Student council plans school changes


Photo by William Cadenhead

Student council member of senior Isabelle Adams helps students in the media center, coming up with ideas on how to make school a better place.

The student council, led by advisor Dusty Dennis, works behind the scenes to create positive change within the student body. While the election process involves some consideration of popularity, students are chosen based on hard work and merit. These students are driven by a genuine desire to make meaningful improvements in the school, such as adjusting the attendance policy and passing time. Through careful planning and collaboration with faculty, they represent students and shape the school’s culture.

To create a positive learning environment and foster new passions and skills, rules and systems need to be in place that cater to the broader student body. By listening to the voices of students, the student council can and has made school much more than tolerable. The rules and regulations set now will have a lasting impact on how future students learn and develop. Members of the council collaborate with groups such as the Black Student Union (BSU) and other student-led cultural clubs. By working closely with these clubs, the student council ensures that the concerns and needs of different cultural backgrounds and identities are heard and taken into consideration. The student council can reach far with their influence and act as the platform for everybody to jump off.

The student council members have expanded their efforts and workload, demonstrating great involvement and dedication to their positions. They actively organize and participate in various school events, including the student-teacher basketball game, Spikeball tournament and dances, showcasing their commitment to enhancing the school experience for their peers.

“I feel like there’s been a lot more involvement in school events. We’ve had some pretty successful events, like homecoming weekend last week, and I feel like those events have been really successful since COVID kind of shut everything down,” said junior John Dieterle. “Since I’ve been hosting the council, I’ve organized a couple of events like the student-teacher basketball game, Spikeball tournament, and I’ve just helped out a lot with plenty of dances and stuff.”

While the student council elections involve an element of popularity, they are not solely based on that factor. The election process requires candidates to campaign and present their qualifications and ideas for improving the school. Being well-liked among classmates is important, but ultimately, the students consider a candidate’s potential to be a capable leader who can bring positive change to the school community.

“I wouldn’t say it’s completely a popularity contest because although you do have to have a lot of connections within your class to be voted, it’s a democratic vote. But you still need to campaign yourself and be seen in a positive light to be elected because, I mean, some people are really popular, but they don’t get elected because people know they won’t really be a great leader for the school,” Dieterle added.

The student council actively engages with the broader student body, addressing their concerns and creating an inclusive environment. Last year, they changed how passing times work and this year, they revised the detention policy, which is very beneficial for students as it encourages them to arrive at classes on time. They also collaborate with various clubs and organizations within the school, providing support and organizing events that cater to different demographics. By reaching out and working closely with students from all backgrounds, the student council ensures that every student’s voice is heard, and their needs are considered.

“The student council, especially this year, has done a nice job reaching out to other clubs and supporting clubs like BSU and ASU. I think we’ve organized more events this year than any other year. Especially in the last two weeks, we’ve had a lot of events that cater to a ton of different demographics within the high school,” Dieterle explained.

The student council demonstrates a proactive approach to improving the school environment by engaging in extensive planning and discussions, even during the summer. Their commitment to creating positive change is evident from their dedication to making the school a better place.

“We start off with a lot of conversation and planning. People don’t realize we meet during the summer before school starts, and we plan what we want. I make it imperative that we’re here to make our school a better place,” student council advisor Dusty Dennis said.

We plan what we want, and I make it imperative that we’re here to make our school a better place.

— Dusty Dennis

The student council actively collaborates with school staff on various committees, such as those focused on scheduling changes and the implementation of office hours. Their participation ensures that student perspectives are represented in important decision-making processes.

“I don’t think people realize that they are on a lot of staff committees. When Mr. Bach is planning changes to schedules or planning on reinstituting office hours, we’re that push. We’re pushing for that because people were saying they wanted that back. So, the student council was on that committee and helped push to get office hours back,” Dennis added.

In addition to their committee work, the student council plays a significant role in organizing school events and addressing cultural issues. Their efforts go beyond what may be commonly perceived, contributing to a positive school culture.

“It’s just like politics. When you look at some of the people in politics now, you can’t necessarily say that they represent. It’s like it’s hard to get people on, like, do people partake in electing their representatives? Not everybody does, not everybody votes. So, it’s those kinds of things. We try to take in all the input from as many people as we can. Yeah. But you know, I’m sure we miss, I’m sure we missed people,” Dennis said.

The student council operates through a system of delegation and relies on strong team bonding. Members are assigned specific responsibilities, such as organizing dances or other events, ensuring a shared workload. Team bonding activities further strengthen their unity and camaraderie, enabling them to rely on one another to accomplish their goals effectively.

“I did a lot of delegating, so I’ll be like, okay, this group of people, you’re going to be in charge of this dance or whatever. Then also, we do a lot of team bonding stuff. So, we’re all really close to each other, and we rely on each other to get stuff done,” former student council President Iliana Balok said.

The student council’s activities, such as senior sunrise and senior sunset, as well as the teacher appreciation lunch, contribute to a strong sense of community among students and faculty. These events bring different groups together, fostering a positive and inclusive school environment that goes beyond popularity. The focus is on creating experiences that resonate with various demographics and promote unity within the student body.

“I think all of the activities that we run, like our second year doing senior sunrise and senior sunset, which I think is really fun for the senior class, we do the teacher lunch, a teacher appreciation lunch every year, and I think a lot of teachers like that because they get letters from their past students and they get a free lunch. I don’t know, I think that whether it’s putting out a dance or any other activity we do, all of it brings together the student body,” added Balok.

The student council’s selection process prioritizes hard work and merit over popularity. Upon submitting an application, the presidents of the current year carefully review the candidates’ responses, assessing the depth of thought and relevance of their answers. Only those who demonstrate a genuine commitment and capability are allowed to run for the student council, ensuring a focus on merit-based selection.

“After you submit an application, the presidents of that year go over your application and decide whether or not you answered the questions well enough with thought. Based on that, we allow you to run, and then you have to be voted on, obviously. But we make sure that everyone who’s running actually wants to put in the work to be members,” Balok said.

The student council prioritizes hard work and merit over popularity. The selection process in place involves a thorough evaluation of candidates’ applications, ensuring their genuine commitment and capability to contribute to the entire student body. Furthermore, while student elections do involve an element of popularity, they are not solely determined by it. Candidates are required to campaign, presenting their qualifications and ideas for improving the school. The council members actively engage with the student body, organizing events and addressing cultural issues. The student council collaborates with various clubs, such as BSU and other organizations, ensuring that every student’s voice is heard and their needs are considered. Through delegation and strong team bonding, the student council effectively works together to accomplish their goals. Without the engine that is the student council, the school would lose power and focus.