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Enhancing school spirit during the pandemic

Count the St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) Student Government as the latest among the many groups using creativity, collaboration, and technology to bring the school community together during the pandemic.

“During a Zoom meeting, we brainstormed ways to keep the Student Government visible and relevant, and something that would help keep morale and school spirit up during the closure,” says John Connelly, SMCS guidance counsellor and Student Government moderator. “A week later, the graduating students proposed the idea and took ownership of it right away.”

Last month, the SMCS Student Government launched its very own podcast on the morning video announcements.

To date, under the leadership of graduating student government members Ethan Bourdos, Eddie Qu, and Eric Mugford, they have managed to put together one episode per week. This involves several hours of planning, research, securing guests, recording, and editing.

Graduating Student Government members (L-R) Ethan Bourdos, Edward Qu, and Eric Mugford

“We thought it would be pretty cool and informative for kids to listen to advice from older and successful St. Michael’s students,” says Edward Qu, Student Government President. “It gives younger students the opportunity to truly see a real-life example of what St. Michael’s teaches their students and how much the school prepares us for life outside high school.”

The first three episodes have been mostly guest-driven including notable SMCS alumni Jamie Drysdale (’16-’18), Chris McIntosh ’19, and Jonathan Donville ’16. The topics have grown out of interesting stories that have occurred in the lives of these alumni. Each podcast almost always includes a certain amount of reminiscing about life at St. Michael’s as well.

“I believe we have had a positive impact,” says Qu. “Even though our time as students is almost over, we have not given up hope and continue to stay positive and give younger students someone to look up to.”

The real success behind the podcast initiative has been the level of student leadership involved.

“We have established a general set of parameters for what is acceptable. Outside of that, the entire project is really all student-driven,” says Connelly. “When looking at topics, we continuously discuss the age of the target audience, so the goal is to have relevant content for all grades.”

Qu Plus Two Podcast is a weekly Student Government spirit initiative 

In addition to the podcast being broadcast on the announcements, all episodes are made available to students and faculty on Edsby, the school’s learning management and communications platform.

“This has come together very quickly in response to an unprecedented situation, so the future of the podcast remains uncertain,” says Connelly. “Given the surprising popularity of the first few episodes, I wouldn’t be surprised if next year’s Student Government decides to continue in this medium.”