When I spoke with Joshua Cohen, Principal at Buchanan Verplanck Elementary, he boasted about his 5th grade Student Council Presidents. They are Fiona McGovern and Hannah Stout. He said, "I love the student initiative and leadership in our school as exemplified by Fiona and Hannah."
Fiona McGovern, an unassuming but vibrant singer, tumble addict and basketball chick isn't overwhelmed at all with her Student Council responsibilities or homework. The daughter of an engineer, Fiona is thinking that she may want to be a teacher or start her own business. With a lot of fresh ideas and guidance by teachers like Mrs. McConville, she along with her Co-President, run the Student Government meetings on their own. They tackle tough subjects like bullying and recycling.
Her Co-President, Hannah Stout, a tae kwon do black belt and soccer fanatic is an avid reader that sometimes can't put a book down. The daughter of two history teachers says that she may want to be a lawyer but one thing is for sure, she could "go on forever about (my) list of favorite books".
Together this duo has cranked out many plans and ideas to raise money for the PTA to pay for student participation in programs like Ashokan:
- Collecting and recycling bottles at the local A&P
- Hot Pretzel Day (I am so there! Already marked my calendar!)
- Smoothie Day in the spring.
They both really liked the idea of Student Council because it brings a group of students together to "make a difference through compromise". One of the first things that Mrs. McConville said when setting up for this school year was that this is not meant to be a "popularity contest" but a real responsibility. The students couldn't sign up if they had missed homework more than 3 times. They had to prepare and present a speech and essay about what the Student Council means to them and how they saw fit to make improvements and bring new ideas to the table.
I think everyone is in agreement that these students are putting in their hard work and the new programs have already seen the fruits of their labor. Smart and humble, these students like all of us and can feel pressure too. Hannah says that when she does get stressed out or overwhelmed, she can always read a book or play a computer game to soothe herself. She also says that attending the Mother Connection after school program helps to keep her on track with her homework. I was so graced to have met with them both last week.
I can't wait to see and hear more of their fresh ideas and improvements to an already fabulous school!