Leadership Council: Bridging the gap


A Leadership Council meeting was held last Friday, April 20th in the Large Group Instruction (LGI) room on the 2nd floor of pod B. During the meeting, students discussed the implementation of gender neutral bathrooms, Student Government and Student Senate elections, and other issues.

Josh Miller, Staff Writer

Think of State College Area High School as the United States federal government. If State High’s Student Government corresponds to the executive branch, Leadership Council is analogous to Congress.


Leadership Council is a group at State High tasked with a variety of duties. Student Government Treasurer Patrick Jones O’Brien, senior, explained that Leadership Council bridges the gap between students and the administration and serves as a policy making group. “Constitutionally, Leadership Council is intended to function as the legislature of our Student Government and the larger forum for interfacing between the student body and the administration. The current administration uses it as a consultative body and provides its members with opportunities to meet with and learn from leaders in our community and an opportunity to provide ideas and legitimacy to the Student Government,” Jones O’Brien said.


Student Government Secretary Grace Handler, senior, added to Jones O’Brien’s description. “[Leadership Council is] tasked with providing feedback on issues concerning the students and administration, and are also voting members when it comes to drafting legislation and Student Government policy,” Handler said.


Jones O’Brien also revealed that Leadership Council may have broader capabilities in the future. “There are plans in the works to turn over more power to the Leadership Council. Very soon there will be opportunities to meet and communicate directly with the School Board and Administration officials,” Jones O’Brien said.


The Student Government works intimately with the Leadership Council and each of the Student Government officers play an active role in the Council meetings. The Student Government President, Justin Korman, presides over many of the activities held during Leadership Council meetings. The Vice President (Michael Hopp), Secretary (Grace Handler), Treasurer (Patrick Jones O’Brien), and Parliamentarian (Caycee Ohl) also participate in the meetings. Additionally, social studies teacher Mr. Merritt is the Advisor while Aja Kukic-Bartoo serves as the Council Speaker.


During the most recent meeting, last Friday, April 20th, Korman announced the formation of three gender neutral bathrooms. The bathrooms will be located at the nurse’s office and in rooms C024 and C105. Among the other topics discussed were Student Senate and Student Government elections for next year. All students contemplating running for a position need to submit a nominating petition, which will be released in May. After these announcements were circulated, the meeting transitioned to an open discussion, where members of the Leadership Council posed various questions to Student Government officers, Principal Johnson, and others.


The Leadership Council generally meets around every month during the last block of a day. Guest speakers often come to meetings to discuss certain issues or their role in the community.  “So far we have primarily had public servants and entrepreneurs appear before leadership council. The guest speakers give members of leadership council a chance to see what one of the diverse paths into public service and community leadership might look like,” Jones O’Brien said.


Guest speakers represent one avenue through which Leadership Council cultivates leadership qualities in students eager to embrace a role within their school and community. “Leadership Council has provided me with an opportunity to ask the questions of the student body to the administration, which is something that is incredibly valuable to the flow of the school and keeping people happy. I have attended all of the meetings this year, and have been attentive both to our guest speakers to try to gain other leadership skills and to administration in trying to push forward what the student body desires,” junior Jackson Harper said.


Jones O’Brien described how Leadership Council prepares students for future experiences in politics, community activism, and other areas. “Leadership Council gives many of its members their first taste of public policy and connection to governance. The planning and implementation of student initiatives and the opportunity to directly question administrators gives members of Leadership Council the opportunity to practise public speaking skills and learn the ins and outs of how our school runs. Members also get the chance to meaningfully get in touch with the issues that affect our community,” Jones O’Brien said.


By introducing students to public policy and reinforcing leadership skills, Leadership Council can influence students’ future plans and career aspirations. “I would really like to pursue a Political Science degree in college and I think that the opportunity that has been provided by Leadership Council has reaffirmed my belief in helping people who need it,” Harper said.