[Editorial] Assembly System Needs Check In
by The Milton Measure on Friday, November 6th, 2015
Seniors may remember the glory days of Jessica Li ‘13 and Nick Maragos ‘13 running Monday morning assemblies– Jess would be prepared with a brief summary of the upcoming week, while Nick would improvise hilarious speeches about showers, senior fall, and more. Juniors probably remember Cameron Park ‘14 and Liam White ‘14, who ran Monday morning assemblies, though less often than the previous head monitors. Caroline Wall ‘15 and Louis Demetroulakos ‘15 were the current sophomore’ first head monitors, infrequently presented at Monday assemblies, apart from the occasional introduction to a big event on campus. This year, head monitors Avery Park ‘16 and Mack Makishima ‘16, rarely speak to the upper school students on Monday mornings.
Perhaps the declining involvement of head monitors in assemblies is one reason why 53% of the 356 respondents in a recent Measure poll (in centerfold) preferred only one to two morning assemblies per week, as opposed to the four we currently have. Only 5% wanted no assemblies whatsoever, 19% wanted three assemblies a week, and 21% supported having either four or five assemblies per week. Currently, we have one all-school assembly, two class assemblies, and one joint underclassmen/upperclassmen assemblies. By this point in the year, most assemblies end five to ten minutes early. By the ten minute mark, clubs have made their announcements, acapella groups have sung, and other announcements have been made (if not over email).
Class assemblies, in particular, have much room for improvement. In fact, many upperclassmen would argue that having two per week is unnecessary. For underclassmen, the class bonding that occurs may be beneficial, but after four years, twenty minutes twice a week can only accomplish so much for a class.
Monday mornings could also be better. While most all of the student body enjoys Mr. Ball’s comprehensive speeches, the format of the assemblies is often predictable, and many students tune out early on. Monday morning is the only time in the week we gather as an upper school community community. It should be a time when we feel connected instead of bored. Perhaps, mornings would become more engaging if head monitors were allowed to take a more active role as in years past. It is always entertaining to watch the dynamic between the duo, as it changes every year. In addition, the audience to which they must perform changes every year. Who better to reflect what the changing student body wants to hear than the people they elected?
As a board, we echo the poll’s results, and suggest that the school change its assembly schedule. Joint assemblies should happen once a week. We do believe it is important for underclassmen to forge bonds, so both Class IV and Class III should have one class assembly per week and one rolling check-in. Upperclassmen should have rolling check-in twice per week, replacing the two class assemblies. In addition. we would also propose to reinstate the old Wednesday schedule, with advisory in the morning and assembly during second period.
We recognize the importance of assemblies and of gathering as a community, but everything should be in moderation. Eliminating one assembly a week for underclassmen and two assemblies a week for upperclassmen would give all students a necessary mid-week break. Most importantly, reduced responsibility is not what the head monitors ran for, nor what the student body wants. Putting assemblies back in control of the SGA could once again revitalize Milton mornings.
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=7375