Student voice 5 Apr 2021

Newly elected student leaders share their vision

By CIS Communications
Photograph by CIS Communications

The secondary student body has elected the new student council executive team for the 21-22 school year:

  • President: Neil V, grade 11
  • Vice-President: Kush T, grade 11
  • Secretary: Ume B, grade 10
  • Director of Communications: Evan L, grade 11

The executive team is ready to take over from the outgoing 20-21 leaders, Frank, Pari, Ruwaida and Neil, but before they get started, we had a quick chat with them. What differentiating factors helped them get elected and what are their future plans for the CIS community?

Why do you think you got elected?
Neil (president): I think I was elected because I addressed the students’ concerns they have with regards to COVID as well as the end of the school term. I believe that my experience as the director of communications on the 2020-21 executive team has given me a unique perspective to address their concerns and I hope I’ll have their full confidence as we move forward.

Kush (vice president): I've been in the student council for seven years now so students are familiar with me and have a lot of trust in me.

Ume (secretary): I’m new to the student council but I’ve been at CIS for 10 years so I have extensive knowledge on the student experience. Being new also means that I can introduce new and fresh ideas to the student council. My peers know I’m determined and passionate about making the school experience more enjoyable for both students and teachers. Thus they believe I could genuinely make a difference and work hard to achieve our shared goals.

Evan (director of communications): I’ve been with the student council for the past five years so I’m familiar with its inner workings. I believe I was specifically named as the director of communications because of my innate ability to engage and connect with students from all grades (more so than my peers) as I coach the U12 girls’ volleyball and U12 boys’ tennis teams.

What are your future plans for the CIS community?
Neil (president): I would like to see greater student engagement in the student council, as well as a more open atmosphere in the organisation. I believe that a down-to-earth approach to the council in general is the best way to integrate more voices and be more true to our purpose.

Kush: Having been in the student council for eight years now, I’ve seen what we can achieve as a team. For example, I was involved in the Valentine’s Gram event as a leader and it was a massive success. As a member of the sports committee, I noticed a trend—here are events where only 40 or so people participated and enjoyed it but in the holistic perspective, the general student body didn’t feel like it had much impact.

On the other hand, events that see more student participation are the ones that resonate most strongly with the community. In other words, successful events that involve large numbers of participants but don’t require much commitment are what drives the ‘why’ of the student council.

This is especially true during COVID times so the student council has to organise grade-wide events that limit physical engagement like Valentine’s Grams and Spirit Week. Such events are the most challenging to organise and typically require the most experienced leaders.

Now that I’ve discerned the types of events that will engage the community the most, I want to use my final year as an opportunity to host multiple large events that adhere to COVID restrictions. I’d like to be able to look back on the school year with my team where we can safely say we satisfied the ‘why’ of the student council.

Ume: My goals and aspirations for the upcoming year are to help increase student engagement. I’d like to be able to bridge the gap between students and the student council. As COVID restrictions ease, I’d like to bring back activities that were previously widely supported and successful with the student body. One way we can achieve this is to find out what kind of events students enjoy the most. We can then brainstorm how we can adapt these events so students can stay safe and yet enjoy themselves.

I hope to promote the school spirit through such events and I also want to be able to improve the communications between the wider student council and the executive team. I believe that this can help us work in an efficient manner and accomplish what we set out to achieve.

Evan: I plan to have a significantly easier way for students to get all the information on student council events, something quick and efficient that wouldn’t require posters being put up everywhere around the block. Thus, I have created a plan to utilise ManageBac to spread the word of events much easier.