I was on the student council when I was in high school (a long time ago). I learned a little bit about leadership and how to work with other people. I thought it was a good experience, so I have encouraged my kids to run for office, but none of my kids were ever interested… until last year. My son told me he was running for sophomore class vice president… and, could I please help him find a good picture, make a poster, get them printed, and put up all over the school… that day. I didn’t have anything else to do (ha), so I helped him get it all done. He made a great poster, ran a good campaign (against two others) and got elected.
Now that he has been part of the student council for a few months, I decided to ask him about his duties and responsibilities.
— Each student council member participates in teacher appreciation. Once a month he gets a small gift for an assigned teacher, and then the student council presents it to the teacher. It takes the entire school year to ‘appreciate’ all of the teachers.
I love that my son is learning to appreciate the many teachers that spend their time educating students like him.
— He is required to complete 12 hours of community service, that must be approved by his advisor.
He even volunteered at a local half marathon that I ran, but could not count the hours for student council, because it was not approved. He was really disappointed, but I wasn’t. Community service is always a good thing.
— He spent three hours checking students in and out for the school “blood drive.”
I was surprised to learn that students who are over the age of 16 can give blood — as long as they have parent consent.
— He helped plan and attended the Homecoming Dance.
— The student council planned, and made posters for ‘spirit week’ and ‘red ribbon week’.
Kids need the opportunity to plan and run events and activities. The more they are involved, the more they can appreciate the hard work that goes into a great event.
— Student council members were excused from school, for the day, to help with the middle school reality town. (I wrote about that experience here.) They were in charge of helping eighth grade students make decisions about (pretend) money and services. Unfortunately, my son didn’t participate due to school obligations.
I was really proud of him for being responsible. He wanted to participate with reality town, but instead he chose to go to class.
— Each member is asked to set a good example for the whole school. They all wore these student council shirts to school on Monday.
— My son had to learn how to run an effective campaign (with a voting population of 450 sophomores). We put up all of his posters after school, and the next morning they were taken down, because he failed to get them approved.
He learned the importance of following the campaign rules, especially after he had to remake all of his posters.
— He attended a student council conference, with students from 30 other high schools. He learned how other schools run their student council and he made new friends.
— The student council members take a student leadership class (for elective credits).
I think that any leadership opportunities are good experience for the future.
— Because of student council, my son has gotten to know the students, administrators and teachers better.
Overall, student council has helped my son learn leadership, planning and cooperation skills. He’s still not a big fan of service. He told me, “Doing service is lame, but I signed up for it, so I guess I have to do it.”
Are your kids in student council? Do you think it is beneficial?