Student representatives meet for annual Harker Summit


Ashley Jiang

Arben Gutierrez (11) speaks at the Harker Summit. The event brought together students to discuss ways to improve the environment and community.

Representatives from each advisory and club met to discuss the issues in the Harker community and to think of ideas to improve the school on Sept. 25 in the Nichols Atrium.

Previously called the Honor and Ethics Conference, the administration changed the title to foster a broader discussion of the school community.

“What we realized over the last six months is that the goal here at this conference is that the students get a chance to speak about this place,” National Honor Society advisor Dr. Smriti Koodanjeri said. “These are big fundamental [ideas] that we adults assume sometimes and don’t really ask you guys.”

The conference was divided into three sessions. During the first session, students described their ideal Harker and what their dream community would look like.

“I have a lot of faith in Harker students to not have the ideals as ‘walls made of candy’ or ‘a petting zoo between periods’, which is ridiculous,” Honor Council adviser Evan Barth said. “I think they are going to be really constructive [and] well thought out, and we are to get some cool stuff.”

In the second session, students discussed in table groups what impediments stopped them from creating their ideal version of Harker.

The third session distilled the previous two sessions: students thought of solutions to the impediments and drafted action plans to implement in the school. Towards the end of the conference, several students also gave individual speeches regarding their experience at the Harker Summit.

Students also felt that administration would have a better grasp of student issues through the Harker Summit.

“I hope that because the administration is now aware of what the students want, [and] that [they] will try to create a community where everyone is comfortable around each other,” Andrea Simonian (9) said.

While some students hold more cynical views towards Harker Summit, Harker Summit moderator Jonathan Yiu (12) feels that administration and students must respect each other to begin change in the Harker community.

“I think there is a majority of kids [who] don’t trust that administration will let us change, but I think there needs to be mutual trust in order for change to happen,” he said.

Representatives who attended the Harker Summit sent written summaries, of their experience at the Harker Summit to their advisors and recreated the discussion with their advisories on Oct. 7.