We may only be a couple of weeks into school, but some students – Sarah Jones and Jasper Johnston, in particular – have been thinking very seriously about this school year since Grade 11.
Sarah and Jasper were elected Head Girl and Head Boy towards the end of last year and immediately got to work – meeting with students, faculty and staff at the Junior, Middle and Senior Schools; discussing their goals for the school; and aspiring to make this the best school year ever (get it?!) for everyone at SMUS.
The SMUS Review sat down with the student leaders to get to know them and to find out the impact they hope to make at SMUS this year.
Why did you want to be Head Girl?
Sarah – Originally when I thought about it I didn’t really consider myself Head Girl material because I’m pretty involved in sports outside of school. I didn’t think I was involved enough in the student life and the school life to become Head Girl. But I had a few people ask me to run for the position, even people who aren’t necessarily in my close friend group, so then I started really considering the position. And I talked to [last year’s Head Girl] Cindy [Kim] and she made it sound like the perfect way to become involved in the school and contribute to making it an even better place.
So Jasper, is Sarah Head Girl material?
Jasper – She’s going to be a great Head Girl! Who doesn’t like Sarah? She’s always present and is such a powerful, positive force on campus. And she’s always smiling! She is deeply involved in the school community and we all know she’s going to be great representing us.
Why did you want to be Head Boy?
Jasper – I think in part because I had had wonderful experiences with our previous Head Boys and Head Girls. I was really lucky to be in a class with [former Head Girl] Kalkidan [Amare] and Cindy, and I did Model UN with [former Head Boy] Ryley [Erickson] when I was in Grade 9, so it was cool to see how these older kids were such great role models. And I am someone who is quite involved in the school community; I do lots of different things and I really think that, especially to the younger kids who see that, it can be wonderful for them to see that as something they can aspire to, to really get involved.
Why is Jasper a going to make a good Head Boy?
Sarah – He’s gonna be a great Head Boy because he’s super organized and he’s super on top of things, and he literally knows absolutely everything about any aspect of the school – I don’t know how he does it. He has really good relationships with all the teachers and all the students. He also has some really good ideas for the year.
What role do you see the Head Boy and Girl playing in the school community and for the student body?
Jasper – I think that the big thing is the Head Boy and Head Girl are the public face of the Prefect Council and of the Grade 12s. It’s up to that graduating class to set the tone for the year and to really be the role models as a class, not just the individual students, setting a great example for the other grades. Through that, the Head Boy and Head Girl need to keep the Prefect Council upbeat, motivated to get things done throughout the year, and hopefully coming up with some great ideas, or at least helping others achieve their ideas, to make this school year as wonderful as possible for everyone. Regardless if you’re at the Junior School, Middle School or Senior School, we’re the student representatives for the whole school.
Sarah – I’d add that we’ve got some cool ideas to connect all three campuses a bit more and hopefully get the younger kids more familiar with the Senior School campus. Besides being a role model, it’s also about trying to foster that sense of community.
What do you expect will be most challenging aspect of the position?
Sarah – Definitely realizing that we can’t please everyone, and knowing when to do something and knowing when to say, ‘I’m sorry, we’re not going to be able to do that.’ Trying to please and balance as many people’s wants without getting overwhelmed is going to be a challenge. But we’ll have to deal with it and move forward.
What duty, as part of everything, are you most looking forward to?
Jasper – We’re really lucky to have this opportunity and for being given a title, so we want to make some use of it. It’s not the overt, ‘It’s so great I’m Head Boy and Sarah’s Head Girl; go us!,’ but it’s about letting us be there in the background in as much as we can, having confidence in the Prefect Council and the whole school to get things done.
Sarah – Just having the chance to take some of the ideas we have, and some of the ideas other students have, about improving the school, or trying to bring people closer together, and having the ability to do something about it. We’re now in a position where we don’t have to try and tell someone about a cool idea, we’re now in a position where we can make things happen. I think that’s going to be fun.
What kind of ideas do you have for the school year?
Jasper – Something we’re looking at doing is trying to have the Head Boy and Head Girl run assemblies at the Junior and Middle School, too. The idea of that would be to start to get those students knowing what’s beyond their campus and their school; giving them something that they can look forward to as they move up through the grades and aspire to. And also it’ll let them realize no matter how young they are, they’re at St. Michaels University School and they’re doing amazing things that we’re all interested in. Like when the Grade 5 students do their leadership speeches, having us there to say, ‘We’re doing those exact same things and we’re in Grade 12 and you’re only in Grade 5 and you’re already thinking about this – it’s absolutely amazing.” This already is a great community, but really strengthening that further. It’s not up to us – it’s up to the Grade 12s, it’s up to the whole school. If everyone does their part, if everyone makes a little effort, our school will get even that much better.
(photo by Kyle Slavin)