The 14 Year Experience

“14 Year Experience”


It was the year of our lord 2019 and I was *shudder* a freshman. Like all wonted freshman, my mind was filled with cookies, rainbows, and unicorns. Also – another freshman trait – I was filled with motivation and inspiration to change the world (or at least Parker) and make a legacy for myself. The first idea I had was to manifest a club. Hence, the original Sports Debate Club was created (this club was technically produced with four other freshmen, but I am going to keep saying ‘I’ because I did all the work; they don’t read “The Weekly” anyway).  

My Sports Debate Club had its own table for Club Fair and a page in the Yearbook (but that was after its gruesome death; we’ll get into that). That exposure is enough to disintegrate most freshmen. I mean, all a freshman experiences before high school is bedtime stories and afternoon naps with warm milk, so making the club creation process so easy a freshman could do it is dangerous. But I was no normal freshman: I was the Second Coming of Christ. The Sports Debate Club was a triumph for everyone involved. 

However, the club was short-lived. The club met once a week, and the first few weeks were resounding successes. The downfall came after the business department realized how expensive our club was. Each meeting, we ordered pizza from Dominos which is surprisingly expensive. Mr. Bruno called me into his office and said, “You’ve bankrupted the school.” (That’s not verbatim, but you get the point). From then on, it was a slow march towards death. Members started to miss meetings for obscure reasons, conversations started becoming dry, those who did show up started passing out due to starvation. It was a catastrophe. COVID-19 was the final stake through its heart. The pandemic wasn’t fruitful in many ways, but it did put Sports Debate Club – and myself – out of its misery. 

Now, that’s the end of the anecdote. For all those who haven’t figured out what this issue’s topic is, well, you have to go to more of your classes. This week (lol, it’s not weekly) I will be talking about all things extracurricular: clubs, committees, student government, (not including sports because that was last week (lol)). You may be thinking to yourself, “clubs, committees, and student government? Wow, that’s a lot to cover.” Well, naïve reader, think of it like the biblical story of the Last Supper. Clubs are the bread, committees are the wine, and student government is the water. The bread and wine hog the attention while the water is just there. That is going to be the rough outline of this column. 

The anecdote in the aforementioned part was supposed to highlight the process of clubs. While starting a club isn’t easy, it isn’t very difficult. It’s like shredding paper upside down; it’s a bit uncomfortable and unconventional, but once you get the paper into the machine, it’s all good. 

Clubs are a pillar of Parker’s extracurricular format. The school offers a numerous variety of clubs that allow students to develop their passions outside of the classroom (that sentence felt like propaganda). I believe that clubs are well structured and an imperative and pertinent part of the Parker experience. It allows students to explore their hobbies. Parker follows a college arrangement, and it works. The administration has composed a system in which students can easily create a club that can ignite a forever lasting passion. Then, it is easy to set up meetings for the clubs, ask for resources, and just generally succeed. So for that: congratulations, Parker. 

Continuing on a positive rant, Parker allows students to connect and explore their identity through affinity groups. There is an influx of affinity groups, encompassing many different ethnicities, races, and religions. Creating an affinity group is, again, relatively easy. Or so I believe. So, I applaud you Parker for allowing students to connect and learn about themselves. 

Now, we move onto the committee system at Parker. For those who are looking for a definition or have skipped all of their committee meetings, committees are like the biblical story of Jesus. Meetings occur one week, everybody forgets about it for three weeks (I know that the story says three days, but, this makes more sense in this context) and then they’re back from the dead. Later, when you least expect it, committees are graded on their sins. 

Do I think they’re beneficial? No. And that is coming from a committee head. My job, as one of the heads of the Curriculum Committee, is to work as a liaison between the administration and the student body to create a system for impactful dialogue and to facilitate the Cookies process. The Curriculum Committee members don’t do anything. We can’t send them to go have meetings with the administration, we can’t force them to create Cookies, and we can’t have them help us sort the anonymous comments from Departmental Reviews. This uselessness from committee members seems to be apparent in other committees as well. 

However, having committee members is a Constitutional requirement so there isn’t much leeway on that front. Maybe giving members more power or the ability to help heads more, but I’m not sure. It’s a tricky issue. 

The last topic of this issue is Student Government as a whole. Now, there isn’t much to say about Student Government. This semester, we have seen proposals/resolutions such as the Finals Resolution, the Bike Resolution, the Art Credit Proposal, and the CPR proposal pass. Pretty productive. Is there anything that stands out this year from previous? Not really. But hey, that’s what the government is supposed to do. Silently and efficiently improve the student body. Are there problems that are pretty obvious and fixable? Of course. Drawbacks of the body include the lack of participation, representation, and transparency. Hopefully in the near future some of those can become settled. 

Now, enough talking from me. This has been an interesting issue as I have stepped out of my cocoon and turned on the positivity (at least for a little bit). I guess one could call it a New Year’s Resolution. Anyway, looking ahead to the next issue (not next week),  the “14 Year Experience” will tackle such a pertinent topic that we take for granted: the Parker building. Very exciting. Oh, and for all those wondering about the title of this issue, I was dared to make a column about religion and this was the closest I could come. 


God Bless Us, 

Benjamin Rachel