Mamma mia, here we go again: Hello, Brookswood Secondary!

An Indigenous teacher opened the assembly. I had 70 minutes. Students signed up to be at the assembly. It was exam season for them. They were attentive, quiet, and had interesting questions for me. We had a great discussion together.

I asked students: “What are three skills you need to create the future we want?”

They answered: Creativity, innovation, communication, courage, empathy, listening, problem-solving, and leadership.

Hannah and Josh, the co-presidents of the school’s student council, approached me after the assembly. They asked me how they could run their student council more effectively. I sat with them through lunch to hear their stories and to come up with a game plan until June.

I’ve been to many schools. At every school, I see glimpses of the kind of future we want. At Brookswood Secondary, I saw it in two student leaders.

Let me introduce you to Hannah and Josh.

Hannah is in grade twelve. She joined student council to help create community at her school through school spirit, school-wide activities, and by setting common school goals. She knows that, especially in a big school, it’s easy to feel isolated and feel like there’s no one there for you. She wants to fix this. She’s been through it. It’s not something she wants anyone else to feel at her school.

Josh is also in grade twelve. He is passionate and hardworking. Josh is applying to neuroscience programs for university, so he can better understand mental health. He wants Brookswood to be a more empowering space for the marginalized. He knows that high school can be a tough time, and he’s been there. He doesn’t want others to feel that, without knowing there’s a strong support base and community for them at school.

We brainstormed four priorities for student council, until June:

  1. Maintain the Council by running events that are expected by the Council;
  2. Tell an exciting story of the Council to attract others to want to join it too;
  3. Cultivate new leaders from younger grades who will continue the Council and have a longer overlap transition period; and
  4. Set the fundamental, Constitutional structures of the Council

Hannah and Josh are pictures of bold and empathetic leadership. They’re driven by a vision of changing their world, and the future of their school, to the world and future they want. Big solutions don’t always have to start at the global level. It starts with two students that have the interests of their peers at heart.

You can change your school. Change your town. Change your province. Change your country. Change your world. It all begins at home.

I wish the best to both Hanna and Josh. If you’re interested in making a difference at Brookswood, contact Hanna and Josh. They’ve got a place for you at student council.