Freshmen Fight for Off-Campus Privileges – Council Update (9/12/2018)

This past week’s Council meeting was the first meeting of the year with a large audience present. However, this was not by choice, as all World History classes were required to attend, and this meant that there were a lot of freshmen in attendance. Since there were so many freshmen in attendance, the Council leadership began the meeting by introducing themselves and describing what their roles are. Then, the heads of each committee did the same. After all these introductions, the meeting moved on to the first item on the agenda, the New Hampshire Institute of Civics Education Presentation.

In the presentation, Linda Addante, the executive of Council, explained what the role of Council is and what Council’s goals are for the coming year. Ms. Addante explained that Council as a whole wants student’s voices to have more influence than the votes of Council members. On top of this, Ms. Addante said she wanted students to not only be involved by coming to Council but rather be involved anywhere, including selection committees, the Dresden School Board, etc. Ms. Addante said that ultimately she wants students to be the ones facilitating the conversations on the important issues in the school. After Ms. Addante’s presentation came the main agenda item, the Freshman Off-Campus Motion, which was greeted by a roar of applause from the majority Freshmen audience.

Freshman Rep. James Kirkpatrick introduced the motion, which would allow freshmen to have off-campus 2nd semester. Rep. Kirkpatrick argued that in the past freshmen weren’t allowed to have off-campus because upperclassmen Council members said freshmen needed more time to join clubs and that they weren’t responsible enough. On the contrary, Rep. Kirkpatrick argued that by the end of the school year freshmen would have met all their new friends, and would be fully integrated into clubs and the school. Rep. Kirkpatrick also added that Ms. Stevenson has said there is no correlation between off-campus violations and grade, so why would that be any different with freshmen.

Sophomore Representative Ellie Stannard stated that she has heard from peers that they are against this motion because they think freshmen will ruin off-campus for everyone. She also added that not having off-campus forced her to bond with friends in the cafeteria and also taught her good study habits. Mr. Prince, a social studies teacher, praised Rep. Kirkpatrick’s speech but proposed that freshmen get access to a “coop corridor.” Rather than off-campus, this would just allow freshmen to go to the coop. Mr. Prince sold this as a compromise that makes sense since most upperclassmen just use off-campus to go to the coop anyway.

Teacher Rep. Ms. Ceplikas followed this up by moving to amend the motion so freshmen just get off-campus during fourth quarter. The amendment quickly passed as most people considered it a fair initial compromise. Then, out of the blue Sophomore Rep. Jonathan Li moved to postpone the motion indefinitely, a motion that was quickly shut down. DSB Rep. Oliver Minshall argued that freshmen just getting off-campus during fourth quarter is a good compromise as a lot still changes for freshmen during second semester. Junior Rep. Sabin Mitchell also added that not having the ability to go off-campus made her appreciate it more. Community Rep. Kirsten Elin concluded the discussion by saying that Hanover High should give freshmen off-campus 4th quarter as an experiment. The meeting was then adjourned and thus all the freshmen ran out of the auditorium.

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