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What Election Season Means At GSL

Posted on September 3rd, 2015

What Election Season Means At GSL

Dear Parents,

    Happy September! Unless you’ve been living on a deserted island, it’s virtually impossible to avoid the fact that it’s election season.  The mayoral & city council elections will be here before we know it, and the presidential primaries will begin at some point.  With no disrespect to any of you who take great joy in the pomp and circumstance of election season, I’m suffering from information overload at this point, or being more direct sound bite overload.  In the race towards the presidential primaries, it’s difficult to discern who stands for what because the focus is usually on berating opponents.  But I digress…

    Before I get into a full-scale analysis of local, state, and national elections, I’d really like to spend some time writing about the other election that is taking place this week, the one that is much more important in my small world. The 2015-16 student council elections. If you’ve spent any time on or around campus this week (or on the GSL Facebook page), you’ve surely seen some serious campaigning taking place. Candidates and campaign workers have cheerfully greeted voters at the middle school entrance with beads, buttons, cards, and candy (not to mention the Rhodes College mascot).  If you’ve walked around the middle school areas, you’ve seen impressive promotional literature created by each candidate’s public relations specialists. You are reminded that Will’s Got Skills, In JD We Trust, Lilly For Life, Reese Stands For Peace, and Caroline Will Bring The Sunshine. If you are very lucky and use your connections to get a VIP or Press Pass, you’ll hear some awesome campaign speeches tomorrow. You’ll be inspired by students who know and love GSL and want to do everything in their power to make the middle school student experience the best it can be.

    By the end of the day and all the electoral votes have been counted, we’ll have elected offices for the 8th-grade presidents (one boy, one girl), 7th-grade vice presidents (one boy, one girl) and a secretary/treasurer (an office that I’m thinking of renaming the secretary of the treasury [pending congressional approval].  You won’t have to wait around for an inauguration either.  These candidates will immediately start working, and continue working throughout the year.  There are also no losers in this election because the candidates who don’t receive the most votes will still be a part of student council as grade level representatives. Joined with representatives from 5th-grade and 6th-grade (a boy and girl from each grade), these 14 students will take on important leadership roles for the 2015-16 school year.  

    In addition to the important work of planning homecoming-themed dress days and events, working in the middle school snack bar, planning field day and the world famous GSL dance, they’ll also work on a service project and appropriate snack bar & dance proceeds towards a gift that benefits the GSL community.  In past years, this has meant helping paint the “Bullet,” putting money towards laptops, SMART boards, and 3D printers, and purchasing 21st-century classroom furniture.  Above all, it’s a busy year, and the work is real.  There are no long recesses for holidays or district fundraisers or junkets funded by lobbyists (with the exception of next week’s leadership retreat).   

    In addition to the important work that student council officers and representatives complete, student council and other leadership opportunities in middle school serve a far greater purpose. The essence of a co-ed student council at a two-year-old pre-kindergarten through 8th- grade school like GSL is the real leadership that the job requires.  Empowering students is a transformational tool, and the impact is potentially life altering. Yes, I’m convinced that opportunities to lead in Middle School can foster the development of a skill set with far-reaching positive implications.  Comprehending the meaning of Freak the Mighty, multiplying fractions, and knowing the causes of the Civil War are very important, but developing a set of “soft” skills for the future is equally important.  

   I would suggest that one of the greatest advantages of a two-year-old pre-kindergarten through 8th- grade school co-ed school is this opportunity to lead and serve as a role model at such a young age.  It doesn’t stop at student council either.  We have student leaders who serve in Thespian Society and Honor Society, who serve on the Honor Council, and who lead tours as Student Ambassadors.  It’s difficult to quantify, but the impact is real…just ask any high school in the city about the positive impact our “Lukers” are making on a daily basis, as well as the numerous leadership roles they fill each year.  While I can’t predict what the future holds for the impressive set of candidates in this year’s election, I’m optimistic that this will be the first of many leadership experiences in their lifetimes. 

Thanks so much for reading and happy election season. 

Most Sincerely,

Mike Boyer
Head of Middle School

P.S.  My name is Mike Boyer, and I approve of this message.

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