Nepotism Influences Milton’s Student Clubs and Organizations
by Stacy Sukharevsky on Friday, October 16th, 2015
For most students in the Upper School, the phrase “on Wednesdays, we wear pink” is not unfamiliar. This phrase is uttered in Mean Girls, the well-known movie produced in 2004, starring Rachel McAdams, Lindsay Lohan, and Amanda Seyfried. In the past decade, Mean Girls has become one of the few movies watched and enjoyed by many generations. Depicting the life of a previously homeschooled high schooler and the struggle of fitting into an exclusive clique, the movie and its themes hit close to home for many students at Milton. However, the significance of cliques and friendship circles at Milton, in my opinion, is severely underestimated.
When I was in elementary school, my group of friends was just the classmates that I hung out with and ate lunch with. Now, the social clique that you associate with not only influences your spot in the student center, but also influences the opportunities that you can have at Milton; in fact, a lot of the boards of clubs feature a group of people that, coincidentally, happen to be in the same social clique. So, we wonder, what is the process of selecting new board members for these particular clubs, and how is it possible for new students to become part of these clubs? It seems that at Milton Academy, and possibly at other private schools as well, the key to becoming a board member of a club is to be friends with someone who is already on the board.
I asked a few students around campus to express their opinion on this theory. Maggie O’Hanlon (II), stated that “personally, I think the whole process is corrupt and that for a lot of clubs, students become the head by being friends with the previous head.” She went on to relate clubs to friend groups at Milton, explaining that “if all the heads of a club are part of a friend group, then the rest of the club members are usually part of that friend group, and leadership positions within the club get passed down. It seems to me that if you play on a varsity sport or have [had] older siblings at Milton, your chances of being on the board of an organization are greatly improved.”
When I was a freshman, I tried out to be part of the dance team. Showing up to auditions, there were two other freshmen trying out with me. They were all very talented dancers, and although I was slightly intimidated, I was confident that I would receive a spot on the team, as there were not many participants in the first place. However, out of the three freshmen that auditioned for dance team that day, only one made the cut. Coincidentally, this student’s older sister was in the same friend group as the captains of the dance team. Although this was definitely not the only reason the freshman made the team, I believe that the fact that she had a connection with those in charge certainly helped.
The idea of clubs being turned into social societies — although somewhat abstract — is not far off from the truth. It seems unjust that two students, who are equally passionate about a club and have equally creative ideas for its improvement, would not have the same chance of being on its board simply because one of these students has a sibling at Milton or a more “popular” group of friends. Although the system is biased, the most important step right now is to try to fix it. The fundamental reason that many students choose Milton Academy above all other schools is because they want to come to a place where the same opportunities exist for each student, regardless of social standing or legacy. Therefore, let’s live up to our Milton name, making sure that no students regret choosing Milton because of club hierarchies.
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