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The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

Underclassmen prepare to lead as seniors prepare to leave

As+seniors+at+PVHS+prepare+to+leave+their+high+school+careers+behind%2C+underclassmen+must+step+up+to+lead+their+various+clubs.
Megan McKnight
As seniors at PVHS prepare to leave their high school careers behind, underclassmen must step up to lead their various clubs.

As the class of 2023 prepares to graduate, many clubs and other extracurricular activities are about to lose their leaders, leaving many underclassmen students concerned about the fate of their clubs.

Currently, many of the prolific clubs at PVHS are led by seniors. In the drama department, the eight person officer board, president and publicity manager consist of all seniors. According to supervisor and social studies teacher Erin Klage, the only eight seniors in the club make up the entire officer board. 

A Positive Place is a club that works to promote a community of inclusion and diversity, run by Coach Jane Wheeler, librarian Carissa McDonald, and teacher Sara Russell. In this club, almost a third of the attendees are seniors, and the only person who has stepped up to lead the club’s meetings is a senior. Many underclassmen attend the meetings, but have not yet taken on any leadership roles.

Even in less popular clubs, seniors take on important leadership roles. Book Club, supervised by McDonald, currently has only six members, and the only senior is a prominent leader of the club. 

However, this is not a new phenomenon for PVHS. Last year, senior Lauren McGovern ran the Writing Club alongside English Language teacher Lynne Lundberg. Writing Club was a place for students to hone their creative writing skills and share their work with other writers. However, after it was taken over by underclassmen at the beginning of this year, the club fell apart, and hasn’t had a meeting since October.

However, some exceptional underclassmen are stepping up to protect their clubs from this fate. 

In Spartan Assembly, an elected group of students who run various fundraisers and dances for the school, many underclassmen are prepared to take over senior leadership positions. This is  largely due to the number of opportunities available to them when compared to other clubs. Out of 44 members of Spartan Assembly, only 9 are seniors, and there are only two seniors on the five member executive team. Both juniors and seniors can be involved in the executive position, giving the juniors a chance to get used to the new role while still being mentored by the seniors.

Additionally, during second semester, all underclassmen have the opportunity to practice leading a committee while still receiving guidance from the executives and the staff supervisors of the group. By allowing underclassmen to practice and develop their leadership skills early on, they gain more confidence in themselves and are ready to step up to the plate when the current seniors graduate.

But Spartan Assembly is not the only club that provides opportunities to underclassmen. Despite the drama department’s reliance on seniors, they still make sure that underclassmen get ample leadership experience. Klage believes that many underclassmen are committed to contributing to their club. “We have so many exceptional leaders from our underclassmen,” she said. “The goal of the program is to provide as many students as possible with leadership opportunities.”

Some newer clubs offer leadership opportunities to all students due to the sheer amount of underclassmen in the group. Ethics Bowl, run by Lundberg, is a nationwide competition where students work in teams to find the most ethical solutions to various complicated scenarios. They then compete with other teams from around the nation in order to progress on in the competition. 

In the 2021-2022 school year, the team was made up entirely of juniors, and yet they still made it all the way to nationals. This year, many participants from last year have returned as seniors, but many juniors have also joined the club for the first time. In fact, according to Lundberg, there were 14 seniors and 16 underclassmen in the club this year. According to Lundberg, two juniors, Margil Sanchez Carmona and Ashwin Parab, even made it onto the elite team selected to compete in the national competition.

Sanchez Carmona believes that his status as a junior means that he carries a large responsibility to the club. “As the only junior who remained on the team for the national competition season I now have a responsibility to maintain the legacy that this year’s seniors have created,” he said. “I’ve grown to regard my peers with incredible respect and it’s my job to make sure their efforts are reflected in the next generations of ethics bowl at PV.”

While the class of 2023 is undoubtedly a major part of the extracurricular clubs and activities at PVHS, it’s clear that if the underclassmen are adequately prepared to take on their new leadership roles, all of the clubs can continue to thrive.

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About the Contributor
Megan McKnight
Megan McKnight, Copy Editor
Megan is currently a senior at Pleasant Valley High School, and is one of the new copy editors for the online Spartan Shield. She has many different interests, but she is most passionate about literature and creative writing, and intends to major in English in college. Therefore, she is involved in many rigorous English classes and a member of writing club. Furthermore, Megan volunteers at Hopewell Elementary School library, helping to organize different book series and contribute to the general upkeep of the library. She has had the opportunity to advance her writing skills through these experiences, which she hopes will help her achieve her dream of becoming a full-time author. Outside of school, Megan enjoys baking, spending time with her family, and working on her personal writing projects. Megan is incredibly excited to be a copy editor for the online Spartan Shield, and can’t wait to contribute to the paper!  
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Underclassmen prepare to lead as seniors prepare to leave