The pair also restructured the student council with clearly-delineated teams to run more efficiently. More specialized sub-committees were formed to address wellbeing, events, service and news. Valerie and Tien chair the council which also helps oversee and train a tutoring program that provides guidance, support and inspiration for younger students.
One of the Head Boy and Head Girl’s most important tasks is to listen to their peers, see what could be improved, and then work with faculty to make sure changes are agreed and implemented. As the inaugural students to hold the positions, they are mindful of sharing with the next Head Boy and Head Girl what works and what could be done better, such as beginning the year with a leadership introduction and training program for the student council, prefects and heads of the different departments. Tien and Valerie also had to earn the trust of their peers and establish their positions as the point of contact for students to have their voices heard.
Staying True to Your Vision
Being a Head Boy or Girl is not always an easy task. Tien mentioned, for example, a particularly challenging time that helped him recognize that decision-making can be a messy process. A new student suggested that the annual prom be free for everyone, with costs covered by various fundraising efforts. It sounded like a great, egalitarian plan, but Tien and Valerie knew that given the school’s culture and logistics, it wouldn’t be possible to raise funds that way. To maintain the trust of their peers, the pair had to say “no” in a respectful manner that ensured students would continue to see them as an effective bridge to faculty. “We always encourage students to come to us with ideas, but we have to balance them with realities,” Tien noted.