Geared up in their Decades Day costumes, the audience cheers on fellow
students taking the stage for Community Meeting.
Julia Patella '20 is grateful for Peddie's trust in their students as she and her co-student leaders take charge of Community Meeting.
Since arriving at Peddie as a freshman, I have always loved Community Meeting -- an hour set aside for the entire community to gather together. Shared time with the entire student body is special. As a freshman sitting in the balcony of the Geiger-Reeves Theater, I remember how much I admired the courage of the student council leaders who seemed to lead Community Meeting with such confidence.
Giving students the stage
Schools have morning announcements delivered to their students in a variety of ways. What makes Community Meeting so special is that at Peddie, our meeting time for announcements, musical performances and sometimes silliness is entirely planned and executed by the student leaders. This year, as a senior and co-president of the student body, many of the memories I’m making and lessons I’m learning come from my time on and behind the stage running Community Meeting.
For three years I have been an observer at these meetings, but now it’s up to me, my co-president Johnny Sussek and our vice president Jamie Tierney to keep the community informed — and entertained — at these gatherings.
A true community experience
At the first Community Meeting this year, I was a little bit nervous that something would go wrong, but all we had to do was say “Welcome to the first community meeting of the year,” and the students cheered like crazy, excited to be together. I looked out from the theater stage and saw all my classmates clapping and yelling. I looked at my fellow seniors who were now sitting in the front rows closest to the action and I could feel their excitement for the great year we had ahead of us. I took a moment to look up to the balcony and couldn’t help but remember my first days as a Peddie student.
Students "mummify" a teacher with toilet paper
during a student contest at Community Meeting
as Patella (right) looks on.
Helping run Community Meeting with my other student council leaders has been an additional part of my education at Peddie. We have learned many new skills not typically part of everyone’s high school experience. We have to control the crowd to be excited and energized when there’s a student contest or performance and then help them switch gears to make them attentive during important announcements like from our friends in the Peddie Environmental and Sustainability Team about the new school-wide composting program. We have honed our public speaking skills and learned how to budget an hour of time, keeping the program moving so that it doesn’t waste the time of our busy classmates.
I am grateful for Peddie’s trust in us as student leaders -- it is a bold move to hand a microphone to students for an hour without knowing what they will do. But, we do a lot of things differently at Peddie.
I mean, where else does your school let you wrap a faculty member in toilet paper just for fun?
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