VHS clubs inspire change
By Gwen Burwell, Reporter
Vashon High School offers a plethora of clubs and student organizations that are inspiring change. With concerns and ideas about steps toward success for all students, many clubs can provide the necessary tools to make an impact. So far this school year, clubs are improving the school and becoming more involved with the student body, administrators, and community.
Racial Equity Pact
The Racial Equity Pact (REP) has doubled in members since the beginning of the 2021 school year. Senior delila higuera was one of many students who showed interest and got involved this school year, she has been a member since the start of this year.
“I joined because I saw a lot of problems with this school that need fixing,” Higuera said. “I hope to make an actual difference.”
The work REP has done at VHS thus far has been impactful to say the least. Currently, the group is working on getting land acknowledgments integrated into the school during morning announcements and at sporting events.
“We are also hoping to change the curriculum so it is correct and more inclusive,” Higuera said. “We hope to make a difference in the school not just regarding education but also to students.”
REP meetings are every Wednesday and every other Friday during SMART and advised by VHS math teacher Nic Warmenhoven. Senior Ava Woo is the president and juniors Saffron Hinz and Aliya Ricks are also strong leaders in the group.
Student Advisory Board
The Student Advisory Board (SAB) has been up and running for three years but tends to go unnoticed within the student body. As one of the student advisory board representatives this year, along with junior Ava Stephenson, the SAB has been working to improve the communication between the student body and the school board.
A main focus of the group has been getting the word out about this opportunity for students to share their opinion in a safe space.
“Our purpose is to collect and generate student voice to bring to the school board,” Stephenson said, “Our role at VHS will be ever-changing as new areas of concern and projects arise.”
The SAB has attended both REP and DAG group meetings in the hope to spread awareness, diversifying the voices, and opening up to support other VHS clubs.
“To achieve this, [the SAB is] establishing communication between the SAB, other student-led groups, and the student body,” Stephenson said.
The SAB meets monthly on Thursdays before a school board meeting in the theater.
Disabled Advocacy Group
The Disabled Advocacy Group (DAG) is run by co-presidents Wendy Axtelle and Skye Mandigo-Stoba. When Axtelle developed the concept of the DAG, it was challenging to meet during virtual learning. Now back in person, the club is up and running and the members involved are currently working toward their goals and invoking change at VHS.
“Our club goals are to integrate Universal Design into the school, educate staff and students on disabilities, and to create a community for disabled students at VHS,” Mandigo-Stoba said.
The DAG has an active voice in the student body, and through working with the Student Advisory Board to get disabled voices heard by the superintendent and school board, their message can spread further.
“A specific issue we are working on [is] the bathrooms,” Mandigo-Stoba said. “Vandalism, hangouts in the accessible stalls, and a lack of paper towels all make the school bathrooms less accessible for disabled students.”
With hopes of improving the state of the bathrooms in the near future, the DAG will address the student body directly to create change together. The DAG meets on Tuesdays during SMART in the theater.
All clubs are open to new members, so feel free to stop by when the clubs meet and learn more about being involved. With so much student voice present at VHS, there are many opportunities to be involved in the change for the future of the school.