The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

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The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

The Standard

Council presidents consider impacts of leadership roles on school community

Inez Stephenson
Student Council members discuss at their weekly meeting Nov 9. Leaders of the High School’s councils reflected on the impacts of their organizations on the larger school community and the skills required for them to succeed.

Leaders of the High School councils have spent a couple of months in their recently appointed roles this school year. Now, presidents reflect on their responsibilities and the skills they need to lead successfully.

Student Council

Student Council President Marcus Chae (’24) said the council’s purpose is to organize spirit events and brainstorm potential school improvements.

“The Student Council is made up of elected representatives from different year groups who meet to discuss school issues, plan events and provide feedback to school leaders,” Chae said. 

For Vice President Ela Gulener (’24), her leadership position gives her the opportunity to represent classmates and support the community to the best of her ability.

“It was vital to ensure clear communication between the teachers and the student body and to voice my classmates and everyone else’s in the High School,” Gulener said. “Hopefully, with this role, I will make sure that everyone’s voices are heard.”

In addition, Gulener said creativity is essential for maintaining productivity in the council. 

“Coming up with new innovative ideas is important because we are constantly looking for new ways to help improve and support the school,” Gulener said.

Chae said further skills needed for the council’s success include communication and problem-solving.

“You have to be able to reach out to teachers and administrators to make sure that you’re trying to interact with as many students and faculty as you can,” Chae said. “The Student Council aim[s] to do what is best for the school.”

Chae said his role entails spending his spare time discussing changes that need to take place with the school administration to ensure action is taken.


Social Justice Council

Social Justice Council Co-President Jemma Granite (’25) said the council aims to raise awareness of injustice and conflicts happening around the world, whilst celebrating all cultures and individualities. 

“The Social Justice Council strives to create a school atmosphere where everyone can freely express their views while respecting the identities and backgrounds of their peers through action and education,” Granite said. 

Granite said her leadership role has allowed her to promote discourse on global topics, benefiting both members in the SJC and the wider school community. 

“I love helping to foster discussion and passion in the council and to make sure that everyone feels like their opinions matter and are acknowledged,” Granite said. “I also enjoy aiding the council to make our community more aware of the social and political issues that are going on within our society and trying to make change happen.”

Furthermore, Granite said due to the intensive time commitment required, she must use both enthusiasm and perseverance to be a successful leader. 

“You need to be committed, but also passionate about the council and its goals because, as a president, I spend a lot of time doing work for the council,” Granite said. 


Community Action Council

Community Action Council Co-President Layla Khatiblou (’25) said meetings consist of discussing innovative ways to help the community and people in need. 

Moreover, Khatiblou said she found interest in the opportunity to make a difference to underserved people through executing service activities.  

“I really like how the council helps to support everyone in the community, no matter who they are,” Khatiblou said. “It’s great how the council leads and organizes a variety of community volunteering activities to help so many different people and their different needs and circumstances.”

Furthermore, Khatiblou said there are specific skills a president must demonstrate, although they vary depending on the council that the student represents.

Khatiblou said CAC leadership in particular requires delegation and organization as she must be comfortable with assigning roles and responsibilities to members.

“It is essential to be able to communicate effectively and efficiently with others and members of the council because I have to make sure that everyone understands their assignments,” Khatiblou said. 

Ultimately, Khatiblou said she cherishes her leadership role and the opportunities it brings. 

“Leading and creating a big group of people who can make a change, love working together and have fun is an honor,” Khatiblou said.


Sustainability Council

Sustainability Council Co-President Olivia Ford (’24) said the council aims to spread awareness of relevant climate crises and discuss possible changes it can implement in coordination with the administration. 

Ford said her motivation behind the council’s work stems from the opportunity to inspire others to take action under a shared passion. 

“The school can do so much more than it is already doing for sustainability, and I want to make sure that happens,” Ford said. 

Moreover, Ford said in order to build a comfortable environment with council members, “being compassionate is vital,” even when mistakes are made. 

Ford said the council is organized in a way designed to tackle different sustainability issues in the community. 

“We split the council up into a couple sections, for example, sustainable energy, food waste, et cetera,” Ford said. “This allows people who are specifically passionate about a certain area of sustainability to explore and express their passion.”


Student Faculty Advocacy Board

Student Faculty Advocacy Board Co-President Jason Papadopoulos (’24) said the organization’s purpose is to provide recommendations to the school administration when a student has broken the Code of Conduct.

Papadopoulos said he organizes weekly SFAB meetings and leads the voting process for student recommendations.

“We have to try to keep everyone on track and ask the right questions that will make the conversation productive,” Papadopoulos said. 

Additionally, Papadopolous said he was inspired to join the council by the possibility of improving significant school issues involving the student body. 

In order to successfully fulfill his role, Papadopolous said he has to be thoughtful when expressing the SFAB’s verdict to the school administration. 

“You have to be quite good at talking to one teacher because we have to speak to Dr. Wallace and convince him of our recommendations of what should happen to the people we judge,” Papadopoulos said. “We don’t argue, but we have to be well-spoken and articulate.”


Student Teacher Advisory Council

Co-President of the Student Teacher Advisory Council Saoirse Burlingame (’24) said she must be collaborative and thorough in conveying her ideas for the future of the advisory program.

“Clear communication and collaboration are vital, especially for my role because so much of what we do is based around getting feedback from people,” Burlingame said. “There are also many people on the council, so it’s a lot of voices and ideas you need to coordinate and bring together.”

Burlingame said she appreciates the opportunity to participate on the council so she can ensure all High School students encounter the same positive environment in advisory as she did. 

“Advisory has been enjoyable and memorable for me throughout high school,” Burlingame said. “Advisory is a place where I feel welcome, and it feels like a small family within the ASL community. I want to make sure everyone has the same experience.”

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About the Contributors
Ailish Herrmann, Media Team
Ailish Herrmann ('26) is a member of the Media Team of The Standard in Advanced Journalism.
Inez Stephenson, Media Team
Inez Stephenson ('26) is a member of the Media Team of The Standard in Advanced Journalism.

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