Student Council Takes the Lead with the Summer Festival
Say goodbye to summer with the student council; yukata (summer kimono) optional! The entire YIS community is invited to the 2nd annual natsu matsuri or summer festival. Check the YIS calendar for the new date, as the festival has been postponed this week due to anticipated rainy weather. Conceived, planned, and hosted by the high school student council, the event honors a typical local highlight where traditional foods and games celebrate the season. It's also a chance to see in action the simple mandate of the student council across the entire school: allow for leadership opportunities while building community.
From elementary to high school, every level of the YIS student council finds a way to contribute. As Aimee Hill, high school student council supervisor explains: "student council strives to make all students feel comfortable and to feel part of our community. It also adds educational value as a way for students to learn through planning and executing their own ideas." Adds elementary student council co-supervisor, Sangeeta Nanwani, "student council is a place where students can feel a part of making a difference, of being responsible for their own school experience."
The careful structuring of student council across the school also allows a wide range of leadership opportunities. Starting in grade 3, students interested in being a student council member prepare a speech and presentation, eventually deciding on an 18-member council in elementary. Students work with teachers to plan and organize school events and take part in discussions and initiatives to improve school life. Last year the elementary student council came up with the idea to create a roster to help organize time on the turf, and the students worked together with classmates to organize a turf roster, successfully making turf time run smoothly.
Middle school student council acts as a stepping stone to the responsibilities that come with high school leadership. Rebekah Madrid, middle school student council supervisor, explains, "Students are basically practicing all the skills they need to become a student council member during the election process, but we have no limit on how many can join as long as they demonstrate the necessary skills and commitment." During the year, middle school students run assemblies, plan and host dances, a sports week and a arts week, all completely student-led and organized. "Different kids take on different challenges," continues Ms. Madrid, "and the council really encourages other students to get involved too with various student-driven committees and ways to participate throughout the year."
In addition to Friday's summer festival, the high school student council organized a concert and high school dance in the first weeks of school, ensuring the new year starts on a welcoming note for everyone. It's an important role that students take seriously. As Ashab Ahmad, a grade 12 representative, explains: "effective student representation and governance is a cornerstone of ensuring a healthy school community, as the concerns and needs of the student body are addressed through liaison with the administration and the council's own initiative. This allows we the students to provide input in a democratic manner."
Megan McAuley, student council vice president sums it up best: "I can feel accomplished for having done something for the students and sometimes even the YIS community, but I also like the fact that I can work with students from other grades and collaborate with them to host events. One of the major challenges of having a leadership position and being on the council is that you have to manage a group of people while keeping up with academics, sports and other activities. It takes up a lot of time and dedication but it truly is a great opportunity and I highly encourage students to take part in the Student Council."