We Are All in This Together
After a year and a half of virtual learning, students at Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology in Conyers, GA, were eager to return to in-person learning. In honor of their first 30 days back in the building, NatStuCo members created a video of 30-second interviews showcasing the experiences of students and teachers over the first 30 days of the school year. These interviews presented different perspectives and provided common ground for students to relate to each other; they also sparked discussions in classrooms. The video NatStuCo members created fostered a sense of togetherness since it was viewed by the entire student body. It also helped people in the school and in the community learn about student experiences, as the NatStuCo members distributed the video to parents, faculty, staff, and students via email.
It Was Bound to Happen
NatStuCo members at Moanalua High School in Honolulu, HI, have organized many kinds of drives to support various causes, but 2021 was the first year they undertook a book drive. To generate interest, members created and distributed a flyer to students and teachers; and to their pleasant surprise, they started receiving donations that same day. After receiving boxes full of books, members sorted donations by age group and then donated the books to their sister feeder school and to a local library. The local library was very happy to receive so many donations, and members took pride in supporting both students and the community. The project’s success inspired members to tentatively plan another book drive for early this year.
It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time!
Tarkanian Middle School student council members in Las Vegas held a virtual PB & J-athon food drive to benefit people without homes in their community. After inviting neighboring high school and elementary school student councils to participate, members used the video-communication service Google Meet to host the event. Coming together virtually for the PB & J-athon, participants enjoyed listening to music and having fun making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for those less fortunate. Students, teachers, and staff members also wrote notes of encouragement to attach to bags containing the sandwiches, which were then collected at a local park while adhering to all COVID-19 safety guidelines. Council members worked closely with a special outreach group called CARE to help coordinate sandwich pickup and distribution. Students were happy to learn that thanks to their efforts, CARE was able to provide sandwiches to the people they serve for five days straight.
While NatStuCo members at Ed Irons Middle School in Lubbock, TX, believe people should always take time to be thankful, they also thought the time leading up to Thanksgiving break was an especially important opportunity to express gratitude. To encourage students to be mindful of all they are grateful for, members created and hung a large poster-sized tree and passed out leaves made from red, orange, and yellow pieces of paper to students and staff so they could write what they were thankful for. After they were collected, the leaves were attached to the tree so everyone could share in the feeling of gratitude. Members were happy their project helped students and staff reflect on what they appreciated before Thanksgiving 2020. Because of its positive impact, the tree remains on display even after the holiday to remind everyone they should always be grateful.
Don’t Rain on My Parade
NatStuCo members at Mountain View High School in Mesa, AZ, had their hearts set on organizing an orderly homecoming parade involving students, teachers, clubs, and other schools. To realize their dream, they obtained a special event permit from the city and acquired security for the parade. Next, they communicated and coordinated with clubs to confirm participation. On the day of the parade, which began right at the school, members orchestrated the event setup and got all parade participants and floats into position. Filled with live music, candy tosses, festive floats, and plenty of cheer, the parade went off without a hitch and afforded members lessons to maximize recognition and participation and minimize stress and confusion the next time around.
Thinking Outside the Box
Every year, NatStuCo members at Mount Carmel Academy in New Orleans organize a dance to raise money to help children in developing countries experience the joy of Christmas by donating to the Catholic charity, Box of Joy. This school year, students promoted the fundraiser through commercials and announcements and used the $1,200 they raised to purchase boxes from the charity, which each club and homeroom filled with toys. Members also conducted presentations to encourage participation and were elated to surpass their goal by filling over 200 boxes, which Box of Joy shipped to children around the world.
We Can Do Virtually Anything
With COVID-19 restrictions still in place this school year, student council members at Ascension Episcopal School in Lafayette, LA, sought to encourage school spirit, positivity, character-building, and a sense of community—despite social distancing. Members took their morning announcements to the big screen with the help of a faculty live-streaming expert who taught them how to operate live-streaming software and equipment. They then used technology and YouTube to maintain feelings of connection via live-streamed morning announcements, daily chapel services, schoolwide activities, and more. Members also shared information, raised awareness, and spread positivity throughout the school by distributing a weekly prerecorded newscast called Blue Gator Buzz. Fellow students, teachers, and parents appreciated the opportunities for participation afforded by live-streaming.
That’s the Spirit
Wanting to generate as much unity as possible while considering the new circumstances involved in online learning last school year, NatStuCo members at Kamehameha Middle School in Honolulu, HI, organized a festive Spirit Week utilizing Flipgrid to capture student and teacher participation. Leading up to the event, council members held multiple meetings on a weekly basis to discuss and vote on ideas and finalize plans. Once they determined themes for the days of the week, members prepared a slideshow for each day. The event garnered impressive student engagement, and the entire school noticed a boost in school spirit. Members learned participation can be hard when learning online, but they were grateful to create something that helped everyone come together to show pride as a school. They also gained confidence in their leadership skills after navigating challenges presented by internet issues and platform complications.