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The Implications of the Student Leadership Pledge

A sampling of Weston High School’s exceptional school leaders. 
(Left to right) Julia Reynolds, Sofia Bara, Avery Roche, Gabriella Reynolds, James Joyce, Max Chayet.
Photo Courtesy of Catrin Zharyy

A sampling of Weston High School’s exceptional school leaders. (Left to right) Julia Reynolds, Sofia Bara, Avery Roche, Gabriella Reynolds, James Joyce, Max Chayet. Photo Courtesy of Catrin Zharyy

Catrin Zharyy, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

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Recently, the administration decided that the Captain’s Pledge was a pledge that all student leaders should be required to uphold. “We decided to create a student leadership pledge for all student leaders because it wasn’t fair to the captains that only they were being held accountable,” says Principal Lisa Deorio. “Any leader in the school should understand that he or she is a role model and needs to make a commitment to our school.”
The Student Leadership Pledge outlines the expectations that the school has of its student leaders. It clearly points out that if a student leader fails “to make positive choices related to physical and mental wellness” or “to remain chemical free,” it “will result in being immediately removed from [her/his] position of leadership.”
The captain of cheerleading and Co-President of WHS, Susanna Keith, believes that the grounds for losing one’s leadership role are completely appropriate. She says “If they signed the pledge then they are fully aware of the standards they are being held to, and if they are caught doing something that is illegal or unacceptable then it is only fair for them to lose their position. They have agreed to represent the school and they have to uphold the expectations.”
Mrs. Deorio says someone who doesn’t commit to matching the criteria of a leader should lose their position because “We believe that actions have consequences. In this case, the consequence is removal from the position because the person did not adhere to the school’s expectations. I also think it is important for our school to support and encourage safe and healthy choices. This pledge reinforces that message.”
Mr. Mark Berkowitz, our athletic director, agrees. “Being a captain or a school leader is a great privilege and along with that privilege comes great responsibility. While I never want to see any captain or school leader lose their position, I do believe that if a person is going to make a commitment and sign a pledge showing their commitment they should live up to that or accept the consequences that come with their decision.”
People are wary of the fact that evidence that someone has not upheld the promises of the pledge can be submitted to Mr. Berkowitz or any administrator anonymously. This means that potentially someone could submit incriminating evidence of a student leader doing something against the pledge out of spite, and cause that leader to be removed from her/his position. When asked how he feels about the anonymous submission of such evidence, Mr. Berkowitz says “I wish that weren’t ever the case, as the person who brings forward the information should have the courage of their convictions to stand behind their actions. The fact remains the same however, that the person who chose not to live up to the commitment of their position would be receiving consequences for their decision, which they do have control over.”
Regardless of people’s worries and any controversy about the implications of the Student Leadership Pledge, it is a reflection of the school’s constant efforts to “support and encourage safe and healthy choices,” (according to Mrs. Deorio) and I get the feeling that that priority won’t be compromised.

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The Implications of the Student Leadership Pledge