StuGo’s Adventure in Prescott: Bringing Home the Prize


Last week, ACP’s Student Government, known as StuGo, traveled to Prescott, Arizona for the Arizona Association of Student Councils State Convention. A committee of students left with Mrs. Michaelson, StuGo’s teacher, on Thursday and came back Saturday with an award. The Outstanding Council of Distinction Award is the highest distinction award available and is based off of a scrapbook composed by the council’s historians. The scrapbook shows the impact a council of dedicated students have on their specific school and community.

ACP’s historians (Piper Sanchez, Brooke Betsuie, and Miranda Romero) created a fabulous scrapbook for Erie’s StuGo that took home the prize. Mrs. Britni Michaelson, ACP’s Spanish 2 teacher and StuGo advisor, was kind enough to answer some questions for us concerning Student Government and their most recent excursion.

Q: What do students do in StuGo? How does it work?

A: What don’t they do?! Haha, just kidding… but seriously. Each year toward the end of February, students go through an application process in order to become a part of Student Government. Once the process is complete and everything looks good, they are added to the StuGo class for the following school year. Before school even starts, I meet with Mr. Bickes and Ms. Osborn to plan out the events of the upcoming school year. Each quarter, members are broken into committees and given an event or activity that they are in charge of planning. I give guidance on the various events, but for the most part, the members have complete control over how they choose to execute an event. The students plan out what needs to be done, then find ways to make their plans come to fruition. After every event, we hold a reflection to discuss what was good and what could be improved. We also take into consideration (as best as we can) what the student body may or may not want to see or experience. Here is a list of things that typically fall under StuGo:
· Plan dances
· Plan and execute assemblies
· Make all courtyard posters
· Plan and execute school wide field trips
· Help during Day of the Knights and Open House if needed
· Clean up campus
· Highlight other clubs and sports teams (assemblies, spirit items, sponsored games)
· Social media – communicate what is happening at school
· Being the role model – behavior wise, expectation wise
· Plan and execute spirit days
· Address social issues within school
· Promote school and student successes
· Engage the local community
· Plan and execute (with other high schools) the CUSD student council convention (for the elementary and middle schools)
· Hold charity fundraisers
· Plan and execute teacher appreciation events
· Communicate between student body and administration
· Student ambassadors for shadow students

The majority of our class time is dedicated to the planning and preparation of what we do. There are lots of details to be figured out, people to talk to, paperwork to complete, things to make, etc. We try to do as much as we can in class so that students have time to focus on their academic and extra-curricular obligations after school. In class we also complete different leadership activities. Some of the things we have done are take the True Colors Personality test, evaluated our leadership styles, and watched various Ted talks that challenge our idea of leadership. If nothing else, my end goal as an advisor is to help students learn what they are capable of, and to push themselves out of their comfort zone to be a better hands on leader, and not just a boss.

Mrs. Michaelson holding the prize

Q: What goes on at a StuGo convention? How many students attend the convention and how long does it last?

A: The convention that we just attended (and attend on a yearly basis) is the State Convention put on by the Arizona Association of Student Councils (AASC). Each school that attends is allowed to bring up to 12 students. This year was the largest convention that has been held and had over 2000 students in attendance. The convention lasts for three days, starting in the evening on a Thursday and going until mid-day Saturday. The convention consists of three general sessions that include a keynote speaker as well as entertainment, breakout sessions where students get an opportunity to network with StuGo members from other schools, and an awards ceremony where various recognitions are made. The point of the convention is to provide an environment where students and advisors can come together and share what is going on at their schools, creative ideas, problems that need to be addressed, etc. Of course, there’s also some fun thrown in with the entertainment that is chosen (this year there was a hypnotist, a gun show, and fireworks) and a dance which takes place Friday night. The convention really is a unique opportunity for students to see the potential that they could fulfill.

Q: ACP’s StuGo won an award, the Outstanding Council of Distinction Award. What does that mean for StuGO and our school?

A: AASC has been around since 1934. In that time, they have developed a set of “best practices” for the role that they believe Student Government/Student Council should fill. These guidelines help to guide me in the various things that I have our StuGo do. The award is very prestigious within AASC. Most of the categories relate to events or activities that are held for the Student Body, community service and outreach, and leadership development. Honestly, this award is a recognition for all the things that we intentionally do throughout the school year that may not be recognized otherwise.

Believe it or not, but everything we do has intention behind it depending on what we hope to accomplish. Most of the time, our desire is help students make genuine relationships with each other and provide shared experiences that can be bonded over. We also focus on fostering school spirit and becoming involved in the ACP community. As an advisor, this award means that I am challenging my kids to do the best that they can, to learn to think outside of themselves, AND that we do that in a large variety of ways. The award itself probably doesn’t mean much to our school, but it’s what we did to get the award that has the most impact. The Student Body and ACP community often participate in the different events we hold. I guess you could say that what it means for our school is that people had an opportunity to do something together that they may not have had an opportunity to otherwise.

Q: What does a student government class need to do to win the Outstanding Council of Distinction Award? How did our StuGo qualify for it?

A: To apply for the award, a council must put together a scrapbook that showcase evidence of the various things asked for in the rubric. Of course, there is the planning and execution that goes into all the things that get showcased.

Thank you, Mrs. Michaelson, for the very detailed description of our school’s wonderful StuGo and its hardworking members. StuGo’s dedication to our school is why our school is one of the best schools in the Valley. Again, great job to all StuGo members!