Mourning Meeting

By Julia Schoenberg 18′

Every day, the question of what will take place during MOD is murmured throughout the hallways. On even days, this very question is followed by an exasperated “morning meeting”, trailed by an equally disappointed sigh. It seems that most students, even some faculty, dread those 30 minutes that always seem to make us late for lunch. However, is it difficult to imagine Roland Park without morning meeting. It is part of our routine, and although sometimes monotonous, an important one. Morning meeting is the one time every other day that we can gather as a community, share ideas and upcoming events, and listen to senior speeches. It is undoubtedly a crucial part of our school’s philosophy. If this is true, then why do so many students shuffle grudgingly into the Sinex, only to put their feet up on the chair in front of them and half-listen to the all-too-familiar chorus of announcements?

We have a problem and the first step is admitting it: Morning Meeting isn’t enjoyable. Although significantly enhanced by Ms. Rifkin’s quirky rhymes and the occasional lower school song about cheese, it is obvious that the average Morning Meeting lacks the wow-factor that it needs. After 140 minutes of demanding classes, students need something engaging, something relevant, something other than an assembly line of announcements, most of which do not apply to them.

Recently, however, we’ve been making progress. With performances from a spoken word poet and a world-renowned musician, students reacted positively. Cabrini Class explained, “With the poet, I felt engaged but also like what she was saying was relevant to people my age.” Ellie Alban added, “The musician was interactive! It was a nice change of pace. Also, the involvement of the second grade brought back a care-free energy that we sometimes forget about in high school.”

Morning meeting fosters a sense of community. Nikki Goldstone noted that she enjoys seeing her friends and hearing what is going on in the community. However, for a community-centered gathering, most the announcements are not directed at our community, but rather specific groups. While there is nothing wrong with announcements, many students feel that unless an announcement applies to at least 80% of the community, it should be sent in an email. Information about individual clubs or news for just the senior class does not fall under this category. Additionally, there is a lack of student leadership during morning meeting. Teachers often dominate the line of announcements and lead activities when we have them. In the future, having student-led discussions and performances would allow for more creative presentations and a heightened sense of student interest.

No one wants morning meeting abolished. But revisions are in order. We must consider how we engage the student body, how we present information and who presents it. Including more interactive speakers, documentary showings and student-led activities will undoubtedly spike student interest and revitalize one of the core traditions at our school. Roland Park is home to a warm, exciting, and interesting community. Let’s prove it.

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