During this time of year, we think about the past and look to the future.
As the new Student Council advisor, I spent many hours thinking about ways I can make the experience valuable for all the students who wish to participate. When I first envisioned the “new” student council, I really wanted to be able to open up the experience to more students than there had been in previous years. Together with our leadership board, I decided that classes would hold elections for representatives in grades two-five, with sixth graders running for the offices of president and vice president.
There were many reasons behind my decision. Students really had to think about why they wanted to be on student council.
- They had to show “follow-through” by filling out a form.
- They had to make a commitment to attend weekly meetings.
- They had to learn the notion of volunteering to serve others--an important part of our mission statement.
- They even had to “volunteer” to give up their lunch hour once a week. They had to speak in front of their peers.
Finally, some running had to learn the difficult lesson that not everyone can win all the time. They were able to learn this in a safe and nurturing environment. Though this last lesson can be hard, there is value in that as well. Developing resilience is important.
Being a part of something bigger than they are, acting to “improve (their) world”, is Tikkun Olam and our mission statement in action. So far, student council has sponsored two school wide spirit days, received over 200 pairs of socks as donations for Children’s Hospital, and are eagerly planning a smoothie fundraiser so that ADAT can adopt a family for the holidays. The students are taking ownership for improving their school experience, and it is thrilling to watch.