Student Council embodies values of St. Martin's

October 23, 2017

Monday Story

Freshman Leven Greene joined the St. Martin’s Episcopal School community at the beginning
of the school year in August. Three months later, she is still unaware of the vital role Student
Council (STUCO) plays in student life at St. Martin’s.

“I have no idea (what they do),” Greene said. “I think they might organize things like fundraisers
or pep rallies.”

She is not the only student confused about the purpose of the upper school Student Council.
Recently, Freshman Gavin Sperandeo received an odd request from Student Council.
“They asked me to shave my head, and that’s all that I know,” Sperandeo said.
Although Sperandeo was told he should shave his head to help raise money for a charity, he
had no idea what purpose sacrificing his locks would serve. He also had no idea what charity
Student Council was supporting.         
Even Senior Caitlin Bagnetto, who has a better grasp on Student Council’s objectives, still feels
she is largely unaware of the council’s purpose.  
“I don’t really know (what they do),” Bagnetto said. “I think they organize events that enable the
students to partake in school spirit activities.”
Little do these students know, Student Council embodies the St. Martin’s motto of faith,
scholarship, and service. It emphasizes student leadership, spearheading the student-led
initiative, which is valuable for progress in the community and for communication between
students and faculty at St. Martin’s.
“Student Council is comprised of students from all four grade levels in the upper school who
seek out the opportunities to make school life better for the community as a whole by running
assembly, overseeing Homecoming, helping out with STUCO week in the spring, and trying to
make high school as much fun as possible with different dress days and other different
activities” said Upper School Student Council Advisor Peter Adair.
Adair graduated from St. Martin’s in 1998. When he attended the school, student leadership
was not a priority. Today’s upper school depends much more on student involvement, according
to Adair.
“I typically let (Student Council President) Maansi Solanky, our Student Council president, and
other members of STUCO make the important decisions,” Adair said. “I try to be as hands-off as
possible.”
Solanky embraces her leadership responsibilities readily. She believes that it is important to
have a body of students to represent their peers and that the student-led aspect of the upper
school increases the need for these representatives.
“St. Martin’s upper school has always prided itself in being a student-led high school,” Solanky
said. “I think one of the most important ways St. Martin’s is able to uphold that is through the
Student Council. The Student Council is in charge of so many things that the upper school
does.”
Faith, scholarship, and service guide Student Council, according to both Adair and Solanky.
Representatives uphold these three pillars of St. Martin’s on daily basis, which is no easy task.
Members’ responsibilities are ongoing and impact not only St. Martin’s but the surrounding area
as well.
“One thing Student Council really does put an emphasis on is service,” Solanky said. “We
participate in a lot of service-related things, like Slam ‘N’ Jam, which is a Student Council-based
organization throughout the Greater New Orleans Area, and the Jackson Day Race.”
Faith gives the service that Student Council representatives carry out meaning, according to
Adair.  Devotion to service is of the utmost importance.
“When we have the Homecoming Dance in a few weeks, they will take time out of their day to
decorate the dining hall before anybody even gets there,” Adair said. “It’s a matter of faith in
believing that what you’re doing makes a difference.”

Student Council representatives are not exempt from the rigor of St. Martin’s curriculum,
however. They often have more responsibilities than the average student, which makes their
role in upper school life even more admirable.
“Scholarship-wise, the time they spend in these meetings and other activities takes away from
their academic studies,” Adair said. “They clearly have a desire to serve, and they want to make
sure they are able to.”
Student Council representatives attend weekly meetings, raise money for charities, organize
Homecoming in the fall, and spend countless hours over a period of months creating
decorations for STUCO Week in April.
“There’s constantly something Student Council is doing to try to get everyone involved and
make student life at St. Martin’s more than just (about) academics,” Solanky said.
Student Council is vital to St. Martin’s because it gives students input into the everyday life of
the upper school, according to Adair.
“Without it, (there) would be a top-down decision-making process, rather than having the
students put their input in at the beginning and drive their decisions all the way through until the
end,” Adair said.
Ultimately, Student Council strives to engage students through its events, like Homecoming or
STUCO Week, dress-up days, and fundraising. All year long, Student Council representatives
work hard to boost school spirit and enhance the quality of life in the upper school.
“Student Council is definitely a huge part of student life at St. Martin’s because Student Council
is always planning events or doing spirit days,” Solanky said. “We’re constantly doing something
to try to engage the student body and (to) try to connect faculty with students. It’s certainly
important because (we) are that one body of representatives that can do all kinds of different
things. We are working for the entire upper school.”

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© 2017 by The Halo.