You’re sitting in assembly and you see the High School Student Council (STUCO) presenting an event up on the stage. Then you never see them again. Do you wonder what they do, who they are, or what they are up to? 

Turns out they do a lot, and we don’t actually get to see what happens behind the scenes. As it happens, up to 50% of AISB secondary students who responded to a recent survey stated they don’t know what HS STUCO is or what they do. 

One student respondent expressed a sharp opinion that HS STUCO “doesn’t do anything and there is no point in having them,” while another claimed STUCO “used to be a much bigger deal years ago.” 

“To be honest, no idea,” stated one student, when asked about what STUCO does. “But I think they control like some of the things??? Like gardening council for gardening???”

There are, in fact, multiple councils, such as Eco Council, Sports Council, Arts Council, Outdoor Council, and so many others. However, The Bite wishes, with this article, to inform the community solely on HS STUCO and set the record straight as best as we can.

Forms response chart. Question title: How often do you see Student Council representatives in action?. Number of responses: 34 responses.
Responses to a survey sent to Secondary students asking for their views on STUCO.

So what is the HS STUCO’s Mission?

Traditionally the role of STUCO is a group of students that peers usually elect. These students work with a district school board, school administration, and even parents to plan events and work on bettering the community overall. STUCO is a way for students to learn about civic responsibility teamwork democratic process problem solving and leadership.

According to STUCO’s teacher supervisor and DP Psychology teacher Ellen Dittmar, STUCO’s biggest mission at AISB is about “student voice.”

“It’s trying to build a better AISB but doing it through the lens of student vision,” Dittmar says. “What do students want? Or how can we make students’ lives better? That kind of thing. So it’s mostly amplifying that student voice and then creating opportunities for a more fun, safe, and inclusive school that make it feel better to be a student at AISB.” 

What is a typical HS STUCO meeting like?

Every week on Wednesdays during lunch, STUCO meets in Room 403. This meeting is held to discuss upcoming events, issues with our school, and updates. 

“We have two student leaders who set the agenda and run the meeting,” Dittmar says. “Usually, we start by talking about updates from the last meetings so we usually talk about our committees,” which includes a fundraising, seasonal spirit, and wall calendar committees, among others.

Once the group has been updated on committee work, and they have not run out of time, members “will move on to planning a new initiative,” Dittmar says. 

Teacher supervisor, Ellen Dittmar, conducts a STUCO meeting in November 2023.

What are STUCO’s current projects?

As mentioned earlier, STUCO’s mission is centered on student voice and vision, so, what are they currently doing to reach their mission? 

This past fall, the council was brainstorming on how to make money. In order for them to organise events for the community they first need to have enough money to do so. The council is not funded by the school, and does not receive a budget; therefore, they need to fundraise this money themselves. 

Dittmar says the funding issue “has been a big roadblock for us because they [student members] have all these ideas of different events to run, but it’s challenging because we don’t have a budget. You have to have money to make money.”

Dittmar continues: “So one of our initiatives is to build our bank for STUCO so they could look to make bigger events. Right now, financially, it’s really difficult to do. They are also looking at things that don’t cost money.”

Most of their initiatives at the moment are smaller due to the financial problem. However some things they have done recently are: 

  • For Thanksgiving this year they had a stand where people wrote what they were grateful for.
  • In December, for Christmas festivities, they set up decorations as well as sold hot cocoa and candy canes.
  • Nearing the end of last year when the seniors were graduating STUCO gave each senior a “senior surprise” containing candy and trinkets followed by a nice note. 
HS STUCO members Darya K, Petra P, Adam F, and Eylul K selling flowers and baked goods at the HS production of Chicago (Submitted photo)

Just this year, one of STUCO’s projects has been implemented: executive roles in their council.

According to Dittmar, “We have a more structured group than we did in the past, and I think that’s been beneficial. That his helped it make it more like what the student body wants.”

HS STUCO’s impact on AISB

STUCO has two main impacts: on the community and on the student members in the council.

Community Impact:

Usually, STUCO impacts the community by providing events and fixing common problems so it makes school life better for everyone. However, currently, STUCO has not had much of a community impact. STUCO leaders acknowledge this, chalking it up to a lack of funds and all-too-rare Secondary assemblies.

“If they don’t start doing more things then there is no point in having them,” says one grade 11 student who responded to The Bite‘s survey. Based on such viewpoints, it behooves STUCO to publicize its initiatives more broadly.

Members impact:

HS STUCO often makes the most impact on the members who join and participate within the council.  

“[STUCO] allows students to have a voice and to have an impact on their community and give things whether that be social events sporting events art events advocating for something or wanting change.” 

Kate Sorrell, MYP Coordinator

Grade 9 student member Lakshya S (in the position of fundraising coordinator) expresses how STUCO has had a personal impact on him because it “helps me outside of school and teaches [him] useful skills like planning with a team of people.”

STUCO at AISB plays a crucial role in developing the school community and providing students with valuable experiences, members claim. The council puts a lot of effort into amplifying student voices organising inclusive events and addressing common issues within the school even though their efforts may not always be apparent to everyone.

This year your student STUCO representatives are:

  • Ellen Dittmar (Supervisor)
  • Larisa Shamirian (Supervisor)
  • Ilinca M (Co-Leaders)
  • Petra P (Co-Leaders)
  • Francesca B
  • Adam F
  • Lakshya S
  • Darya K
  • Sofia D
  • Zohar S
  • Eylul K
  • Alkyoni K
  • Evelyn S

Now that you know who your representatives are, what would you like to see STUCO do or improve in our school? Leave a comment below to express your view!