Students Take Center Stage in Community Meeting Makeover

Image provided by Sofia Ulrich ’24

At the start of the 2023-2024 school year, Grace Church School began to prioritize student involvement in community meetings. In previous years, students often complained about community meetings. However, the new changes have shifted opinions. Many students now see the revamped community meetings as an opportunity to build unity and hear from their peers.

Last school year, community meetings were announcement-focused, with teachers and guest speakers leading the conversations. Often, there were little to no announcements, and the meetings felt drawn out. 

Anika A. ‘26 described the 2022-2023 community meetings as “kinda pointless,” a sentiment expressed by several students. However, this year, significant changes have been implemented to enhance the effectiveness and engagement of our community meetings. One notable change has been introducing the House system, which was featured in a November House-focused article.  

The House competitions transformed the atmosphere of community meetings. Community meetings have taken on a more playful and interactive tone by organizing students into houses. 

The high school’s assistant head, Tom James, remarked that “people have gotten really into their house’s spirit” during meetings.

In addition to House games, students are now encouraged to email Mr. James if they wish to participate in the meeting. This new policy has led to several student-led activities, such as Green Griffins’ environmental scavenger hunt and the famous Debate-Jenga competition. 

Another new change has been the addition of advisory-led activities. Each advisory is tasked with designing an activity every quarter, which helps foster grade-level bonds. Recently, the sophomore class participated in a competitive but still friendly game of Capture the Flag. 

Shay V-S. ’26 described the meeting as “a way to feel connected to [their] grade and it was so nice to be able to have fun with one another.” 

Students have reacted positively to these changes, with a general shift in attitude surrounding the community meetings. 

Micah W. ’26 summed up his perspective, saying, “The new rules have been really beneficial. Community meetings are more fun and entertaining now.” 

Prudence M. ’26 describes the meetings as “more enthusiastic” than last year’s.

 Tenth-grade student representative Sami D. ’26 says community meetings have become an “engaging part of [her] week.”

Despite students now taking the lead, community meetings still serve to update Grace students on what’s been happening on a local and global level. For example, students can share their athletic and academic achievements during meetings, allowing them to be acknowledged for their hard work. 

Ruby S. ’27 feels that “community meetings allow people to share what they’re creating and doing at the school.” 

According to Mr. James, students jump at the opportunity to share their work with their peers, encapsulating the newfound level of student engagement during community meetings.

The addition of more student-led meetings at the high school has not only revitalized community meetings but has fostered a sense of belonging and unity among students. What was once perceived as “pointless” has become a platform for student engagement, creativity, and mutual support. 

Students have embraced these gatherings as opportunities to showcase their talents and contributions. With students now taking the lead in sharing their achievements and endeavors, community meetings have evolved into vibrant forums where individuals feel valued and heard. 

With the closing of the school year, it’s evident how these changes have already improved meetings. 

As Mr. James aptly observed, the level of student engagement shows the success of these changes, signaling a promising future for the high school community.

Zarina Medeiros ‘26 is a staff writer for The Grace Gazette.