Class Assemblies Have Unseen Benefits
by Rachael Allen on Friday, October 11th, 2013
By Tuesday morning, it often feels as if we’ve been in school for an entire week. We trudge into the student center, Wigg, King, or Straus to an assembly that so many Head Monitor candidates have promised to rid us of. We need to be at these assemblies for check-in, announcements, and the occasional performance, when the majority of students would rather be spending these crucial twenty minutes sleeping or doing last-minute homework. So why is that we cannot abolish or cut down class assemblies once and for all?
We hear, “Submit to Magus! Come to [insert club name here], we have food! Sign up for the van to [insert place here] this weekend!” These announcements are given so often we already know what will be said because of the person who is standing in front of us. However, when there is nothing to announce, class counselors have to create activities to entertain us. In the case of the senior class, class counselors Emmie Atwood (I) and Valentine Ora (I) have played “Spongebob” episodes, talked about our class plans for this year, or asked classmates perform musical acts. Each of these ideas is run past the class dean, to see whether these plans fit with the goals of the class. For example, the goals of the senior class are community, spirit, and inter-grade relationships.
But can a sense of community really be solidified in just two twenty-minute assemblies a week? Assemblies are not necessarily the time to form new friendships, as we’re too tired to do much more than sink into a seat next to a friend. As one senior says, “Assemblies are not about bonding with your classmates, but rather an attempt to fill up time too early in the morning.”
This job of entertainment falls heavily upon the class counselors. Victoria White (I) says, “Class reps are stuck in a tough situation, pinned between what administrators are insisting and what their classmates want.” Throughout the years, Head Monitors and class counselors have tried to reduce assemblies, yet the administration remains unmovable. Emmie explains that, as much as SGA understands this inconvenience, “We can’t cut assemblies. We’ve tried.”
While we may not always see assemblies as the most effective use of our time, deans consider this brief interaction with our larger class completely necessary.
Assemblies are the only time of week grades congregate, and as Ms. Reiser, senior class dean, points out, “It’s the only time we [the deans] get to see our kids. We do this job because we enjoy working with students, but without assemblies, that connection is greatly lost.” Without assemblies, we students, would not form strong relationships with class deans. After all, the position of class dean exists to connect and advise students.
The problem of our class assemblies is not an issue of productivity, but rather of connection. How many times have we walked into assemblies and looked at a classmate, thinking, “I haven’t seen him this whole year?” Or, students check-in, only to notice that their dean has mixed them up with the person next to them, and for a moment, they laugh slightly and smile before parting, without making an effort to connect to the dean who checks them in.
As much as we may find assemblies unproductive, take a moment to think what our year would be like without them: we would be more confined to the pocket of our grade we know through friends, classes, clubs and sports, only existing in groups and not one coherent grade. You may see that kid you haven’t seen all year, say hello to your friends and deans before your first class, or just have time to just take a breath and sit back before diving into the day. Plus, we can’t forget how that special rolling check-in or donut day becomes a whole lot more of a treat.
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