The Cambridge-Isanti High School student council has been busy over the summer planning events for the new school year.
The leaders of the student council are called the executive board, which governs over the full council.
“It’s the students’ council. They should have a voice,” Advisor James Woodbury said. “There’s this very active group of kids who want—who desperately crave—the opportunity to be leaders, and they want to make a difference. They have all these really good ideas because they believe in Cambridge-Isanti High School. We all think this is a great place to be, but it’s not perfect, and their job is to have that student perspective, that student voice that says ‘let’s work together.’”
Executive board meets once a week during the school year, as well as every few weeks during the summer. The full student council met once over the summer and meets every two or three weeks during the school year.
The student council executives this year are Jesse Berg, Erica Epsen, Chase Hicks, Maria Leibel, Anyssa Rassett, Morgan Scheiller, Hannah Thiry and Taylor Weeks.
One event planned by the council is the Senior Sunrise, which kicks off the year for seniors as an opportunity for them to set their expectations, goals and plans for the final year of high school.
To close off their year, seniors will participate in the Senior Sunset.
Homecoming T-shirts are designed by student council. This year, the front of the shirt reads “Cambridge-Isanti High School 2012 Homecoming.” The back reads “10% luck. 20% skill. 15% concentrated power of will. 5% pleasure. 50% pain. And 100% reason to remember the Jackets!” The line is a reference to a lyric from the Fort Minor song “Remember the Name.”
Teacher appreciation days throughout the year involve student council members distributing cookies and beverages to teachers, along with thank-you cards.
And Snow Daze, the school’s winter festival with a pep fest and semi-formal dance, is in December this year. As part of the festivities, student council sets up a week of dress up days, Thiry said. For instance, students might have ugly sweater day or dress like a twin day. Two representatives from each grade are selected to represent the school and host the lunch room games.
Planning events isn’t all the student council does. Last year, the council re-wrote part of the technology policy. Starting this year, district-wide, students will be allowed to carry their cell phones throughout the school and will have access to Facebook.
“Mitch Clausen, the principal here, is a big believer in having a student voice, and technology integration is one of the themes for the district,” Woodbury said.
The student council was approached and asked to look at the technology policy and tell administrators what the most effective changes would be from a student standpoint.
“It worked pretty well for the most part. There was some abuse to it, but there’s always going to be people that want to push the boundaries. It came off really well, and now it’s district-wide. They’re really encouraging technology use,” he said. “It really empowered the council because they felt like they were being heard.”
Woodbury said he strongly believes in having a student voice in the school.
“My job with the full student council is to act as a sounding board. For executive board, my job is to give them some advice, guidance and leadership, to really enhance their leadership,” he said. “These are people that I trust, that I try to mentor to try to shape them into somebody I think they can be. I try to give them encouragement to say, ‘you can take that next step to have that confidence. I believe in you, I believe in this and I believe in this school, and I think that you guys are ready.’ I try to encourage them to take that leadership. If I do my job well enough, then I can back off.”
Before changing the technology policy, the student council re-wrote part of the dance policy.
This year, they’re hoping to change the dress code. Currently, students can wear shorts that are four inches above the knee.
“It sounds reasonable, but with different heights, one type of shorts are shorter on some girls than others,” Hannah Thiry said. “We’re trying to change it to six inches or so underneath the butt, just so you have the same amount covered instead because people’s sizes are different.”
The student council is also hoping to increase their participation in community service. They’re planning two blood drives this year with over 100 donors throughout the day. They’re also involved with Kids Against Hunger, and they donate to cancer research with the Coaches vs. Cancer event.
The student council is in charge of selling concessions like hot dogs, cotton candy and popcorn, and the school competes with another school to see which can raise the most money. A teacher at the losing school gets a pie in the face.
“We have high goals and high standards,” Woodbury said. “We’re looking forward to a great year.”