City Government Day
Brynn Cummins, Carthage HS (MO), posted 04/07
Lunch with the Principal
In an effort to reach out to the part of their student population that just doesn't get involved in sports, clubs, or school in general, the student council at North Allegheny Intermediate School in Pittsburgh, PA, put a new twist on an old idea. Every other week, student council arranged a special "take-out" luncheon with their principal in the student activities office. They randomly handed out 30 invitations in the cafeteria the day before the lunch and provided a list of two or three topics that would be discussed at the luncheon.
"Hey, it was a free lunch and a chance to meet the principal," said Kathy Ann Coll, student activities director. "The first one had 20 students show up, and they increased in popularity when students realized that she really wanted to hear their opinions, changes could occur, and answers were accessible."
Different groups of students were given tickets and represented at these informal talks. "Because kids responded to it, this year we plan to continue the program and take it one step further," said Coll. "We hope to get some of these kids involved on principal committees to address problems, get out information, and encourage others to get involved. I know for sure this idea made a difference at my school," she said.
SGA Rewards Program
The Student Government Association (SGA) at Brunswick (Md.) HS sponsors a reward program for students who demonstrate good attendance, character, and work habits. For each term, any student who has a 3.25 grade point average, has fewer than two absences, has no discipline referrals, and participates in one activity is eligible to participate in the program. To participate, students who meet the requirements fill out an application and are invited to an after school pizza party where they each receive a prize. The prizes--either donated or purchased by the SGA--include such things as SAT fees, Homecoming tickets, and gift certificates.
Veteran's Day Assembly
A Veteran's Day assembly at Andrews (TX) HS salutes members of their community who have served in the armed forces. Veterans, widows of veterans, and their family members are invited to participate in the assembly, which features patriotic songs by the choir, performances by the school band of the national anthem and songs of each branch of the armed forces, a guest speaker, and recognition of the veterans. In addition, the school sponsors an essay contest on "What America Means to Me" with the winner receiving $50 and second place receiving $25.
In an effort to encourage participation in school activities, each student at Grand Island (NY) HS is given a laminated punch card at the beginning of the school year. Students who attend school events-drama productions, sports events, music performances, student council events, etc.-receive a punch on their card. When the card is filled it is entered into a drawing for prizes that are awarded at the end of the semester.
Recycling Renaissance Art Show
In an attempt to get teachers, students, other organizations, student council members, and the community involved in a unique and worthwhile project, the student council at Lewisville (Tex.) HS sponsored a Recycling Renaissance Art Show. Art teachers in the district were asked to create a unit in which each of their students, or a group of students from classes, could put together sculptures made with recyclable materials. A committee member contacted Texas Waste Management, the school's Environmental Club, and the National Honor Society chapter to help collect recyclable material. Texas Waste Management was also asked to pick up the recyclable projects after the show.
More than 700 students created sculptures which were displayed for the public on the day of the show from 5:30-7:00 p.m. The entry fee was one or more recyclable products. First, second, and third place prizes--obtained by soliciting donations from the community--were awarded in high school, middle level, and elementary categories.
Spirit of Southside
The National Honor Society at Southside HS in Muncie, Ind., offers a unique program to direct volunteers to appropriate organizations for service. Called Spirit of Southside (SOS) the program features a brochure in which six participating agencies are listed with contact information, a description of the agency, and a list of types of volunteer duties. Students are encouraged to volunteer 25 hours during the school year at one of the agencies.