Decatur student pushes for SGA reform

As the Decatur Student Government Association continues with their leadership and student representative roles, one student is pushing for heavy reform.

Julian Daniel is a sophomore at Decatur and although he is not a part of SGA, he wants to further improve the lives of students.

“I am working with an organization that is trying to promote student government reform,” Daniel said. “This means further shaping the student government as an organ and as a body as well as improving the lives of students.”

Daniel feels like the current SGA should have more power as a student body. He will be meeting with SGA officials, teachers and administrators related to SGA in order to get his desired reforms put in place.

“I have nothing wrong with the current administration but I feel as if they could do a lot more and they should be able to have more power. They should have the freedom to further benefit the lives of DHS students,” Daniel said.

Daniel is working with a team of individuals in order to get a following behind his movement.

“I am not working alone, I’d like to say I’m the base of this but there are definitely others involved,” he said.

Newly appointed SGA administrator and teacher Javier Fernandez is currently assisting Julian and his team. Administrator Amanda Lockhart is the former SGA sponsor and after consulting Fernandez stepped down regarding the student council side of SGA.

“Her time was taken up by all the SGA duties by herself. She had a conversation with me to try and get me on board to help with that side of things,” he said.

Fernandez took over most of the SGA responsibilities right around the same time that Daniel began his SGA reform movement. Both of them have the same general ideas and goals in mind.

“Julian is modeling the kind of citizen that we all should be and wants to see SGA do better. I admire his passion for the work that he’s doing and he has gone out of his way to make a difference,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez enacted progressive reforms as soon as he got on board with the rest of the SGA staff. SGA as a whole is making bold changes this year and plan to continue growing and expanding the program.

“I just took over right after homecoming due to the major planning it takes. After that, I began to lead the meetings and started to move things forward,” Fernandez said.

SGA is still at the baby steps of this major reform process, but with the assistance of Daniel and his team, the program is on track with its goal.

“If SGA is about developing the capacity of students to become productive and effective citizens in our democracy, then SGA should model what it means to be a functioning democratic society,” Fernandez said. “We must make the big changes we want to make for the betterment of the student body and SGA as an organization.”

Daniel, with the assistance of his team, has crafted a vision and goal for what they think SGA could be and now they are carving out a plan for how they want to get there.

“The first thing the SGA did after I came into the picture was break up into committees. Some people will continue to be on the committee that primarily involves spirit. Other kids will be on a committee that focuses on service. The last committee is the leadership committee which focuses on the traditional student council type stuff,” Fernandez said.

These committees can do a lot for the SGA by providing compartmentalization and specialization for the program. The committee system is designed to bring more organization to the SGA as well as providing valuable opportunities for students.

“I hope that my team and I play a crucial role in this reform movement and make change for the better of the students at our school,” Daniel said.

“We feel very confident with this new system and hope to expand and perfect it in the future,” Fernandez said.

This idea is centered around student activism and participation in running the community, making it important for there to be student and adult leadership cooperation. Creating an environment where students and staff can discuss various school-related topics is another goal for Daniel.

“We want to know what students care about and what teachers care about regarding education at this school,” Daniel said.

Daniel gets a lot of his of interest in student government from his involvement in the Decatur Youth Council. The DYC is a City of Decatur advisory body that provides an outlet for student input in local government.

“What they do at DYC is offer a way for teens to have input in city government. I was really inspired by this because lots of people say that high school students can’t handle leadership roles and can’t make good decisions. The thing is that DYC success so far has made me think that this is what SGA could be like,” he said.

Both Daniel and Fernandez continue to work together and if everything goes to plan, the new and improved Decatur High School Student Government Association will be up and running by the end of this school year.

“We are working really hard on this entire ordeal and see some extreme value in our involvement with making SGA better for everyone,” Fernandez said.