Thursday was a stressful day for Student Council members at Durango High School.
Since 2010, the National Association of Student Councils has given the DHS council the Gold Excellence Award. On Thursday, dozens of presenters made their case that the current council should be the eighth consecutive to earn the recognition.
“I always ask the students if they want to pursue this because it is a lot of work,” said Dale Garland, the teacher adviser to the Student Council. “But I think when you see the line of classes that have done this, they feel like they’re not going to be the group that doesn’t pursue it.”
Georgia Mynatt, secretary-treasurer for the freshmen class, presented evidence that Student Council members had attended leadership sessions around the state. She discussed a leadership conference DHS students attended in Grand Junction.
“You learn from different schools,” she said. “It helps you engage in new things for fundraisers and events, and it helps build friendships with people across Colorado. We all have something in common, we’re on student councils and we keep up with each other on social media.”
The leadership conference helped students with team-building, organization, delegation of work, accountability, initiative and reflection on tasks. Mynatt said DHS adopted a practice from another school of putting “Notes of Kindness” on students’ lockers with Post-it Notes.
“It can totally make someone’s day,” she said.
Julie Popp, spokeswoman for Durango School District 9-R, said the students are judged on 86 different criteria by DHS Principal Jon Hoerl, who sends his report to the NASC for judging, which will determine if the Student Council keeps its streak alive.
Last year, Durango was one of 10 student councils in Colorado recognized with the award, and it was one of 283 councils nationwide awarded.
Jade Pruett, a freshman, presented evidence of budget reports and attendance at meetings.
“The reports show how well we did with fundraisers. It’s a way to collect ourselves and see where we’re at. Once you see your weaknesses, you can always build on them.”