Howard Schultz Visits Town Hall

by Bronya Sandorffy

 

On March 14th, Howard Schultz, executive chairman of Starbucks, visited Northwest Yeshiva High School’s (NYHS) Town Hall about gun control.

Town Hall is a biweekly schoolwide discussion about moral dilemmas and policy at NYHS. Students, faculty, and parents at NYHS discussed gun control on March 14th, the day of the nationwide walkout protesting gun violence following the Parkland school shooting. Some students and staff from NYHS participated in the walkout.

Many people said that this experience seemed to give Schultz a positive impression of NYHS.

Robin Nider, director of the Just Community and head of Agenda Committee, which plans Town Hall, said that Howard Schultz “got a good view of NYHS students because not every high school is doing things like Town Hall– getting together as a community to talk about issue of conscience and issues of consequence.”

This Town Hall reflected positively on NYHS because “everyone was very respectful during Town Hall. We were debating, but in respectful ways. I think he really enjoyed seeing this civil discourse,” said junior Naftali Katsman.

Even the nationwide walkout that some NYHS students and staff participated in didn’t seem to affect the Town Hall.

The walkout “made it more powerful” because NYHS could “be part of a major event and not disrupt,” said sophomore Avital Jacobson.

People had different opinions on how Howard Schultz’s presence affected Town Hall.

Nina Greisman, 9th grader, said she didn’t think Howard Schultz being there affected anything. “I didn’t feel anything different,” she said.

Katsman said that it changed the Town Hall environment a little because, especially when it is someone as well known as Howard Schultz, “people will sometimes have side conversations, but they’re a bit more respectful when there’s a guest there.”

Nider said having Howard Schultz there helped the environment of Town Hall, but what really affected it was “how much work the agenda committee did beforehand to inform the student population, so everyone came up with really thoughtful things to say.”