Student Government

US Student Government - Torch

Student input is valued and encouraged in every aspect of the decision-making process for the Upper School. To that end, student opinion is solicited on a variety of issues through a number of venues. Individuals are selected for leadership positions in student government by consensus, thus ensuring the support and approval of students and faculty alike.

Torch is comprised of an executive committee consisting of a clerk, assistant clerk, six representatives to faculty committees, two international student representatives, a dorm representative, and two day and two boarding representatives to the Procedures & Discipline Committee. In addition, the executive committee is supported by two representatives from the 11th and 12th grades and three representatives from the 9th and 10th grades. Business items can be brought to Torch by any of the representatives at the request of an individual or the group they represent. Suggestions may also be submitted online. Torch also sets the agenda for monthly town meetings, which include all students and staff, and sponsors school events throughout the year. The recording of meeting minutes is a shared duty distributed among Torch members.

Class meetings offer individual grades the opportunity to meet and plan activities as a class. Each class chooses two student representatives to clerk these meetings, participate in Torch and coordinate activities.

Dean of Students: Ben McClellan
Faculty Advisor to Torch: Leah Niepold

Torch Representatives for 2018-2019

Executive Committee
Clerk: Samaa Eldadah ’19
Assistant Clerk & Rep to Board: Begai Prom '19 
Rep to Faculty: Ben Gruodis-Gimbel '20
Rep to Athletics: Maya Long '20 
Rep to Scott House: Alan Burd '19
Rep to Spiritual Life: Esther Feron '21 
Rep to Community & Traditions: Charlie Deichman-Caswell '20
Rep to Diversity: Michel Ruiz '20 
ISP Rep 1: Zijun Sybil Lin '19
ISP Rep 2: Ivan Ljubanovic '19
ISP Rep to Host Families: Yiwen Evelyn Song '19
Dorm Rep: Qiang Marvin Lin '19
P&D Day Rep 1: Valentina Stephens '19
P&D Day Rep 2: Donnie Harris '19
P&D Day Rep 3: Irene Denniston '21
P&D Boarding Rep 1: Alicia Argueta '19
P&D Boarding Rep 2: Quinn Freeman '19
P&D Boarding Rep 3: Stephen Randall '20

Class Reps:

12th grade reps: Cate Cox, Jake Orloff, Christian McDaniel
11th grade reps: Myan Wang, Alex Fendig
10th grade reps: Allison Dixon, Ethan Moran
9th grade reps: Joce Motley, Alan Wang


Student representatives are chosen for several major All-school and Upper School faculty committees as part of the continuing effort to develop leadership and encourage student voice in decision-making.

  • Upper School Co-curricular Committee: Approves of Intersession trips and changes to Intersession policies
  • Diversity Committee (All-School and Upper School): Monitors and improves the school community with respect to issues of inclusion
  • Upper School Faculty: Monthly meeting of all Upper School teachers and administrators
  • Spiritual Life Committee (All-School and Upper School): Strives to maintain an atmosphere that encourages the development of student character and Quaker values
  • Traditions Committee (All-School): Raises school spirit and sense of unique school culture through community-building events

National Coalition Building Institute (Peer educators)

All Upper School students participate in the award-winning NCBI One-Day Prejudice Reduction Workshop (Fall 10th-12th grades; Spring 9th grade). The purpose of the workshop is to empower individuals to take leadership in building inclusive communities by celebrating similarities and differences, recognizing misinformation, identifying and healing internalized oppression, claiming pride in group identity, understanding the personal impact of discrimination and learning effective methods for dealing with bigoted comments and behavior.

Students may pursue their interests further by participating in a two-day Train-the-Trainer Seminar in which they continue to develop their leadership skills in this area and learn to conduct the one-day workshop for their 9th grade peers.

Peer Counselors

Interested 10th-12th graders may participate in an eight-week intensive peer counseling training program. The training includes the development of listening and group facilitation skills, as well as information on substance abuse, sexuality issues and peer pressure among other issues. Students focus on how to identify problems, provide support and recognize the boundaries of their own skills as they work with their peers.

Procedures and Discipline Committee (P & D)

The P & D Committee includes students appointed by the student body, teachers appointed by the Upper School faculty, dormitory staff, and the Dean of Students. Its role is to help the community define the rules by which we govern our daily lives at Sandy Spring Friends School. P & D also recommends consequences for students who violate existing rules and procedures.