Serving on your school's student council gives you a say in student activities and a voice with the school administration. It also looks good on college applications. However, to make it onto the student council, you'll first need to give a speech and gather votes from the other students.
Use these suggestions to help you craft a speech they'll never forget. It's important that you make sure your speech suits your school and position.
Open With a Humorous Story
Many of you probably know me best for tripping over my feet and falling face first off the stage during prom. Once I got over that embarrassment, I decided I could face you here today.
What I've Done Already
From the first day I arrived at Sample High School, I knew I wanted to become more involved. From serving on the school newspaper as the Features Editor to helping plan prom last year, I consistently spend time in leadership roles and try to make this school an even better place than it already is.
Many of you probably know me from my work with Key Club and the volunteer time I've spent at Sunnyvale Nursing Home and cleaning up our community park.
Running for the Role of _______
It probably won't surprise you that I have decided to run for student council for the role of ___________. As student council _________ (role), I will strive to continue to make improvements in the school for every student here at Sample High.
I Understand and Can Do the Job
The student council works side-by-side with the student body and the administration to ensure student events throughout the year are successful. As _______, I will ensure that you have a memorable year.
Please Vote for Me
Today, I am asking for your vote for _______. Should you elect me, I will listen to your concerns and work hard for you. Thank you.
Make the Opening Stand Out
Hello, my name is John Doe and I'm a junior. I'm not the type of student who will lead a senior prank or skip class with you, but that probably isn't what you want in a class president anyway. What I do offer is steadfastness, hard work and the ability to work with others even during difficult circumstances while still keeping a sense of humor.
Last year, when the cafeteria stopped serving the salad bar, I was able to get it reinstated by starting a petition, having many of you sign it and taking it to Principal Smith. Because we worked together, we were able to bring the salad bar back, and now it's better than ever.
During the last three years at Sample High School, I've been involved in many activities. I've played basketball, spent a short time in the school band, worked on various committees and helped tutor students after school. Last year, I was adopted into the National Honor Society and started an after school club for airplane enthusiasts that meets once a week.
What I'll Do for You
As your student council president, I vow to end all homework. Just kidding. I can't do that, but what I can do is be your voice with the school administration and work to make this the best year Sample High has ever had. I will introduce ideas for events, such as a weekly sock hop after high school basketball games and we'll work together to help the community through volunteer work and showing them just how dedicated the students at Williams are.
Ask for the Vote
I would appreciate your vote for president. If elected, I will continue to fight for the things that are important to students, no matter how big or small they might be. Let's work together to make our stamp on this community and on the world.
Vice President Speech
Instead of starting with my name and what I'm running for, at which point you'll tune me out and start looking at the smudge on your left shoe, I am going to tell you my favorite memory so far from high school. My first day at Sample High School, I had no idea how to get to my classes. This school is big, and I was lost.
On top of that, I was rushing around trying to find my class and tripped and fell flat on the floor in front of the cutest guy I'd ever seen. Not only was he nice enough to help me up, but several other students rushed to help me, got me to my classroom and made me feel better about how goofy I was.
That was the moment I fell in love with Sample High School. We all help each other and you don't find that just anywhere.
Why I'm VP Material
One of the reasons I'm running for Vice President for the student council is because I want to give back to the high school I love so much. I want to be that friendly face for new students coming in and a defender for students already here.
During the last two years, I've prepared myself to serve as Vice President by taking on extra work organizing a fan club for our football players to cheer them on when they play at home and make sure our school is represented in the stands at every away game. I've spent time as an office aid, learning about the everyday running of the school and silently taking notes on what we as students can do to improve things and how we can work with the administration.
What I'll Do as Vice President
As your Vice President, I will stand beside your president, offering support and stepping in when she is not able to be here or asks for some extra help. I'll sit on the student council and get actively involved in planning prom, graduation and homecoming. I will always be here to listen to your concerns or to help you off the floor should you fall flat on your face like I did.
Ask for Their Vote
I am asking for your vote for VP of the student council. I love this school, I want to be helpful and I want us all to build memories we'll remember and treasure forever. Now, if I can just get off this stage without falling on my face, I'll be in good shape.
Today, I want to tell you something about me that you might not know. From the time I was five years old, I've been taking guitar lessons. I don't play in a band and I don't take music classes at school, but every night when I get home, I pick up my Fender and I relieve any stress from the day by playing a few of my favorite classic rock songs.
Why You Should Elect Me
Learning to play a musical instrument takes a lot of time and stubbornness. There are times when I just wanted to quit because my fingers were raw from trying to learn a new chord or that song just didn't sound right. However, I stuck with it until I overcame the challenge and that is exactly what I'll do as your secretary. If there is an issue that needs to be solved, I won't quit until we figure out a solution. I will bring your concerns to the other council members and like learning a new chord, I will stick with that concern until we figure it out.
Ask for the Vote
I would like your vote for secretary of the student council. You never know, I may even bring my guitar to a student council meeting or two and just set it by my side as a reminder of why we need to work hard to achieve worthwhile things.
Beginning of Speech
Hello fellow students and staff,
I don't like to brag, but I'm really good at math. I know, all of you who are really good at English hate me right now. However, if it makes you feel any better, English is really hard.
The student council treasurer is in charge of keeping track of money and numbers, so this role is a perfect fit for me and I've decided to run for the position.
What I've Done
I've been a member of Jackson High's Mathletes for the last two years. In case you're not familiar with this group, we are a group of students who love math and go out and compete in events. We've won state twice in the last three years.
I also am a member of the orchestra. We perform throughout the school year and at school basketball games.
Ask for the Vote
The student council treasurer has to be good at math to keep track of all those numbers. Vote for me and I'll make sure our numbers add up. I'll also have fun doing it because I'm just crazy enough to love numbers.
Pulling from Different Samples
Another thing you can do is to pull the elements you most like from a number of different speeches. Perhaps you like the opening of one speech and the ending of another, for example. Below are some additional sample speeches to add to the selection of speeches above.
Below is an example of a funny student council speech. The young lady, Daisy Thomas, doesn't mind poking fun at her school or herself, but it's all good-natured and you can tell she cares about her school. It's a short speech but follows the format of who she is, what she's running for, what she believes in, what she will do for the school and asking for her fellow students' votes.
Making Your Speech Stand Out
While there are certain traits and promises the student body expects from every candidate's speech, they want to choose one person who stands out from the crowd. Make your speech the most memorable one in the room with these tricks and tips.
- Grab a thesaurus and look for synonyms of common words used to describe the position you're running for. When all the other secretarial candidates talk about their attention to detail, you can use words like meticulous or assiduous to sound different.
- Include visuals like props, a themed outfit, or specific hand gestures to give your speech a multidimensional feel.
- Choose a speech theme to structure your presentation like a specific social media platform, a historical event, or a particular sport. Look for a theme that relates well to your desired position.
- Invent a catchphrase that captures the spirit of your speech to keep the student body talking about it all the way to the polls.
- Tailor a famous speech to make your points by changing a few choice words and keeping the most famous lines intact.
- Add sound effects, song lyrics, or music to give the speech more life.
Make It Memorable
Whether you use one of the samples listed here or write an entirely new speech, be sure to put a personal touch on the speech. By focusing on what makes you unique, your passions and your skills, you will show confidence in front of your classmates and let them see a side of you they may not have seen before. Whether you win or lose the election, you can hold your head high and know you gave the speech your best.
Thinking about joining student council? You should be! It's a great way to make friends and gain leadership experience, especially if your interested in politics. However, it can also require a significant time commitment.
What is student council and what duties will you have as a member? How do you join? Should you join? I'll answer these questions and more below!
What Is Student Council?
Student Council, sometimes called Student Government, is the elected governing body at your high school. The group is composed entirely of students; often they have a faculty adviser.
Typically (though this may vary slightly by high school/region), each grade level has its own grade-level council (i.e. freshman student council, sophomore student council, junior student council, and senior student council). Usually, each grade-level council has their own faculty adviser. The grade-level councils typically plan and execute grade level specific programs (such as creating a class t-shirt, organizing a class fundraiser, planning the class float for the Homecoming parade, etc.).
Additionally, there is usually a school-wide student government that plans and executes programs for the entire school (such as Homecoming Week or a school-wide fundraiser). The school-wide council typically has its own faculty adviser but still gets assistance with its events from the grade-level councils.
Think of the individual grades as individual states with their own governments, but they all fall under one country (school) and one federal government (the school-wide student council). I’ve created the chart below as a visual reference of this hierarchy. Additionally, I’ve listed the typical positions available on each council.
What Do Student Council Members Do?
In this section, I’ll discuss the general responsibilities of all members. I'll then go on to discuss the duties of specific officers (President vs. Secretary, etc.).
Duties for All Members
All student government members are responsible for attending meetings (usually weekly, though the specifics will vary from school to school). If you’re on a grade-level council, you’ll likely have meetings both with your grade-level council and the school-wide council. These weekly meetings include all members of the council as well as the faculty adviser. At these weekly meetings, members brainstorm events they'd like to plan and divvy up the tasks. Occasionally (typically once or twice each school year), the grade-level student councils will hold an open meeting to allow their classmates to come and voice their concerns or suggest ideas.
As I said above, members of the grade-level councils are responsible for planning and executing grade-level specific programs (such as creating a class t-shirt or organizing Junior Prom). Members of the school-wide council plan and execute programs for the entire school (such as Homecoming Week or a school-wide fundraiser).
In addition, members of grade-specific councils are responsible for assisting the school-wide council in planning and running major school-wide events such as the Homecoming parade, Homecoming dance, and pep rallies.
Typically, senior student government members have an obligation after graduating from high school: planning your high school reunions.
What Are the Position Specific Duties?
I’ll go down the hierarchy. The duties of each position remain the same whether it’s for the freshman council or school-wide council. As I said above, every member is responsible for attending meetings and helping make school events happen. The duties listed below are the additional duties for each position.
President: Responsible for planning and running meetings (i.e. creating meeting itineraries, facilitating discussions), delegating tasks (i.e. deciding who on the council will be in charge of finding someone to design the class t-shirt, who will be responsible for finding a company to print the t-shirt), and for holding people accountable (i.e. making sure people complete their assigned tasks).
1st / 2nd Vice President: Responsible for assisting the president (i.e. running meetings in their absence, making sure people are completing assigned tasks, etc.)
Secretary: Responsible for taking notes at all meetings and emailing those notes to all council members.
Treasurer: Responsible for budgeting and managing money (i.e. collecting money when selling tickets for Homecoming, depositing that money into the proper account, keeping records).
How Can You Join Student Council?
To be in student government, you need to be elected. Elections for freshman student council typically happen at the beginning of the school year, in the fall. Elections for sophomore, junior, senior, and school-wide student councils typically happen near the end of the school year before summer vacation. You usually have to sign up to run. Make sure to talk to the front office at your school and ask how to sign up to run for student government.
If you’re trying to run for a position for the first time (i.e. you’ve never held a position on student council at your high school before, whether as a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior), I recommend first trying to run for what are considered smaller positions: treasurer or secretary. There is usually less competition for these positions, which will make it more likely that you’ll be elected. Additionally, while these positions are considered smaller, you have the same responsibility as the president or VP, to help plan and execute great events.
If you hope to be class president someday, you can prove yourself in a smaller position and then run for bigger positions in future elections. I started as my freshman treasurer, then became sophomore VP, then junior class president, and I became Student Government President my senior year. No matter what position you run for, how you campaign is important. You only need one tip to win your campaign...
The Most Important Campaign Tip: Make Sure People Know (and Trust) You!
Plain and simple, you will not win your campaign if only ten people know who you are. You will also likely not win if your entire grade knows you, but only as the person failing all of your classes or the person who doesn’t take anything seriously (aka class clown). To win the campaign, you need to make sure people know you and trust you.
How do you get people to know you? If your school allows it, make posters, stickers, pencils, etc. with your name on it. The size of the posters doesn’t matter, but the quantity does. It’s better to print 50 posters on printer paper than to make 10 on fancy posterboard. You want people to see your name so that they can talk to their friends about you and try to figure out who you are before election day.
Next, start to develop your campaign platform or main focus. Why do you want to be on student council? Do you want to improve school dances? Do you want to have a wider variety of school lunch options? Create a class field trip? Start a fundraiser? Having a focused platform will help you seem trustworthy and will help you stay motivated.
Now you have to spread your message. During your lunch period, you should not be sitting down; instead, walk around the cafeteria or campus. Introduce yourself! Hand out pencils and stickers. Talking to people is your best weapon. Tell them about yourself and why you want to be part of student government. Ask them what events they’d like to see planned this year or what ideas they have. However, you don't want to annoy other students (if you do, you definitely won't get elected), so try to cap yourself at 2-3 minutes of chatting, and then move on to another group.
How do you get people to trust you? This is a more difficult task. Talking to people and asking about their ideas will help build some trust. To continue to build trust, you need to show your competence in the classroom. Make sure you’re known as the person who does all of their homework, gets good grades, engages in class discussions, etc. Don’t be known as the person who is always late to class or on their cell phone.
How to Ace Your Campaign Speech
Some schools allow campaign speeches (mine didn't!). Speeches provide you with another opportunity to show that you're trustworthy. Here are my bullet points for a good campaign speech:
- Introduce yourself (It may seem obvious, but it will help students who may not know you).
- “Hi, I’m John Doe, and I’m running for sophomore class secretary.”
- “I'm an excellent note-taker. I served as drama club secretary.”
- “I want to plan a class trip to Disney.”
- “I will raise the money for the class trip by hosting a school-wide hot dog eating contest.”
- “Remember, vote for John Doe for sophomore class secretary.”
These should be the main points you hit, but also try to inject some humor into your speech to make it more entertaining. Your speech should NOT be too long (I’d recommend 2-3 minutes maximum). Make it brief or you’ll lose your audience.
What Are the Benefits of Joining Student Council?
By joining the student government, you’re able to influence your high school. You can start new events and fundraisers. For example, as student government president, I started a donation drive to collect used prom dresses for a non-profit called Becca’s Closet. If there are things that bother you about your school that you'd like to improve, student council gives you an opportunity to do so. If you hated the Homecoming dance last year, you can plan a better event. Instead of having the Homecoming dance in your gym, you can move it to a hotel ballroom. If you dislike school lunches, you can try to change the menu.
Student government also gives you a great leadership experience to discuss on your college application. Colleges like to see leadership experience and involvement on your resume. It shows that you can get involved in your school and improve things, which makes colleges think that hopefully you would do the same at their school.
Be aware that there are potential drawbacks to joining student council. You might get blamed or criticized if people don’t enjoy your events. Nothing is worse than the class t-shirt. Someone is always unhappy and doesn’t like the design.
People get this upset, SERIOUSLY.
Should You Join Student Council?
If you’re truly interested in planning school events and organizing fundraisers, then YES! If you’re just looking for another activity on your resume, then NO! Colleges aren’t looking for students with a laundry list of activities on their resume. Colleges are looking for students who do one thing and who do it VERY well. For more on this, read our article, How to Get Into Harvard and the Ivy League, by a Harvard Alum.
If you love the idea of improving your school, then make student council your main extracurricular. Don’t be a mediocre student government member! To be an effective member of student council, make sure you have the time to commit to it. You'll want to have at least five hours per week to dedicate to student council. Plan on one hour for meetings and four hours for event planning or executing events. Be on time to meetings and events. Show up to meetings with ideas for events. Take charge of event planning. Try to plan the best events your school has ever had. Plan new amazing fundraisers! Try to make real positive changes at your school!
Interested in learning about other great extracurricular opportunities? Learn more about job shadowing, community service, and volunteer abroad programs.
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