BHS launches new student government organization


Photo: Sofia Wells

Sofia Wells, Staff Writer

It’s eight a.m. on a Wednesday morning and tables are full in the library. Students from all grades are here to become part of Student Government, the new BHS organization which has merged with the Student Planning club. While the new program is student led, Bowen Stephens and Brian McDonnell are overseeing it. The idea was started in the 2022 summer development program, and many students worked during months prior to implement it at BHS.

A schoolwide election was held on Monday, October 3 and the President and class representatives were  announced three days later. 

Photo: Sofia Wells

“I wanted to start it up to get student voices heard,” Gussie Guyette ’23, a creator of Student Government and newly elected school president said. “I wanted our community to come back after a pretty long couple of years to get school spirit back in the Burlington High school Community.” 

Student Government is led by a majority of upperclassmen, however many underclassmen have shown interest as well. Approximately 35 members show up to the meetings each week. Students break into groups depending on what section they want to be part of.

Esther Lokossou ’26 attended her first meeting with the hopes of becoming more involved in the community.

“I thought it was cool to be a part of student government,” Lokossou said. “It’s a good way to make new friends since I’m a freshman.”

Some members are searching for leadership positions, while others are there to see what changes and improvements they can make in school projects.

“I am so excited that student government is happening,” Stephens said. “ It’s allowing for students to have a lot more ownership over the community building aspects of the school, and to challenge and promote greater change here.”

Photo: Sofia Wells

Despite the excitement, there have been some issues surrounding the combining of the two clubs in recent years.

“It felt [like] when they were talking about creating a student government, those two groups [would have] a really hard time coexisting,” Stephens said.“It would kind of be pulling students to one [side] or the other, and by combining them, it gives this new student government some real teeth.”

The goal is by having students actively participate in the school’s decisions, students feel better represented by enabling Student Government members to make decisions about school issues.

“I want to be here to make sure the school is safe, make friends and just to make sure that I’m not the only person of color on this,” Lokossou said.

Faculty and staff say they have a strong connection to student government, and believe it’s importance to our school.

Photo: Sofia Wells

“I think having student voice at the table as we look to make decisions and shift and change policies is really important,” Principal Lauren McBride said. “I see [student government] from two lanes… helping to inform us about what students’ needs are, and then also to have students’ voices be heard when we make important decisions within the school system.”

Although the process is long, McBride believes it is needed to create effective change. 

“Sometimes people may come and say, we need [help with] this thing, and the assumption is that we can do it immediately. But there’s different roadblocks that sometimes happen,” McBride said. “[Student Government] will give an inside look and really provide education around how we can all be part of change.”

But many people have the lingering question of why BHS hasn’t had a student government in recent years. 

When I started five years ago, there wasn’t a student government and it seemed odd because it seems like such a pivotal, important part of a school,” McBride said.

One thing is clear, although there hasn’t been a student government for the past couple years, many students at BHS have wanted one. Annie Harte ‘26 explains what it is like going into high school with student government.

“The idea of students having a say in the school itself was really cool because I think there are a lot of problems that we students see firsthand that teachers don’t,” Hart said. “Being able to [create] change and have an impact on that, I think is really important.”

The goal is that Student Government will teach students how to effectively communicate with each other to solve problems.

“I think it’s a good idea that we’re introducing leaders from each class to bring up issues that arise within our community, instead of leaving it up to faculty to notice things like that,” Grace Park’ 24 said.

Although this years elections are over, anyone interested  can still attend. Meetings are Wednesday mornings at eight a.m. in the dtBHS library.

“Student government is open to all voices,” Bowens said. “It’s a really great opportunity for students to come and join at the level they feel excited about. They can come [work on] a project for a couple of weeks or a month or two, or they can come for the full year. We want them at any point in time- all participants are welcome.”