Inspiring Action

Aware of the unique challenges to 2020’s election process, the Student Cooperative Association (SCA) at Bayside High School in Virginia Beach, VA, wanted to help ensure all voices in their community were heard. The group organized and held a nonpartisan Virtual Voter Registration Drive to encourage student and faculty participation in local, state, and national elections. SCA officers organized information relevant to the elections, including important deadlines for mail-in ballots and in-person voter registration, into a virtual flyer complete with the link to the voter registration website for the state of Virginia. Members also promoted the 2020 Electoral Page Program, which gave students under 18 a way to volunteer in national, state, and local elections.

An Eggcellent Way to Honor Heroes

Motivated by the spirit of Veteran’s Day, NatStuCo members at Brooks Wester Middle School in Mansfield, TX, continued an annual tradition of organizing a breakfast and assembly to celebrate family members of current students who serve in the military. To help plan and decorate for the event, NaStuCo members created a committee of students, faculty, and staff, including the band and choir directors, art teachers, and students from clubs like theatre arts, AVID, and STEM Academy. Forty-seven military members were honored for their service, and students were inspired to continue saluting those who have served and sacrificed.

Guess Who is Grateful for You

As a festive way to show teachers and staff appreciation during the holiday season, student council members at Brock Junior High School in Brock, TX, created “Secret Elves Week.” The event surprised teachers and staff with daily gifts during the week leading up to holiday break, although orchestrating it started at the very beginning of the school year when student council members created and distributed a survey to faculty in order to glean information about individual interests. Tokens of appreciation were personalized based on survey results. On the final day, students revealed themselves to their gift recipient. The experience made staff feel truly valued and gave everyone a chance to foster relationships.

Uploaded and uplifting

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, an NJHS member from Fulton Science Academy in Alpharetta, GA, created a video compilation of thank-you messages from students to demonstrate appreciation for people working on the front lines. With the help of the school counselor, the NJHS member recruited students to participate in the project. After students uploaded short video clips of themselves expressing gratitude, the NJHS member compiled all of the messages of thanks into one video. The final product was integrated into the school newsletter for families of students to enjoy.

Benevolence You Can Bank On

After noticing food banks were reporting shortages nationwide due to COVID-19, NatStuCo members at Fairhill School in Dallas organized a Thanksgiving food drive to benefit a local food pantry. Members distributed collection boxes to each grade level, and the council’s public relations officers created flyers and posters to promote the project. Students also developed incentives to boost participation, including a pie raffle with entries reserved for those who met a minimum amount of donations. All these efforts allowed NatStuCo members to collect more than their original goal of 500 items and deliver 770 pounds of food to the local pantry.

The Writing’s on the Wall

NatStuCo members at Western Branch Middle School in Chesapeake, VA, took the task of improving the appearance of their school up a level when they turned facility beautification efforts into support for and a celebration of the arts. Partnering with a local artist, students conceptualized and executed a hallway redesign dedicated to music, including artwork depicting a piano keyboard painted on lockers, floating musical notes, and a caption boasting, “In our school, music matters and so do ALL Bruins!” A dedication ceremony including a ribbon-cutting commemorated the completion of the arts-integrated project.

Keep Calm and Carry Yarn

When NHS and Clothes for Kids club members at Northgate High School in Walnut Creek, CA, realized the number of homeless individuals and sick patients in their community nursing homes and ICUs increased because of the pandemic, they felt compelled to offer aid. With cold weather approaching, the students decided they could best assist those in need by knitting hats. While socially distanced, they partnered up and collectively created 50 hats to warm community members’ heads and hearts.

The Art of Appreciation

Recognizing how hard teachers had been working to give Broomfield High School students in Broomfield, CO, the best possible education despite the many changes to the learning experience caused by COVID-19, NatStuCo members were determined to express their gratitude. Members went to the school at staggered hours to draw colorful messages of thanks using sidewalk chalk outside the school atrium—so teachers could feel their appreciation while remaining socially distanced. Students also captured all of the messages in a video, which was shared on social media and in an email distributed to teachers to raise the morale of instructors who had to adapt professionally and personally in 2020.