Brigid Wentz, SM East senior, recently participated in a statewide Senior Leaders Conversation with 64 students from Kansas school districts and the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE). The seniors were gathered virtually from across the state to allow them to share their unique stories with KSDE staff and their fellow seniors.
Wentz was the representative for the Shawnee Mission School District.
Scott Sherman, SM East principal, nominated Wentz as she is member of the school’s Site Council and is a respected leader of her peers. Wentz is on the Student Government and Pep Club executive board. She played volleyball for four years and served on the Student Athletic Advisory Council.
The senior leaders participated in an online meeting and were divided into smaller conversation groups. Seven seniors participated in Wentz’s group. They shared their answers to the following questions:
What supports or obstacles did you encounter when planning for graduation?
How have you been able to navigate the challenge of the current school closings?
What advice would you give to fellow students who are preparing for the postsecondary world?
Wentz noted that many of the responses were similar. The Kansas Class of 2020 expressed disappointment they will not be able to participate in traditional senior milestones like the final pep assembly, prom, and graduation.
Wentz shared that being involved with school has made the transition a bit easier. Her teachers check in with her to see how’s she’s doing, a gesture she said she appreciates. Her classes also help keep her days structured. For example, when she has an online class at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. it gives a sense of normalcy to her day.
The advice she cited is her involvement in AP classes which probably more closely mirrors what happens in a college classroom and is setting her up for success in secondary school. In her AP classes she receives the assignments for the week and then following week reviews her work.
A student from another district shared that some teachers in his district where reading aloud or doing yoga with their students. Wentz likes these ideas and activities to help reduce stress especially when all students don’t have the same resources.
KSDE staff members may follow up with small groups or individual conversation sessions before the end of the school year.
Wentz is looking forward to attending the University of Oklahoma in the fall and majoring in communications or public relations.