SGA Students Exercise Their Right to Voice Student Concerns

Eloise Epangue

The power of the student voice is immeasurable. From little everyday things like being heard on the morning announcements to nationwide protests and walkouts, students who use their voices are listened to. In 2018, students organized a school walkout after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting to protest gun violence. They left school for 17 minutes, a minute for each life lost. Approximately 3,000 schools and one million students participated in the walkout, including many students at Wilde Lake. 

At Wilde Lake, the Student Government Association (SGA) works hard to make change in school by using their voices to solve problems that affect many students, such as issues with student parking and students who prefer to stay out of the cafeteria during their lunch. Without their voices as students who are familiar with issues of their school, these problems would go unresolved. 

SGA is a student-led organization at schools all over the country that requires students to step up and voice their insight and opinions on how to improve the quality of student life at school. At Wilde Lake, the SGA plans pep rallies, holiday parties, and spirit weeks. Junior Jet Stevenson commends SGA for the hard work they always put into their events. “The events are only great because of the students being so involved. Student involvement develops the “ohana” here at Wilde Lake, so it’s really special.” 

Student voice can go beyond issues in a school environment, like politics. Senior at Wilde Lake and SGA President Bettina Shaju explains how speaking up and raising awareness about an issue can have a significant impact on a bigger scale than just schools. “Pursuing democracy in the future requires any student to have a voice that is rooted in strong beliefs and the passion to manifest their interests vigorously,” she says. Positions like the SMOB enable a student voice on the Board of Education to represent the needs of Howard County students. 

Mr. Wallace, US Government teacher and SGA advisor, believes that more students should be exercising their voices. “If students are more involved, then they will see more change,” he says. 

Aside from planning dances and pep rallies, members of SGA attend conventions like the Maryland Association of Student Councils (MASC), where students have the opportunity to highlight issues within their school that they wish to change. Students communicate with the Maryland General Assembly, allowing their voices to be heard by those in power. 

Shaju muses about the benefits of learning to use their voice to affect positive change. “Things like joining SGA will show students a world beyond the classroom setting,” she says, “and that their voices will not go unheard if they speak up.”