Little leaders

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BS_school_pix_2Blessed Sacrament Student Council shows faith in future leaders

By Caroline K. Reff
SUN contributing writer

Sixth grader Eric Fernandez admits he “pestered” his principal, Andrea Polcaro, to form a Student Council at Blessed Sacrament School. He even attended a PTA meeting last year to further plead his case. A true leader, his commitment paid off, and this fall Fernandez secured a spot on the Eastwood elementary school’s first Student Council.

“It’s a great idea for students to be involved in the life of the school,” said Polcaro of the decision to move forward with the Student Council. “We hope our students will help to develop a more caring atmosphere and opportunities for service to others.”

Students in grades three through six were encouraged to apply for positions on the council. Each submitted an essay entitled “Why Do I Want to Serve?” and Polcaro worked with faculty advisors Lisa Macomber and Sheila Corbishley to select one class representative in third through fifth grade and two in sixth.

“It was difficult to pare down the students, as they were all highly qualified,” she explained. “We were looking for students with leadership qualities because we want Student Council to help form future leaders. These days, everyone wants to be a worker bee, and no one wants to take charge. We need leaders, and this is a great way for students to develop those skills.”

After the representatives were selected, the Student Council began to meet twice a month after school. One of the group’s first actions was establishing suggestions boxes in every classroom to keep up with the student body’s concerns and ideas. Soon, the boxes were stuffed with all kinds of ideas – from more bake sales and board games to a host of social activities and community service projects. One student even suggested a hot tub!
“We had a discussion about ‘realistic suggestions,’” said Polcaro of one of the early council meetings. “Overall, we received some really delightful suggestions. And, while not every one is possible, we try to make the students understand why, for example, we can’t lower the price of milk or why some policies must remain in place for their own good.”

The council members have responded well to their new roles. “It’s cool to be a leader,” said sixth grader Jennifer Carbacio. “We get suggestions and talk in front of our class. It’s good practice for us.”

One of the most popular suggestions that came from the council was doing more to help the poor in the community. The Student Council suggested that all 321 Blessed Sacrament students in pre-K through six make a special effort to feed the poor during Catholic Schools Week (Jan. 27-Feb. 2). So, the week was kicked off with every student taking part in preparing 200 lunches for those at the Rescue Mission. The younger children decorated paper lunch bags and wrote cheerful notes, while the older children prepared cookies and freshly made sandwiches.
“We’re trying to help in ways that kids can help,” said Student Council member Rocky Garofalo.

“Some people aren’t as fortunate,” said Erinn Grover, also a member of the council. “We’re trying to make things better.”
These school leaders are, in fact, making things better — for the student body and their community. Polcaro knows their hard work will lead to further improvements and changes during the rest of the school year.

“It’s been a great experience so far,” she said. It’s a connection to the idea of service to parish, to community and from student to student. The more opportunities we have to live our faith help us build future volunteers and prepare future leaders.”

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