Making school memorable
LastWednesday was Wacky Wednesday at Alexander Galt High School, a day when students are encouraged to seriously go for the ‘ridiculous’ when they’re choosing what to wear to school in the morning. Since it is one of several annual
events organized by the school’s Student Council, it seemed like a good day to interview a few of that organization’s enthusiastic members.
Student Council president Gregory McBean, head of publicity, Patricia Gamache, and head of online publicity, Samantha Lister, spoke about the school’s large council and its goals and objectives for the year.
“There are seventeen students on the council,” said the president. “Certain positions, like the secretary and the treasurer, must be from level four but, besides that, levels two to levels five are represented on the council. It’s important to see the perspective of other grades,” commented Samantha.
With all the activities the council organizes in a year, it needs lots of members. Besides Wacky Wednesday, the council has already held special activities after the school’s annual Terry Fox Run in September, organized Spirit Day and a Halloween costume con- test. “We’ll also be organizing a holiday dress-up day, when students wear red and green, a pyjama day, and a formal day when they wear shirts and ties, dresses – some even come to school in tuxedoes. We get good participation for dress-up days,” said Patricia. “We also hold activities during the winter carnival – that’s the biggest dress-up day of all,” added Samantha.
But the Student Council is not only about fun and games; it has a few more serious mandates. For starters, their Can-o-thon started yesterday, a collection of non-perishable food items for the school’s Christmas Basket Campaign. At the beginning of the school year, and with the input of all the students, the council chooses a cause to raise money for throughout the school year, one of the council’s most important missions. “A staff member recently passed away so we are starting a trust for her children to go to college or university. We choose what we want to raise money for at the beginning of the year so we can concentrate right away on the fundraisers,” Gregory explained.
Both the president and the vice president of the council sit on the school’s Governing Board, attending each meeting. “When they want a student’s perspective, they ask us. And we’re there to speak for the students. It’s where we bring up our new ideas, too,” said the president.
When asked what they found challenging about being on the Student Council, Gregory and Samantha answered together: “Trying to make everyone happy!” “And time management,” mentioned Gregory who organizes all the meetings, writes up the agendas and meets with the principal. “Having a social life can be a challenge; four out of my five lunch hours were taken up this week,” he said. “All five of my lunch hours were taken up!” countered Samantha.
Since all three of these council members have had previous experience serving on the student council and knew what they were getting into, they explained why they wanted to be on the council again this year. “I saw stuff that worked on other councils and stuff that didn’t work, so I wanted to use my experience to see what I could do. But I’ve wanted to run for president since I first joined the council – I’ve been moving up!” Gregory admitted.
“I wanted to be president, too; we ran against each other last May. It was a very close race,” said Samantha. “I like to be involved and to help other students, and to organize activities that make it fun to be in school.”
Although Patricia ran for vice-president last May and lost, she still wanted a place on the council. “I like being behind the scenes – making decisions. That makes school more fun for me,” she commented.
“This is how we get involved in our school. Others do sports – we like to be on the council,” contributed Samantha.
The three outgoing students also seemed aware of how they were benefitting from their volunteer work on the council. “Before joining the Student Council even I was too shy to dress up, but I’m much less shy now,” said Patricia who was wearing a pretty wacky outfit. “Yes, you can lose your shyness and gain leadership skills,” said Samantha. “You also learn to deal with speaking in front of crowds and you learn to be organized,” mentioned Gregory.
“Before school starts I have my whole day planned,” said Samantha. “Do they use agendas since they have such busy schedules?” I asked. “Oh, yeah. My agenda is completely color-coded,” said Patricia. “I don’t use an agenda; I just have sticky notes all over my locker!”
Student Council members (l. to r.) Patricia Gamache, Samantha Lister and Gregory McBean, posing here in the Galt library, were dressed appropriately on ‘Wacky Wednesday’.