Students express opinions at Challenge Success Forums


Daphne Feigin

Juniors Caroline Chen, Shruti Rajesh, Meera Gupta, and Amber Garcha participate in a Challenge Success Student Forum. “[We hope] to find what teachers and the admin can do to help make the students’ lives better,” said Amber Garcha, leader of this forum, where students are encouraged to share ideas about how to improve Jefferson.

Nirja Divekar and Daphne Feigin

Recently introduced to the student body at Jefferson, Challenge Success Student Forums provide the opportunity for students to voice their opinions regarding ideas on how to continue sustaining the Challenge Success partnership. As a teacher sponsored but completely student-run “club,” these forums allow students to share their outlook on various topics that affect Jefferson in a comfortable environment.

The forums are completely open to any students, which encourages freely expressing opinions in an environment that has the ability to implement your ideas. Junior Amber Garcha runs the sessions, leading the discussion with handouts and questions. 

“It’s not in a really intimidating environment, sort of, it’s like more of a discussion so that we can just hear everyone’s ideas out loud and it’s not super structured or anything like that,” Garcha said.

Each meeting has a “focus topic”–in the three meetings held so far, students have covered sleep, workload, and mindfulness. At the most recent meeting on Jan. 30, members discussed Project Based Learning and different implementations of Challenge Success that have been tried at Jefferson. 

“Challenge Success has already identified the three main issues because one thing is that students don’t always get enough sleep. And then that’s also due to having too much workload or not having the flexibility and schedules or not working with teachers. So they all kind of tie together,” Garcha said.

As problem solvers, the members brainstorm possible solutions to arising problems, and do their best to encourage implementation. 

“Mainly for sleep, we’re just going to be looking at different strategies on how to get more sleep or how teachers can help reduce workload or change the school so that students can get better sleep,” Garcha said. 

While each forum aims to discuss one of these three main issues, the sessions are not limited to certain topics. Students are encouraged to discuss any areas that they feel could be improved at Jefferson.

“We also tend to go off in a direction depending on what the students want to talk about too, because it’s all about getting as much student input as possible so we also discussed a little bit about project based learning [today],” Garcha said.

Many students have ideas that they haven’t had the chance to introduce elsewhere–these forums allow for students to have a platform to speak out.

“I think it’s kind of hypocritical not to do something about it if you complain about it, so I decided to come see what concrete solutions people had,” junior Meera Gupta said.