Assembly System Needs Review
by Christina Lin on Friday, February 7th, 2014
On Wednesday mornings, Milton students often greet each other with “Which assembly are you going to?” In the first week back from winter break, the student body was, as usual, given a choice: Improv assembly or GASP assembly.
Many complained that the Improv assembly and GASP assembly were put together on the same day. While there were plenty of students who expressed interest in learning more about LGBT issues, the majority opted for the humor of the Improv assembly. Ironically, while one group listened to very serious and moving stories that had a necessary message, another laughed hysterically just across the street at an assembly that perennially attracts crowds. The general tones of these two assemblies were drastically opposite; yet, students were told to choose between a heavy, meaningful speech and a lighter, more relaxing show.
It is hard to put the blame on one person for this odd arrangement. Rather than criticizing an individual— in this case, Ms. WuWong, who is in charge of scheduling assemblies— we should acknowledge the complexity behind this task.
With that said, I believe that the problem lies in the current assembly system. Frankly, some assemblies don’t interest students as much as others. Often, students walk out of second period Wednesday assemblies, never again to consider the presented topics, purely out of disinterest. In contrast, there are many assemblies, such as Improv, that almost all students hope to attend. In order to allow students to see the assemblies they want to, Milton should put in place an assembly ranking system. At the beginning of the year, the administration could organize an online poll with each speaker listed out. With the option to read about the topic or watch a clip of the speakers’ previous speeches, students could number these assemblies based on their interest. Using this information, the administration could organize the assembly schedule according the students’ desires: the most popular would be all-school assemblies, and the ones with lower rankings would share a timeslot.
Although I believe that this system would have the desired effect, the administration should first and foremost make a greater effort to rethink its assembly pairings. In the case of the Improv and GASP assemblies, the combination was strange, if not inappropriate. By putting these two assemblies on the same day— one crucial and another trivial— Milton insinuated that these two assemblies were equal, thus diminishing the importance of LGBT issues. Assemblies on the same day do not necessarily need to have similar topics, but the choices at hand certainly should not be as disparate as GASP and Improv. Assemblies provide a crucial time for students to learn more about a certain topic or issue, opening up discussions we might have ordinarily have. Why not give students more power over these important periods?
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=5662