Misconceptions: That’s just a popularity contest. Won’t feelings be hurt? It’s not necessary – we’re not a big school. And most unfortunate of all – the students aren’t really capable of self-government.
One of the most important responsibilities as parents and educators is in developing and acting upon an absolute belief in the abilities and capabilities of our children. We facilitate exposure to their areas of interest and work hard to create a clear path to their future success. But while we’re working so hard and are filling our own calendars each day with responsibilities, deadlines, and dates for their benefit, we should not forget something vitally important: our children are becoming young adults and are very capable of acting as such. With good minds, serving hearts, a multitude of ideas and energy we only wish we still had, they are not only capable of self-governing, but they are hungry for the opportunity to do so.
Student council provides an opportunity to go from being the recipient to the provider, being the taker to the giver, from being a passive participant to a responsible decision maker and leader. Through elected representatives, all students will have a voice and an opportunity to be heard. Ideas for community service, patriotism, school spirit, and social events will be their own as will the responsibility for the events. Can they do all of this and school and have a life? Of course they can! Students do this across the state and the country every year. The only thing different about our students is that they have unanimously been raised with servant hearts. They will not only succeed – they will soar!
The proposal: Student council will represent the school as a whole, but members of the council will be from Logic and Rhetoric. There will be an Executive Council of six positions: President (a rising senior) Vice President (rising junior or senior) Secretary, Treasurer, Historian, and Chaplain.
In addition, each grade level, 6th – 12th, will have two class representatives.
All will be elected.
So let’s address a few of the concerns:
- Is it a popularity contest? The answer is no and if it’s treated that way by the students, they will rapidly realize their mistake.
- For those who choose to run for an executive position, much is required. An application must be submitted along with a signed contract by the students to verify they understand the responsibilities they are seeking to take on. Parents must sign a consent form. There will be full disclosure and understanding of what is involved and the time, effort, and responsibility that is required.
- Elections will be a two part system: student body vote combined with independent teacher evaluations. Teachers do not vote, but evaluate students in areas of self-discipline and responsible behavior. The combined points will determine the election results.
Class representatives will be elected through a grade level vote after meeting the election requirements of submitting an essay and passing an interview. They will represent all students in their grade for their term of service.
The voters need to think carefully and choose wisely as they vote. Candidates will have an opportunity to campaign and and voters will have an opportunity to ask questions. Teaching our students to vote responsibly is an important skill in our adult democratic system. This is an excellent place to begin.
Size has no bearing – even the smallest can be mighty! We have but to look at the success of the bake sales to know that something as small as a cupcake can achieve a tremendous purpose. The students will determine what and how much they can and are able to take on, but we should never limit their success by preventing a viable opportunity to succeed.
Will there be any fun? Of course! While we know they are willing to work hard, they also seek to enjoy their time at this special place called Fortis. I’ve heard so many ideas already – return of fun Fridays, Homecoming, game nights, field trip ideas. When provided a forum they will choose wisely and well, BUT the idea is definitely LET THE FUN BEGIN!
But is it just for fun? Absolutely not! Just as they take their education seriously when allowed an opportunity to engage rather than sit idle, so they will take their own governing system seriously. To provide parameters, all ideas must have the approval of the Head of School. Justifications and an acceptable plan for implementation will be presented to gain said approval. Participation in a community or school service project will be required to reap the reward of the ensuing social event. Serious ideas will be treated seriously and responsible behavior will be treated with the respect it deserves. They will thrive!
Parents, talk with your students – do they have an interest? Would they like to run for a position? Even if they don’t want to run now, do they want the council to happen so they can possibly run in the future or at t
he very least, have a voice?
Then step up and make this happen!
Come alongside, Fortis parents. They’re asking. Let’s give them this opportunity to succeed.