It was a weekend three years in the making with 23 committee co-chairs and one adviser. The National Association of Student Councils came to …
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It was a weekend three years in the making with 23 committee
co-chairs and one adviser.
The National Association of Student Councils came to Highlands
Ranch High School.
The conference’s objective is furthering leadership skills for
1,500 council members and 500 advisers from across the United
States and Puerto Rico.
Participants were polled in various sessions to get a feel for
the needs in high schools.
One poll asked what issue represents the greatest challenge at
The responses showed that 37 percent of the delegates saw
tolerance for ethnic and gender diversity was a challenge, followed
by dropout rates at 25 percent, bullying and safety at 22 percent,
and health and nutrition at 16 percent.
Student councils are probably misunderstood by most students.
Effectively, they function as a liaison body between students and
administration, often deciding on event themes, charitable work and
providing the student view for school issues.
One poll asked each representative’s priorities for the 2009-10
Increasing student participation in council events received 42
percent of the vote. Improving service and charitable projects
netted 31 percent while regular meetings with principals and
positioning the council as more than a social activity director
both get 13 percent of the votes.
In 2006, Rashaan Davis, student council adviser, learned that
the school was selected to host the 2009 national conference.
“We talked to others who had hosted conferences and asked a lot
of questions,” Davis said. “From there, we put together a
Highlands Ranch High students attended three other national
conferences, gleaning what worked, what didn’t and what they wanted
to do in 2009.
They created the theme leadership with altitude, playing on the
elevation of the area.
The registration packet includes a warning to get hydrated and
stay hydrated during the conference.
The four days were not all spent in classrooms. Trips to Elitch
Gardens and Boulder showed the Colorado experience. Delegates held
a candle light ceremony at the University of Colorado’s Folsom
The ceremony is a tradition dating to the first conference.
Back in the Ranch, Chelsea Miller directs people to lines for
vegetarian or carnivore burritos early in the morning of June
Miller has been involved since the beginning and wonders what
the next days will bring.
“The conference went by so fast,” Miller said. “I’ve been
planning for so long that I thought these would be the longest days
of my life. I don’t know what I’ll do all summer.”
Miller, an incoming senior, oversaw designing signs and
decorations for the conference. Others handled hotel and
transportation logistics, public relations, security, registration
and a thousand other tasks.
Students from Chaparral High School in Parker also pitched
Delegates trade shirts as a matter of course, bringing several
copies of a few designs.
Davis watched as delegates flowed into the eating area.
“You never get to have that cohort of kids that long in high
school, see those children every year, every day,” Davis said.
“They have a passion for the mission. These kids know process.”
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