satisfying.”
Student Leadership not only benefits their peers but also provides personal growth opportunities for the leaders themselves. A year after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Berkley School District, Allen, alongside her classmates, felt completely disconnected from BHS. “I wasn’t involved in the school at all, and I really wanted to be,” she expresses “But Student Leadership delivered in that department. Through the events we’ve organized, I’ve connected with people that I would never have known if I wasn’t here.”
Student Leadership is known as almost the melting pot of Berkley, introducing students in the most unlikely places. All continues,“Not to mention my friendships with other kids in the class. During the most stressful times, if someone messes up, there are always people around to catch them. There’s for sure a great sense of community.”
Along with lasting friendships, the class also introduces crucial life skills. To students that struggle with expressing ideas confidently, student leadership is here to help. Allen shares, “We get people used to potentially scary things like talking on the phone, organizing events with adults, and emailing faculty.” She adds on, “If you want to get involved, you’re creative, and you want to have a voice, this is the class for you. You don’t need to be outgoing here because soon enough your shell will break”.
Look out for Student Leadership’s upcoming Valentines Day grams sale at the SCAC from February 8-13th. They’ll be sold 1 for $2 and 3 for $5.