“We want the Student Council to be more than party planners. They are student advocates,” Christina Yasutomi, council advisor, explained to the student body during the first day of school assembly. With that, the Student Council kicked off what they hoped would be the first of many opportunities for students to rekindle their wavering school spirit and become more active members in their community.

The most notable change in this year’s Student Council is its structure. According to Yasutomi, one of the main goals for this year’s Student Council is to draft, finalize and receive approval for a constitution for the high school. The official document will connect the three bodies of student government: the Student Council, Class Council, and committees. “If we achieve [the constitution], it will set the foundation and vision for future councils,” Yasutomi said.

In addition to these changes, the council is also recruiting students to form a host of committees, ranging from Faculty Appreciation to Class Gifts. These committees will allow more students to collectively take part in leadership through planning specific events or working with the elementary and middle school campuses. President Jolie Wong hopes that the committees will help build a more involved student body this year beyond.

With the new changes, Wong is hopeful and excited. As the last year’s corresponding secretary, Wong believes that many of last year’s challenges were due to pandemic restrictions and safety measures. Traditional all-school assemblies were replaced with online gatherings, limiting opportunities for the council to work closely with students. This year, in-person assemblies are making a comeback alongside many other pre-pandemic events like Intramurals, Winter Banquet, Spike Nite, Homecoming, Junior-Senior Prom, and Spirit Week. With more face-to-face interaction, the council sees more opportunities to be an effective voice for the student body. “We’d like to make the Student Council a stronger foundation for student leadership and advocacy, a body that can be relied on for making changes in the community,” Wong said.

Regardless of the many uncertainties of the new school year, the five officers are committed to growing school unity and student morale. “Although it is a big task returning the school to pre-COVID normal, I believe the Student Council can assist in this process while building up school pride and connection. There’s still a lot of unknowns for the students and teachers, and we all want to have a normal year again. However, I hope this year sets the precedent for an even better normal that boosts the students’ time at HBA,” Wong said.

Yasutomi sees great potential in the Student Council. “It is my hope that each of the Student Council officers grow in their leadership. All of them are hard workers and have great attitudes. Now I would like them to start shifting their mindset and begin to dream and envision how they will inspire their peers and become a resource for student advocacy. By doing so, it will help them become better leaders who serve the needs of their communities,” Yasutomi said.