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Stevens High Amplifies Student Voice Through New Leadership Council

Student Leadership Advisory Council Meets monthly to discuss the school and how to make improvements for the students.
Student Leadership Advisory Council Meets monthly to discuss the school and how to make improvements for the students.
This school year, Stevens High School has launched an innovative new Student Leadership Advisory Council (SLAC) to elevate student perspectives and ideas. Comprised of club presidents and class officers, the SLAC meets monthly with administrators to discuss school initiatives and give feedback.
“The goal was to increase student participation, give students a platform for active involvement, and enhance the broader vision for our school,” said Principal Jocelyn Hafner. “When you ask students for input, you get so many great ideas that we as administrators may never have thought of.”
The council was inspired by a professional development session Hafner attended last year on bolstering student voice in schools. She recognized Stevens could benefit from formalizing student leadership across clubs and activities. The SLAC members were invited based on their existing elected leadership roles.
So far this year, the SLAC has weighed in on issues like homecoming court voting procedures, creating a new “Raider Nation” branding campaign with themed characteristics like “respectful,” “inclusive” and “ambitious,” planning school-wide volunteer projects, evaluating food service options, and increasing intramural sports offerings. Hafner sees their work shaping both current activities and leaving a lasting legacy. “When students take ownership through their voice and leadership, it changes the entire culture,” she said. “The SLAC members are modeling that leadership daily – in classes, hallways, and their organizations.”
Drama Club President Taryn Seaholm has relished the experience of connecting with peers outside her typical circle. “It brings the clubs closer together and lets us know what’s going on at our school,” she said. “As a leader, having that broader knowledge helps me do my role better.”
Through SLAC, Seaholm advocated for recognizing outstanding students in arts and academics the same way athletes are celebrated. She also designed new modern seating areas that were implemented around campus earlier this fall. “The most memorable part was seeing my seating design ideas get implemented to make our school more welcoming,” Seaholm shared. “It’s empowering for students to have a real voice in shaping our environment.”
Both Seaholm and Hafner emphasized that elevating student perspectives has built positivity, pride, and a stronger community at Stevens. “It normalizes communicating with the adults in charge,” Seaholm noted. “Now I feel comfortable going to administrators with ideas and concerns for the drama club.”

The SLAC team will continue meeting once a month until the end of the school year, with plans for the council to remain an ongoing initiative in future years. It will evolve based on each new class of student leaders’ interests and goals. “If you give students an opportunity for feedback, they’ll take ownership as leaders,” Hafner said. “That’s been the biggest lesson – when you listen to your students, great things happen.”

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