by Sydney Hooyerfirstname.lastname@example.org
With a vacant school building and students doing their school work from home, PC’s Student Council has had to think outside of the box to engage students during this time of social distancing. Planning events for the students and brainstorming ideas of how to get people involved has also become more difficult without in-person meetings.
“We’ve only had a few StuCo meetings and we’ve had to do them over Zoom,” said StuCo vice president Emily Van Beek. “The problem is that it’s much harder to communicate your concerns or ideas without the face-to-face contact that we would normally get in our meetings. Other difficulties arise because not everyone has a quiet space in their home to join the meeting from or a stable internet connection to maintain the call.”
Although meeting online has presented some challenges, social distancing has allowed advisor Trixanna Wang to discover online resources that might be helpful in the years to come. “COVID-19 forced us to make our election process for next year’s council completely digital,” she said. “We definitely missed having the opportunity to interview our candidates face to face, but some of the application forms and tools we used to make the process work while socially apart will continue to help us streamline the election process in years to come, even once COVID-19 no longer requires the distance.”
Another challenge that Student Council has faced is motivating students to want to be involved in the events they plan. “It’s been really hard to engage kids from afar,” said advisor Greg Wojczynski. “The hardest part of everything is that you can’t do anything with friends- it’s all individual stuff-and let’s be real, that’s not as fun.”
One event that Student Council planned was a trivia night involving the whole student body and their families. Students could join a Zoom meeting where they could see all their peers and answer various questions on Kahoot, a game-like response system that can be played by a group of people in real time. In the classroom, Kahoot can be a fun learning tool, but it has also been helpful in engaging students during social distancing.
At the end of the trivia night competition, the person with the most points received $50 in Pella Bucks. Many students enjoyed competing against their peers, so Student Council hosted two more trivia nights. The winners have been seniors Abbie Altena, Zoey Nelson, and Jack Vermeer. “My favorite part of trivia was showing the world and Mr. Wojczynski that I really could do it. Being able to see fellow teachers and classmates was also a really nice perk,” said Jack Vermeer.
With the seniors missing out on so many important last moments of high school, Student Council has made a special effort to recognize them. They brought yard signs to the seniors’ houses and made individual Instagram and Facebook posts for each graduate. These posts highlighted seniors’ activities and achievements in high school, their favorite memories, and their plans for the future. “Not only was it fun for me to share my answers with my classmates, but I really enjoyed seeing what everyone else had to say as well and seeing all my classmates’ faces again,” said senior Molly Bolt.