Student Council Elections:
Getting in Touch with Students
By Jennifer Kelly, Roncalli High School, Port Saunders NF
We all think the same thing: we have all the answers. But yet few of us take the chance to actually do something. During the month of September, a handful of young men and women decided that they wanted to make a difference in their schools. They wanted to run for Student Council President. They took the time to campaign, to let their ideas be heard, to tell everyone what they think is the right answer. Then it was up to the other students in their school to decide who had the best answers to lead them in the new school year.
Each District in Newfoundland and Labrador had many schools participating in Student Council elections. Some of these schools include Menihek High in Labrador City, Roncalli Central High School in Port Saunders, Regina High School in Corner Brook, Exploits Valley High-Greenwood in Grand Falls-Windsor, Marystown Central High School in Marystown, and Booth Memorial High in St. John’s. Gail Zwicker, Teacher Liaison for Student Council at Booth Memorial in St. John’s, said “having a student council promotes student leadership in school. Also, a strong Student Council can increase school spirit. It keeps us teachers in touch with the students and helps us to make the school better.” Other schools have been unable to hold their elections yet because of the Newfoundland Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) strike, but intend to in the near future.
A few schools decided to do things differently this year. Instead of electing Class Representatives and an Executive Council, the Student Council is made up of students who show good leadership skills throughout the school. Marystown Central High School and Roncalli Central High School are two of the many schools that elected their Student Council this way. Donna Walsh, a teacher at Marystown Central High School, explained how they chose their Council. “This year we based our election on leadership, but it was voluntary. Eighteen students showed up for the first meeting, but only six to eight will be on the Council.”
On election day at Roncalli Central High, spirits were high and the competition fierce. Roncalli’s election consisted of four Level III students, Mark Gould, Judy Symes, Anna Marie Kennedy, and Lily Smallwood. The crowd was lively, as it was a Friday afternoon, but they were ready to listen to what each candidate had to say. Mark started off his speech with a little humor, saying “Before I was perfectly fine, but now man my knees are shaking like you wouldn’t believe!” He then went on to say “our sports stuff is getting kinda old and we need new stuff. I mean, it’s pretty bad when you take out a basketball and it’s so old you see your grandfather’s autograph on it.” At this, the crowd roared, keeping everyone’s attention to see what other comments were to be made. Judy Symes was elected as the new 2001-2002 Student Council President. Some of the things Judy would like to see done at Roncalli this year are: students being allowed back into the school at lunch time instead of having to wait until the bell rings, improvements made to the washrooms, and an update to the school’s dress code. She hopes to make this the best year Roncalli has ever seen.
Judy is not the only one who wants to make her school better. All of the Student Council Presidents across Newfoundland and Labrador have ideas on how to improve their school. They think they have the right answers and they’re doing something about it. Congratulations to all members of Student Councils throughout the province.