Wednesday, June 24, 2015

SGA Representative Talks Next Steps as Hopeful Prez

Rose Bowers recently finished a term as Vice President of the Student Government Association (SGA). Thurgood Marshall Academy elects a Student Government each year at the beginning of the first semester. Upon returning to school in August, Rose plans to run for President of the student-run organization.

Rose Bowers, (far left) 11th grade

Below, Rose talks about her vision as President and what her involvement in SGA and other enrichment activities (COLSA participant) means to her success as a college student.

Why is SGA important?

I feel like teachers and students, in some ways, have different ways of looking at things. SGA allows students to represent students. I decided to join [SGA] and make changes within the school because as a student, you understand the concerns of your peers because they affect you as well. There’s a more of a personal connection to the students’ needs and it makes you more passionate to advocate for those needs.

What were some school issues that you pushed forward as Vice President and why were they important to you?

I really focused on making the students’ voices heard and worked to create an environment where they feel comfortable being who they are in the classroom and throughout the halls of TMA. I noticed that many of my friends were not taking advantage of school resources like Homework Help, which I attend consistently to keep my grades up. I understood the value of Homework help and encouraged students to go. Because of my personal experience attending Homework Help sessions, students were more trusting of my advice.

What is your vision for the next SGA team? How can they work together to be an effective team and create change?

My vision for the next SGA team is to work better together so that we can be a more effective group. I noticed that SGA has so many great ideas. However, we are not putting up enough effort to create change, which causes the students, those we are supposed to be standing up for, to second-guess our roles as their selected representatives. As future SGA President, I will need to address these issues early on so my team knows what they are expected to do to be a great leadership committee.

How has your involvement with SGA prepared you for college?

My involvement in SGA has prepared me for college because I have developed strong leadership skills. I know how to handle situations and how to connect not only with students, but also with adults. As an SGA representative, you have to take the concerns and issues of your peers to the teachers and faculty. Then you have to find a way to present a case so that teachers and faculty will understand and be in favor of your solutions. This takes a certain level of communication skills that I will be able to use when I go off to college.

What is the Coalition of Local Student Activists (COLSA)? And tell us more about your experience with the organization.

COLSA is a student-run organization where I worked with other teenagers from DC high schools to raise awareness about modern civil rights issues. We had to come up with a plan to solve them. Being involved with COLSA made me want to be more open. I only talked about controversial issues that target my community when the news was on at home and I was around my family. But COLSA empowered me to bring these issues up in the classroom, among my peers, and in discussions with my teachers.

What were some of the civil rights issues that your COLSA group addressed?

Police brutality in our communities. We came up with a plan to help police officers and the youth trust each other better.