Two high school students are voices of student body
The school lunch break looks a little different this school year at Bellefonte Area High School than it normally has in the past. There are rows of classroom desks, spaced apart at least six feet. Students who attend school in-person have assigned seats in the cafeteria or auxiliary gymnasium, which many have said isn’t the ideal opportunity to socialize, especially during a time in the school day when socializing is encouraged.
That’s why senior Rianna Morris made a proposal to the Bellefonte Area school board with the hope some enhancements can be made during lunch time.
“This was at the top of our list,” Morris said. “With the pandemic, it’s hard for social interaction. With the younger kids, we want them to feel comfortable. (We) met with (Principal) Mr. Fedisson and talked about some ideas to promote choosing assigned seats within the class block, so students can feel more comfortable with those they’re sitting by, while also keeping in mind contact tracing measures.”
Morris is one of two student board representatives, along with junior Claire Topper, who regularly attend Bellefonte Area school board meetings and act as the voice of the student body. Together, they aim to bring student concerns and other information to the nine-member school board. Their reports include updates including that with academics, athletics, clubs and more.
Each student board representative runs on a two-year term – this school year being Morris’ second year and Topper’s first.
“I’ve learned that there is a balance to working together and learning to rely on your own leadership to bring ideas and get things done,” Morris said.
For Topper, she was nominated to apply for the position by teacher Ed Fitzgerald. Now, she’s working and learning from Morris who she calls a great mentor. In response, Morris said Topper is already exceeding expectations.
“It’s been really nice to have someone showing me the ropes and also trusting me with responsibilities,” Topper said. “I’m learning to understand everything, so I can be dependent and next year show someone else what Rianna taught me.”
For those students interested in a position like this, they both said confidence is one of the most important qualities to have, along with being approachable and open to helping their peers.
*By Brit Milazzo, public relations director, BASD