This school year, KO students have undoubtedly noticed changes at Upper School assemblies. These changes have been made to increase the engagement for students attending these assemblies. Assemblies will operate considerably different than in previous years.
Three main objectives have been established in an effort to make each weekly Tuesday assembly more meaningful to students. They will open with a mindful minute, and close with a “Minute to Win It’’ challenge. The bulk of the assemblies will no longer consist of repetitive announcements, but student talent and more in-depth announcements.
On Thursday, Sept. 5, the Upper School had its first assembly, starting with a mindful minute lead by School Counselor Chastity Rodriguez. The goal of these exercises is to relax students and ease them into the school day.
“We’re going to open with kind of this idea of mindfulness, or a quote to think on, or inspirational words for the day,” Dean of Students William Gilyard said. “Our kids are going through their day, recognizing that KO’s a tough, challenging school, and it can be stressful.”
The assembly closed with a ‘Minute to Win It’ challenge, won by junior Mike DeMio, in an attempt to liven and excite the student body.
One major complaint from last year’s assemblies was that they were too boring and repetitive. Student Government Speaker and senior Jacqui Ouellette and Mr. Gilyard have spent plenty of time and effort finding ways to structure these assemblies so that they present information that is important to the entire student body.
“There was a lack of structure, and that’s difficult to balance,” Jacqui said, referencing the assemblies last year. “Everybody has always complained about how announcements repeat over and over again.”
Repetitive announcements will now go on TV screens across campus, while the assembly spotlight will be on guest speakers and student talent.
One idea is to feature clubs that people may not know about, allowing students to find new clubs that interest them.
Other assemblies that may be featured in the future are student forums, musical performances, and assemblies about social issues such as vaping or toxic masculinity.
On Tuesday, Sept. 10, senior John McLaughlin lead a conversation about organ transplants and donation with Dr. Bejon Maneckshana and Elizabeth Bradley.
This form of assembly is something students can look forward to seeing in the future, with different KO students talking about topics they are passionate about. On Tuesday, Sept. 24, Jacqui told the student body that she would send out a poll, asking students which topics they would like discussed in a KO Conversation forum. Topics included academic dishonesty, sports requirements, and civil discourse.
Overall, the response to the new assemblies has been very positive. Both teachers and students said that they look forward to Tuesday mornings.
Many students have expressed that they have especially been enjoying the ‘Minute to Win It’ and the mindful minute. These two activities provide a nice balance of fun and relaxation.
“The mindful minute gets us really relaxed,” sophomore Natalia Correa said. “I think it’s a really good idea to get our mind off things.”
Although it can be difficult to keep the structure of assemblies fresh, Jacqui and Mr. Gilyard are determined to make changes and so far, they have done just that.
With refreshing ideas and a new speaker, KO assemblies look to be more entertaining and relevant than ever before.