Student leaders learn valuable skills for future

By Katie Norman
SNN Features Editor
St. John's, Newfoundland

School politics gives all young people the opportunity to get a taste of responsibility and leadership. As you read this, councils are meeting to plan events and encourage school spirit.

These young people are not only planning dances and bake sales but they are getting an opportunity to learn valuable skills. School councils enable students to make the most of their school year.

A student council is just like a regular municipal or provincial government. The members represent the students, as the councillors represent the citizens. They bring the ideas of the students to a higher court where decisions about school life can be made fairly.

People run for student council for many reasons. As Kelli Corscadden, vice president of Windhorst School, Windhorst, Saskatchewan said in a recent interview with SNN, "I have always been a leader in my school. Student council just seemed like the appropriate step. I hate having a passive voice. So I took charge."

Kelli Corscadden, vice president
of Windhorst School,
Windhorst, Saskatchewan

Heather Williams is a delegate at Frisco High School, in Frisco Texas.

"I'm very proactive; when ever I'm discontent about the way something is being handled or if I want something to be done, I go straight to the problem and fix it or present my opinion so that it may be acted upon," she told SNN.

School councils can accomplish a lot in a school year. They not only boost school spirit but they give people the opportunity to become friends that maybe wouldn't have if they hadn't joined the council.

Taes Leavitt, vice president of P.D.C.I. in Perth, Ontario told SNN that she accomplished a lot through her council.

"We have had an awesome school year…our morale has gone up, we have more school spirit and participation and because of this we are helping out organizations even more than usual," said Leavitt.

Alicia Lauerson is a student leader
in Alberta who launched a local
chapter of Free The Children.

The idea of politics in the classroom is not a new one. For decades there have been class presidents and campaigns to elect these people. The coveted role is often held by a student who not only excels academically, but outside the bounds of the classroom as well.

Many members of student councils are also involved in other organizations such as SADD and Free the Children. They often take part in other activities such as sports, drama, the yearbook and key club. Needless to say, it is harder than many perceive to earn your spot on a council.

How do such students get elected to the positions in the council? Is it their well-planned speeches? Great promotional gifts like candy and t-shirts? Or is it based solely on popularity? 90% of the students in a recent survey said that school politics were just a popularity contest. They were a way for the cool kids to help plan out how they wanted their school year to be run.

One student from New Zealand said, "It's one big popularity contest. Those kids don't care about me."

Whether school politics is a popularity contest or not is a very controversial issue. Yet the fact does remain that if some one runs for council they obviously want to help.

In what ways do these young people help out in our schools? They plan dances and school events, sponsor poor children in developing countries and hold fundraisers for the school.

The only main difference between these councils is the way that they got elected. Some schools have nominations and then everyone in the school votes on the candidates. In other cases, a council is elected and then from the group the roles are assigned like president and secretary.

In one school in Ontario, the teachers select the nominees. Then, the Grade 12 students pick the candidates out of the teachers' nomination lists. After the candidates are chosen, they have one week to campaign. At the end of the week, each candidate and one of their friends give speeches telling you why you should vote for them. Then everyone votes to see who will get on the

Class politics are a way for kids to reach out and make a difference in their schools. Although they are not for everyone, they are beneficial to those involved. I think schools politics are a positive experience for anyone who chooses to participate in them.