Wilde Lake Student Democracy Leaders Create Accessibility for Student Voice


Arielle Levine

Student democracy leaders know that students at Wilde Lake are ready to talk, according to SGA President Sajana Vigna Mclaughlin. Abisola says it is important for Wilde Lake to create a student democracy environment that is “not exclusionary and has everyone’s opinions present.” [From left to right: Abisola Ayoola, Oliver Song, Gabby Oshadiya, Sajana Vigna Mclaughlin, Aly Abel, Liz Cho, and Logan Peyton]

In 2018 when Mr. Wallace first came to Wilde Lake and took on the role of SGA sponsor, he said he wanted to see the whole student body represented in student democracy by making it “accessible” to all students. 

Now, with the implementation of a governing General Assembly, students are able to voice their opinions during school rather than utilizing after-school hours at SGA meetings. This, according to Mr. Wallace, has provided the SGA with more feedback “than ever before.”

Mr. Wallace and the SGA were able to implement the General Assembly after the introduction of advisory to the bell schedule. This addition provided spaces for representatives to hail from and a time to gather. After one school year of General Assemblies, two student representatives per advisory continue to gather once a month in the cafeteria to “have an impact,” according to Mr. Wallace. 

SGA Secretary, sophomore Liz Cho, says that the SGA board needs outside influence when  leading school-wide decision-making. “We become close-minded at some point when we’re just talking with each other,” said Liz. She says that the in-school General Assemblies have exposed the SGA executive board to ideas they “never thought about.”

Wilde Lake administrators and the community as a whole have provided this space for students to speak their opinions and listen to student voices, says SGA President Sajana Vigna-Mclaughlin. She says that the SGA has started to see participation in student democracy from more students and not just from student leaders. 

“The demographics [of those involved in student’s voice] are changing, and they should be changing,” said Sajana.

Student democracy is for the underdogs to be heard.

— Gabby Oshadiya, SGA Vice President

“Student democracy is for the underdogs to be heard,” said SGA Vice President Gabby Oshadiya. She says that ensuring that all student voices are heard is a reflection of true student democracy. 

At the county level, as the Student Member of the Board, junior Abisola Ayoola represents students across HCPSS. “The importance of student government is to ensure that student voices are always at the table when decisions are being made,” she said. 

Abisola says that speaking on behalf of the student’s voice allows any student to step up and “make things better for other students.” She says that it is important that “any” student can share their voice because “We all experience things differently. We all have a different take.”

“It is unfair that we as students are subject to rules and policies that we had no input in,” said the Howard County Association of Student Councils (HCASC) President Oliver Song. “We need to advocate for ourselves.”

Mr. Wallace says that the school cannot be run without the voice of the students. “I want decisions to be made with kids’ input rather than just going to adults to make decisions,” he says.

Student democracy, with the active participation from students, makes the school “more than just a school,” according to Abisola. “It makes it a community and a good place to be.”

HCASC Liaison Alyson Abel says that it is important at Wilde Lake, in particular, student voices are heard to reflect “our diversity” as a school. “It is important to get all voices in order for education to be equalized,” she said. 

Looking to the future of SGA, Sajana says that over the years, more students get involved. “As each generation goes on, we see more and more participation in the younger generations,” said Sajana. “These are our lives. The value is prevalent.”