NatStuCo hosted the second virtual National Student Council Conference June 22–25, inviting not only student council members and advisers but also student leaders from all backgrounds—creating an open and accessible event that offered engaging keynotes, peer-led workshops, and ideas and inspiration that students could bring back to their schools.
The virtual sessions opened on Tuesday, June 22. Opening remarks introduced the host school and Woodbridge Senior High School students, NASSP President Robert Motley, and NASSP Student Experience Design Lead Ann Postlewaite. The Warren E. Shull Adviser of the Year winners—Terry D’Imperio and Petra Davis-Johnson—were also announced. The “Meet the Pros” sessions kicked off with presentations led by NatStuCo students and advisers, where participants could hear directly from their peers on topics such as student advocacy, facing rejection and loss, fundraising, and implementing technology in council leadership. The closing keynote speaker address on Tuesday was from Olympic medal-winning gymnast Gabby Douglas.
Wednesday, June 23, opened with another session from the host high school students and the announcement of the 2021 National Council of Excellence and National Gold Council of Excellence winners. Presentations on day two covered topics such as social media, podcasting, and having conversations about race and equity. The closing keynote was from Principal Hamish Brewer, known as an educational disrupter who is constantly calling on students to “be relentless.”
On Thursday, June 24, the opening session shared attendee videos that prompted participants to share what leadership is to them. “Meet the Pros” sessions covered topics such as creating a positive culture, cultivating student voice, and financial tips to equip students for success beyond high school. The general session keynote address from Ben Rattray, founder and CEO of Change.org, shared his mission to empower people to create the change they want to see.
On the final day, Friday, June 25, Woodbridge Senior High School spotlighted several other schools in the Virginia Association of Student Councils and how they gave back to their communities. Presentations on Friday covered topics such as building a brand, digital badging, and school unification activities. The closing keynote session of the conference was from Kahlil Greene, the first Black student body president in Yale’s 318-year history.
Over all four days, advisers and students engaged with one another both in the virtual conference platform and on social media.