Walking into the Reeves Center to attend a Middle School Council meeting, I had no idea what to expect. I remembered the MSC from my days in the Middle School, running entertaining fundraisers for charity. Unlike the Upper School’s Student Council, the MSC mainly focuses on charity work rather than putting on school dances. Back then, as today, one popular way of raising money is when MSC allows kids to dress up for a themed day for the price of $1.00. With a majority of the Middle School dressing up, MSC can raise larges amounts of money in a single day. The council is comprised of multiple leaders from each grade, each person representing their advisory. With 26 students in the Middle School Council, it would be easy to get off topic and be inefficient, but these students understand that their council works for a greater cause.
After speaking with Suzanne Fleming, the Middle School’s Director of Service Learning and Civic Engagement, I was introduced to two mature, polite Middle Schoolers. James K. (‘21) and Isabella Z. (‘21) are the Middle School Co-Chairs and were elected by the entire Middle School. The two have the task of running the meetings, alongside Fleming. Although I expected Fleming to do a majority of the talking, James and Isabella took initiative as they asked questions of the committee and listened to what each council member had to say.
This particular meeting was primarily brainstorming ideas for their assembly in front of the entire Middle School. Their presentation had to explain the charity they support this year, the Make-a-Wish Foundation, while engaging the audience. Struggling to decide between a video, slideshow, skit, or a game show, the council weighed out the pros and cons of each option. One Middle Schooler explained that the focus of the assembly shouldn’t be on humor but rather the importance of the charity. After everyone agreed, the council came to a final decision. The assembly would feature a game show to see how much people know; a video to engage the audience; and a slideshow to explain the charity. I was impressed with the respect the students demonstrated for one another as they listened and took notes on everyone else’s ideas. Each Middle Schooler had a laptop in hand and were typing notes throughout the meeting, demonstrating maturity and dedication to the task at hand.
Although the meeting went by quickly, the MSC was extremely efficient in their 30 minutes through their positive manner and being respectful listeners. Fleming explained that MSC focuses on more than just one charity. The council threw a costume drive and Halloween Party for HomeAgain, a non-profit dedicated to helping the homeless in the Richmond area, which was a complete success, raising over $1,000.
After the meeting, I spoke with Kevin J. (‘24), one of the younger members of MSC. He explained the main reason he joined was because he “liked the idea of helping others.” Johnson reminded me why MSC is so important; not just because of the charity work, but rather because MSC helps turn Middle Schoolers into caring, hardworking young adults.