Staff Editorial – Popularity should not earn votes
Our lives are consumed with the idea that popularity earns you a spot, whether it be on the team, in the club, or in a position of leadership. The number of people who know your name, the number of followers you have or how many people you can call your friend – these social constructs have defined leadership for our youth. Having a majority of student-led clubs and activities at Mason High School (MHS), we are surrounded by competition rooted in academics, sports and leadership.
Be likable. That is how you get ahead.
We are engulfed in unequal power dynamics that consume our schools and extracurricular activities. We have been taught our entire lives that there will always be someone who is better, someone who fits the job better than you. This unhealthy expectation has created a toxic mindset toward the way we select leadership.
Leadership should be collaborative, not defined by a single person or title. Communication and collaboration are key to creating a successful team no matter if it is a sport or a club. Student-run leadership is so important to the development of our adolescents. It teaches children, especially high schoolers the responsibilities and hardships that come with leading a collective whole. A club should not be a dictatorship or power trip used to fuel someone’s ego, we need to listen to our peers and make collective, rational decisions accordingly. You can be the person in charge and accomplish nothing without the respect of those you work with. Leadership is not a one-way street, to make change happen we must work together.
While leadership positions become increasingly based in popularity due to a large focus on fully student-run activities, it is an ideal we deeply appreciate and value. The solution to ensuring students elect good leadership is not to take away the autonomy we have been given. Rather, we need to encourage students to be responsible with voting within their clubs and activities. With each upcoming club election, remind your peers to vote for the person who will best ensure the clubs’ success rather than their close friends. Prioritize action over a title. We have fallen into habits of wanting to succeed for the sake of a point on our resume, or a line on our college application. Instead of wanting a title just for the sake of the title itself, it is vital that we consider whether the applicant is truly qualified or not and whether they will have the gall to take the action required for the club, sport, or group.
Mason High School has an incredibly large amount of student-run programs and clubs. Most other high schools in the area do not have a savings and loan service, merch store, and a newspaper that are ALL student-led. This has paved the way for many clubs as well and given students the ability to utilize their voices and assume responsibilities. The district, students, and admin even make it a point to pride themselves on the amount of student led initiatives that exist at MHS. With the addition of Inclusive Excellence, the administration can receive student opinions on important school decisions. There are many schools that do not give their students opportunities like this and we are incredibly appreciative of the many outlets we have to have a say in decisions and love the continuation of such measures.