Student Leadership Council wins Human Rights Award


Photo by Jasmine Allison

Student Leadership Council won the Human Rights Award at the city hall on Aug. 16, for their efforts to improve culture and climate in the school.

The Student Leadership Council was awarded the Humans Rights Award for its efforts to stand up to the oppression of human rights in a nonviolent way. The award was presented to the council and their supervisor by the Stillwater City Council at the city hall in mid-Aug. 

After only two years of its creation, the Student Leadership council’s hard work was recognized. Due to their strenuous efforts to improve our school’s climate and cultural issues, the Stillwater City Council on Aug. 16, awarded the Student Leadership council with the Human Rights Award.

Student Leadership Council advisor and equity specialist Cornelius Rish said that he is “proud of the work that we did” and that winning the Human Rights Award was a “kind of validation” that the work was paying off. 

Student Leadership Council was created by Rish in the fall of 2020. Rish created the council so the students could have a voice in the decision-making for the school.

Rish said that when many adults get together to try and solve a problem for the kids “we have these great ideas and we’re like, hey, we’re for kids, and then all of a sudden it has a negative impact and we don’t know why. Well, we didn’t bring any youth voice into the room.”

One important award-winning idea the Student Leadership Council represents is the fact that each person should get a say in the decisions that are being made that affect them. Every person gets a voice no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, beliefs, and other factors. 

Member senior Jasmine Allison said that she loves being a member of the Student Leadership Council because it allows her to “express and represent the minorities of this community in a meaningful way.”

One way that the Student Leadership Council allows everyone to have a voice is through the Voices of Change Conference. Each year Student Leadership Council hosts the conference so students can openly talk about issues they think are important in the school and changes they wish to see. 

Rish said that one main reason why the Student Leadership Council puts on the Voices of Change Conference is that “it allows students who typically feel that they didn’t have a voice or at least a platform where they can have a voice to come together and to have dialogue and to express themselves and express their opinions.”

After the Voices of Change Conference, Student Leadership Council takes the input they gathered and tries to fix the issues. One example of this is the QR codes for the mental health resources that are taped up around the school. 

Senior Philip Eviston said that he was still very happy to be a part of the QR code project because it was students creating solutions for other students which was very encouraging for him.

“We still have a lot of work to go. But there was a lot of positive change that has happened. And, I’m proud of that work we did.” Rish said The Student Leadership Council’s hard work “is impactful and is meaningful, and it’s making a difference.”