School captain: What, why and how

Running for school captainRoving reporter Henry shares what he learned from his successful campaign to become School Captain at his secondary college.

In 2009 I successfully ran for school captain in 2009 at Castlemaine Secondary College in Central Victoria. In this article I will explain what the job involves, why I wanted it and also how I went about running for captain.

What's a school captain?

Our school has two school captains, one male and one female student from year 12. The school captain position involves being a voice for the students and a face for the college.

As male school captain, my task is to represent the student population at meetings of the school council. There I get to voice the needs, concerns or issues of the young people at our school. These meetings are held monthly and are a way of improving the college.

This aspect of the role is probably the most important. This is because for a lot of students, school can be a real chore, especially in the later years. So anything I can do as school captain to make the experience more bearable is very significant.

The second half of the job is to represent Castlemaine Secondary College at assemblies, local community events and awards nights. The purpose of this task is to present the college and its students in a positive light to our region.

However, my purpose as school captain is also to be a role model for the younger years and a leader for the older years. This is an extremely important job and the one which places the greatest responsibility upon me.

Why run for school captain?

Year 12 is obviously a very difficult time at school with masses of pressure placed on students to achieve a decent ENTER. So why increase the strain by adding the responsibility and commitment of school captain?

Although this is a very valid point, being school captain also has its benefits.

It is a great thing to have on a resumé, as it shows a certain level of leadership and responsibility, which is an important factor in getting a job in the future.

A lease on a house is a very difficult thing for a young person to obtain because we are seen as reckless, irresponsible and incapable of taking care of things. However, if a landlord sees that a prospective tenant has held a position of responsibility such as school captain, they will be more likely to give them the lease. So this is a valuable asset to have when moving out of home.

Being school captain also provides invaluable experience if you are looking at a future career in politics or other public office. It also improves your public speaking skills, which helps to deal with one of the most common fears people have: getting up to speak in front of lots of people.

How did I become captain?

The first step to becoming school captain was to be elected onto the Student Representative Council, or SRC. This involved making a speech to the entire year 12 level about why they should elect me. The entire year then voted and six year 12s became SRC members.

I overcame this hurdle and became part of the SRC. The next stage was to make a speech to the entire school at the beginning of the school year. This was a pretty nerve-racking experience and I was shaking like a leaf as I stood up and spoke in front of about 500 people. Elections were then held among the students and the male and female candidates who receive the most votes became the two school captains.

In my speech I explained why I believe I am the best person for the job and the qualities I have that make this so. Also, I spoke about what improvements I aim to make at the school, much like a political candidate would.

Although I was nervous about my speech, I was happy with how it went and I am very proud to be school captain. I am very much looking forward to representing the students and I would love to be able to make changes to our school. Especially a much-needed improvement to our lacklustre canteen food, which I think is a general complaint in many schools.

So, although it will without a doubt add some strain to the final year at school, the future benefits will surely outweigh the extra load and I am already enjoying the responsibility.

I strongly recommend running for school captain if you have the opportunity. It is an exciting and educational experience whether or not you are elected, and if you are, it will open up many possibilities to you.

For more articles on community and activism, check out our Articles archive. For more tips on getting politically active, check out our  Do-it-Yourself Democracy section.


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