The importance of the student voice


Arya Bhattacharjee, Staff Writer

The spirit of high school comes from the voice of its students, essential for celebrating a diverse high school campus in which feelings of belonging are at the forefront. In order to embody the spirit of the timberwolves, it is essential for students to seek out opportunities to develop their ideas and passions. 

According to a 2016 study by the Quaglia Institute for School Voice and Aspirations, only 36.75% of high schoolers feel like they are a valued member of their school community, a feeling that can be combated if students find outlets to express their opinions and develop their leadership. Among these possible programs are ASB, NTV, The Howler and Yearbook.

Northwood’s ASB offers further insight into what it means to shape the culture of our campus by providing student leadership opportunities and a place to share feedback on what is happening on campus. Composed of mostly upperclassmen, opportunities for freshmen to join ASB exist for the elected freshman class president and vice president.

    “As a member of ASB, if you say something, you notice that people genuinely care for what you say,” senior vice president Andy Hoang said. “Even if everyone leans towards one idea, you have the ability to stand up and add something that may switch someone’s opinion.” 

Northwood’s student-run broadcast, NTV, is also a great example of how students can cultivate a community and sense of individuality on campus. Each NTV episode is created entirely by students, under the supervision of Steve Sellwood, and features topics that the NTV staff feel are worthy of discussion. These include spotlighting athletic achievements, promoting school theatrical productions and featuring student life. While freshmen are not able to join NTV directly, a great place to start honing these skills is in the introductory elective, Video Production.

“NTV is a really unique outlet where students can engage in film style media. It’s not really academically related, so I think that it’s nice to engage in a different type of artistic medium to showcase student life,” senior Carolyn Ngyuen said.

If video production isn’t for you, The Howler, Northwood’s official newspaper, is another outlet for students to showcase their talents, develop leadership and express opinions about the ongoings of campus. Composed of a variety of contributors, this student-run publication creates a community where student voices are valued above all else. Those interested in joining the Howler should start by taking Beginning Journalism.

“The Howler has allowed me to tap into my creativity and write about stuff that I wouldn’t normally see,” said junior Annabel Tiong. “The Howler is really what you make of it, especially since it is a student publication; you can go in any direction you want.”

Northwood’s Yearbook staff features the experience of an entire year at Northwood High School. As a result, students in Yearbook will find the ability to look at our school from a broader perspective, and share that perspective with all students and staff. Freshmen interested in opportunities within Yearbook can look for applications later in the school year. 

“Yearbook highlights different people based on what activities they do and even the opinions they have,” said sophomore Zainah Ali. “I think it allows a lot of people in different groups to have a voice in Northwood.”

    Skills such as leadership and problem solving are developed through these activities in ways that can’t be learned by sitting in a traditional academic classroom. Regardless of the value one can find within their academic prowess, student voice offers an equally important opportunity to improve one’s abilities throughout their future. 

    High school is not a place where students should be silenced. Northwood’s students all have the ability to speak freely for themselves and remain passionate about the things they love. Your time at Northwood belongs to no one but yourself. Your voice will ring free.