Students talk about successes at North Branch middle school

Julia Van Dyke told the board that students at the middle school can have their voices heard on the student council.  Photos by Derrick Knutson
Julia Van Dyke told the board that students at the middle school can have their voices heard on the student council.
Photos by Derrick Knutson

North Branch Area Middle School students Julia and Hannah Van Dyke did something Feb. 9 that more than a few adults have difficulty with: They got up in front of a crowd and gave a presentation, without missing a beat.
The students were introduced to the NBAPS School Board that evening by Middle School Principal Todd Tetzlaff, and then they dove right into the activities of the middle school student council, of which they are both a part.
The sisters talked for a bit about some of the activities of the student council, and then they highlighted an event the middle school tried for the first time in October 2016.
“Unity Day was one of our first big things that we did in the student council,” sixth-grader Hannah said. “It was where all students in every grade signed a pledge, and then they walked around the walking path that our school has, and some students actually chose to celebrate in a cloud of corn starch. We gave all of the money that we raised from those packets to an anti-bullying program.”
Eighth-grader Julia said the student council was a little unsure of how the event would go, but they were pleased with the results.
“It was a ton of fun,” she said. “We didn’t know if the whole color cloud and all of the grade levels participating in it would work, but it really did.”

Hannah Van Dyke speaks to the NBAPS School Board Feb. 9 about the activities of the NBAMS Student Council. Photos by Derrick Knutson
Hannah Van Dyke speaks to the NBAPS School Board Feb. 9 about the activities of the NBAMS Student Council. Photos by Derrick Knutson

Julia also noted that the fifth-grade students on the council have gotten really involved in the organization this year through an initiative that they put together called “shout-outs,” where students are able to give other students anonymous compliments when they see them doing something kind.
Toward the end of their presentation to the School Board, Hannah talked about the student council’s “Souper Bowl” project, which was a food drive that collected 1,217 pounds of food, including some canned soup.
Julia said student council has been a positive organization for the students involved in it and for those it has impacted.
“If they (students) don’t think their voice is heard throughout school, they can have it heard in student council,” she said. “Some of the things we’ve learned have been leadership skills, compromising and working together.”
School Board Vice Chairman Tim MacMillan lauded the Van Dyke girls for all of their hard work on the student council.
“I just want to thank you for your work on student council,” he said. “It just sounds like you guys have done a tremendous job, so nice job.”

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