Tips from Student Government President and Vice-President


Margot and Nadia stand with City Representative Sheila Hess and City Councilmember Helen Gym. Taken by Director of City Curriculum Margaret Smith.

Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year! Reflecting on our years at Friends Select thus far, we would like to share some things that have made our experiences so memorable and what makes us absolutely excited to jump right into at the start of each school year. 

Firstly, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. We are in a safe environment to explore parts of who we are and who we want to be. We can make mistakes and use those mistakes to learn from them. Mistakes help us grow so we can be better in the future.

Make sure you find ways to take care of yourself this year. I know school can be stressful. There will be times where it feels like every assignment in the world is due in the same week, you had tests or quizzes you forgot to study for, you had a busy weekend and it feels like things are nonstop. Trust me I have been there. But don’t forget that it is okay to take breaks and make time for the things that you enjoy. Never forget that a grade or how you perform in something won’t ever define your worth as a person.

Take advantage of the fact that this is quite a small school. Of course, every student has their specific close friendships or groups that they feel a particular bond with, but don’t let this discourage you from diving into the whole community with an open mind. You will discover that each graduating class establishes a certain dynamic over the years, and at some point, you will find yourself sitting in the back of a class meeting, laughing at the jokes and lighthearted nature that is unique to your grade. Or laughing at the fact that you all are incapable of focusing for 5 minutes, which your teachers may find a bit less funny. You will come to learn quite quickly that each grade has about 50 students. Make it your goal to know them all. You won’t regret it, and you never know what you might learn about your physics lab partner or your English peer editor.

Make a conscious effort to appreciate the faculty and staff who work extremely hard to make sure that the school runs smoothly. After the chaos of a pandemic impacted year, Friends Select has toiled to bring us all back together and given us the privilege to be sitting together in the theater today. Thank the community members that keep classrooms and hallways safe and clean. As for your teachers, appreciate that they spent the past year re-formatting, adjusting, and re-adjusting their curriculums to fit the needs of their classes. As FSS students, we are very lucky to have teachers so passionate and excited about their subjects, and so willing to help you feel comfortable with class material, or even to push you beyond what their course may typically offer. To use a personal example, last year, I was signed up for a class in a department that I typically didn’t feel super connected to, and with a teacher that I had never spoken to before. I went into the year of course ready to participate, but with low expectations in terms of actually engaging with the conversations and building a relationship with the class and the teacher. To my surprise, this was one of my most motivating and memorable classes yet. In working and connecting with this teacher on a one-on-one basis that he was all too happy to accommodate, I was able to attack the problems I had in my writing style and push my papers to a new level, taking them outside the classroom to interview local college professors and publishing my work in the school newspaper, The Falcon. This is just one example out of many – Your teachers want to help you push yourself. Take advantage of it. Visit their office hours, build relationships with them, design independent studies or explorations with them to expand further on topics that are meaningful to you, and allow them to be your mentors and friends, as opposed to just your teachers. 

Our final message for you all is to spread your interests wide and deep. It is so gratifying to watch the work of your clubs and teams finally play out, whether that be winning a game, running a successful day of programming, publishing an article, or putting on a performance. Being a part of the groups that work towards these goals allows you to see the growth of yourself, your classmates and friends, and especially the group as a whole. Making the active choice to get involved in the multitude of activities this community has to offer will elevate your entire experience here to a different level. It brings about new and unexpected friendships, introduces new passions, and creates memories that can only be looked back on fondly. I promise you, it is worth the extra work you may need to put in. It pays off a hundred times over. 

We hope you take these tips with you during your time at Friends Select, whether you have already established a place in the community over many years or you are stepping into the hallways for the first time today. May this year be full of learning, laughter, and significantly fewer Zooms.

Wishing you the best of luck,

Margot and Nadia, your Student Government President and Vice-President