By Sister Janet Siepker, FSE
One of the greatest joys of being a principal is the opportunity we have to see and work with the potential of all the students in our schools.
At Queen of Peace Catholic School in Cloquet, that opportunity comes when we hold elections for Student Council.
Every student from kindergarten to grade six has the privilege of running for a position on our Student Council. Each classroom has a room representative, which is open for any student to become a candidate for election. The officers are elected from grades three to six.
The election process begins two weeks from the official Election Day, which this year was on Nov. 4. The speeches given and the elections held for room reps are completed in the individual classrooms. The speeches of the candidates for office are given to the entire student body at a school assembly the day before elections.
It is a wonderful teaching moment when I speak to the students about the privilege of voting and the need to really listen to the speeches of each candidate. The biggest challenge for each student is to choose the best candidate on what they hear and see and not on popularity. I stressed this to the students before they listen to the speeches.
Although there is some risk in sharing the speeches of our officers with you, it is such a delight to hear their honesty and creativity. I am very proud of each of them.
Our Student Council President: Hello! As you all know, my name is Maggie. I am running for Student Council president. To start, I would like to start talking about the lunch room. Everybody enjoys lunch, right? We all like to talk during lunch, but it gets too loud. Then the lights get shut off, and we can’t talk anymore. We all like to talk, but we really need to control our voice level. If I get elected president, I will work hard to find a way for all of us to be quiet, but still be able to talk. Also, I think that we should have weekly meetings with each other in our classrooms. This will get us to be able to socialize with each other and will help us to feel better. I think the school should have a book club during the winter. Instead of going to the gym for recess where you get hit in the head with flying balls and get knocked over by running kids, students could go into the library and read or play board games. This would make it so the kids could have a place to go and read or play a board game quietly. Another idea I had about lunch is that students should be able to go up to their classrooms or line up for recess if they have finished their lunch. If a student finishes their lunch before their friends, they just talk, which then gets the people who are eating to talk instead of eat. Then, they don’t finish their meal and there is a big waste of food. These may not be the best ideas, but if you elect me to be your Student Council president, we can think of ideas to help this school. I want to be there for the students. I want you all to feel comfortable coming to me with all of your concerns and ideas to make this a better school for us all. “There is no limit to what a human being like you can do.” Thank you so much for listening!
Vice President: Hello, my name is Fredrick and I want to be your next Student Council vice president. I will work hard, I will assist the next president any way I can, and I will participate in all Student Council functions. Roses are red, violets are blue, I’d vote for me and you should too! Thank you!
Secretary: Hello, as most of you know my name is Jonah. I’m in fifth grade and am running for Student Council secretary. The reason I want to be secretary is because last year I had so much fun as treasurer. If elected, I think I would be a good secretary because I have neat handwriting and can spell well. I know this because I did very well in the spelling bee last year. If you vote for me, I promise to continue to participate in all student council events and work hard to come up with new ideas. I’ll make sure no idea is ever overlooked. Thank you for listening. Voting for me is the “write” choice.
Treasurer: Hi my name is Josilyn, everyone calls me Josi. I’m campaigning for Student Council treasurer. I’m in third grade. I’ve been going to this awesome school for six years. I think it would be fun to be in Student Council because it helps make the school a better place. You should vote for me because I am a hard worker. I get my things done on time and I am good at math. When you’re voting, remember I would love to participate and be in Student Council. I will be a dedicated treasurer. If you have any ideas, once elected I would love to share them with the members of Student Council. Thank you for listening. Remember, a vote for Josi just makes “cents.”
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Our Student Council meets once a week for 30 minutes, and they are about getting things done!
Since November they opened the School Store, donated money to the Diocesan OneChurchOneFamily Campaign and the March for Life in Washington, D.C., sponsored an ugly sweater day to collect money to buy flannel to make lap blankets for the elderly at a local Nursing Facility, and will begin collecting coins for the “Pennies for Patients” Fund in January.
Experiencing our students in their excitement and pride to vote in a simple election process and seeing our Student Council at work gives me much hope in the values they hold as future politicians. Please, keep us in your prayers.
Sister Janet Siepker, FSE, is principal of Queen of Peace School in Cloquet.