The alarm on my phone goes off as soon as the clock strikes 6 p.m., I scurry out the door in hopes of being early. I walk through the double glass door entrance of the police station and turn left. The smell of pizza wafts through the air and loud voices bounces from the bright white walls. The meeting commences at 6:30 and the sound of a single voice fills the room. Bob Houghtaling – Mr. Houghtaling – starts to talk mostly about what we discussed last week, giving us a brief overview.
This is the TLC, standing for Teen Leadership Consortium. The TLC could be an alter ego of the student government. It encourages leaders to come to together to discuss issues the school system doesn’t focus on. The TLC welcomes leaders from all different parts of the school whether it be leaders in academics, athletics, music, or various clubs/interests. The age range is from freshman to senior but this year the sophomore class is particularly well represented. We encourage students to come every week and give us their individual input on some of the things they want to see done.
It is one thing to want something done and another to do something about it. The TLC puts an emphasis on the action instead of just the talk. With the help of Mr. Houghtaling the TLC has been able to take 20 or so of the school's leaders and brainstorm some ideas to help improve the school. At first it was difficult for some to open up and express thoughts, for others it was hard to listen to opinions different from their own. Compromising has been a key factor to our success so far. By now you might be wondering what we've been working on and we have a few ideas in progress.
As a group we've come to the realization that although our school is very supportive of athletics, the student body offers more than just football, basketball, and lacrosse. We would like to add more school spirit to some of the various clubs and teams that do not receive much recognition. When first entering high school it is hard to learn about every single clubs the school has to offer and at times it can be overwhelming. Because of that, the TLC has proposed to have a “fair” completely centered on the clubs in our school. Each club will have the opportunity to set up their own booth representing what they are all about. The TLC will be hosting the fair and more details for that are to come.
Another issue that's come up is a sense that some parents don't understand what their teenage child might be going through in high school. We understand that they themselves have gone through school but times have changed and it might be useful to talk to someone who is currently going through the system. We've asked the EGHS administration to consider holding a parent forum on the issue and to consider letting TLC members to visit younger schools in order to supply some background knowledge of the high school before they enter themselves. Our goal for both of these is to lessen the pressure that some parents face and to lessen the anxiety of some younger students.
The clock strikes 7:45, signaling that the meeting is almost over. By now we have discussed at least 10 different issues and decided which is extremely important or which can take a backseat to other events. We have heard arguments representing both sides from members of the TLC including RivaLee Ferland (SO), Divya Mahadevan (SR), Tom Sommer (SO), Jessica Donegan (FR), Zoe Hinman (SO), Rachel Morely (SR), Rocco Petito (SO), and Max Guessman (SO) as well as many others. We end up taking a vote on the final decision. Although the TLC is fairly new, we have all become very close in a short amount of time. We've come to trust and listen to each other and hopefully by the end of this year we will end up leaving our mark on the school for future generations to come.
Gabrielle Granatiero is a sophomore at East Greenwich High School.