The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

[STAFF EDITORIAL] Contribute meaningfully to assemblies and discussions

100% staff agreement
I+CARE.+Disscussions+between+peers+is+a+vital+aspect+of+speakers+coming+to+SPA.+
Annika Kim
I CARE. Disscussions between peers is a vital aspect of speakers coming to SPA.

Recently, the upper school has had an abundance of speaker assemblies and, with them, discussions within advisories. The drastic increase in these events has been a direct result of the current state of the world, where geopolitical conflicts have arisen, racial and religious tensions have grown, and various other difficult situations face students. So far in the school year, there have been ten assemblies, ranging from an informative guide to the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict to a call to pre-register for voting. These are part of students’ learning and are just as important as any other class. However, despite the administration’s and teachers’ efforts, the student body bears a responsibility they have fallen short of. Creating a positive environment for critical and meaningful conversations is challenging when many individuals are reluctant to participate.

To take full advantage of assemblies, each student needs to be engaged and attentive during and after these events, putting real thought into new information and ideas. These thoughts must be voiced so everyone must have room to speak and share. But, sometimes, it feels as if others are speaking only for the sake of speaking or like they are checking off a task. Instead, students can all ensure that their advisories have purposeful discussions by interacting with each other. For instance, individuals can propose discussion prompts, ask someone about their feelings and thoughts, or be the brave soul who speaks first and guides the group.

Moreover, the conversation doesn’t only have to be in formal advisory discussions. Although it is crucial to communicate within advisories and with less familiar acquaintances, the most meaningful and authentic interactions are between close friends. After assemblies, students should bring up their thoughts with friends while they are still fresh in their minds.

Although it is crucial to communicate within advisories and with less familiar acquaintances, the most meaningful and authentic interactions are between close friends.


However, not all reflection has to be verbal. In fact, a couple of advisories have implemented the use of notebooks. A 2021 study by Psychology Today claims that “handwriting in a notebook triggers more robust brain activity” and “writing by hand is associated with stronger neural encoding and memory retrieval.” Having students write down their takeaways and questions is a great way to prepare for discussions, organize responses, and provide an alternative form of engagement.

Questions are an aspect that students and Q&A panels could improve. The recent MLK assembly featured broad and repetitive questions, barely producing any interesting information from guest speakers Rose and Rosalyn. Questions enable people to learn specific details, and direct interaction can build personal connections with the speaker. So, every student should take the power to develop their own. Administration can also assist in creating productive questions. A potential solution for students’ fear of embarrassment is to send out a Google Form for anonymity or to physically bring the microphone to individuals to avoid the awkwardness of getting up and walking forward. Simply reminding students of upcoming assembly days and giving details of the subject matter would provide them time to think and develop questions.

With half of the school year yet to be completed, there will surely be more assemblies and speakers, each bringing their perspectives and lessons. Students must be more proactive and open-minded to maximize these unique opportunities.

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About the Contributor
Annika Kim, Illustrator
My name is Annika Kim (she/her). I work as the Illustrator for the Rubicon, and this is my second year officially on staff. At school, I work on Iris Art & Lit magazine and act in the theatre productions. I love animation and want to combine computer science with art to tell a story. I can be reached at [email protected].

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