New Student Reps in Town (Hall)


Student representatives senior Arina Garifullina, junior Ariana Bertrand and senior Matt Wingen leading meeting.

Have you ever watched or attended a School Board meeting? No?

Well, I have – and it can change from boring to chaotic to funny to cool in a span of a few minutes. 

Junior Ariana Bertrand, senior Matt Wingen, junior Harper Sirine and I, senior Arina Garifullina, were selected and inducted as School Board Student Representatives last May. As the founding members of the program, we have no idea what we are doing, and we need your help to figure it out. Our role as Student Representatives is to bridge the gap between the student body and local government. We are eager to bring change and improvement to our school district based on students’ feedback and “stay updated on student opinions,” as Harper said. 

For that purpose, we organized the first-ever student-led Town Hall Meeting on Dec. 7 during Learn 2 in the library.

Students and teachers at the meeting.

On that day, we set up Mr. Shields’ audio system, created a Padlet page and prepared for the unknown. We had the pleasure to gather students and community leaders for a civil and open conversation. Around 20 students and 15 staff members came to support our initiative and engage in civic involvement.

I spoke first and then shared the microphone with our District Superintendent Dr. Scott Eveslage. Thanking everyone for coming, he encouraged honesty and constructive criticism and, then he opened the floor to the students. 

In her opening statement, senior Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) leader Nia Smith stepped forward to express her concerns about the lack of inclusivity in school bathrooms. GSA suggested providing gender-neutral bathrooms in our school district to create a more welcoming environment. Dr. Eveslage discussed this issue with present GSA members.

Other important problems brought up in the discussion were outdated health curriculum, the lack of punishment and discipline for students that use derogatory slurs, unfair punishments for both the victim and perpetrator of recent school fights and the unbalanced half-day bell schedule. 

In my opinion, as the first step towards improvement, we need to report the discussed issues to the School Board. Then, further research will be done to determine whether those are relevant issues in our district or not. After that decision, we will start our collaboration with the administrators and the Board to create solutions. 

Matt explained that we “hope to be able to provide solutions for our fellow students and teachers as we continue to host the monthly meetings.”

Student representatives talking with students after the presentation.

I encourage you and everyone else to stop by our next School Board meeting on Jan. 23 to show that you care. The mere presence of students would be a wonderful start to great achievements. Everyone is welcome to participate in a three-minute section of the Community Input agenda item to voice their personal experiences.

We are dedicated to investigating further into mentioned issues and bringing change to Hatboro-Horsham. Thank you everyone for coming, and tell your friends about this amazing opportunity to vocalize your concerns! To keep updated on our endeavors, follow our Instagram hh.studentreps and join our Remind @hhtow. I hope to see you all at our next meeting in January.