Students enjoy a Hawaiian themed football game. (Image courtesy of Lily Freeman)
Northwood High School

Student council elections: becoming a leader even in unprecedented times

We are living in a transformed world and students around the globe have learned to adapt to the swiftly changing times. Northwood High School in the Irvine Unified School District has shifted to entirely online student council campaigns and elections this year. Participating in the upcoming election will support one of the few things that COVID-19 can’t take away: student’s voice. 

The student council gives students opportunities to develop leadership experience by planning school-wide activities and encouraging school spirit. By sharing interests, goals and concerns, the student council is an integral part of the school community. 

I love that I get to work with a group of people who are all as passionate as I am about the events that take place at our school,” junior Lily Freeman said.

Freeman currently holds the public relations position at Northwood High School. She enjoys engaging in pep rallies, football games, dances and other school-lead activities which encourage a common bond between students.

For some, the responsibility of harnessing the thoughts and dissatisfaction among an entire population of high schoolers may be a frightening task.

“How well fun and responsibilities can go together is what truly gives student leadership its flair,” junior Mahmoud Ali said. “It’s also these experiences that inspire students to tackle even larger challenges as they progress through life.” 

The annual election campaign at Northwood High School, which has traditionally consisted of publicizing candidates’ positions through posters, speeches and an election convention for the student forum, has shifted to an entirely online campaign. Candidates have switched to campaigning on various social media outlets through colorful graphics, music videos and of course, TikToks. 

Online campaigning has been pretty hectic this year for sure,” Freeman said. “What I like about it is that because we have so much free time, we can put a lot more effort into thinking of new and creative ways to campaign online.”

While Freeman has enjoyed the digital direction, some candidates have expressed their difficulties through virtual campaigns.

Social media has definitely blown up with campaigning, which can get stressful. I’m a much more face-to-face kind of guy, so the coronavirus has made it super tough,” sophomore Shan Syed said. 

Through all of the difficulties and advantages of shifting to an online election, the most important thing remains to be the students’ voices. While the well-being of students during the pandemic takes priority over elections, a sense of normalcy is provided through these campaigns and helps maintain a school community even in these tough times. Senior candidate Keilani Grace works to improve each student’s high school experience by planning and creating the most incredible memories.

“The thing I remember most from coming home from school events like dances, games and concerts is the rush of excitement that you get afterward that tells you it was a good night,” Grace said. “None of that would be possible without the time and effort that every student council member puts in all for the student body’s enjoyment.”