Day School Builds Leaders Through Its Innovative Student Leadership Council

Implemented in 2019, Evansville Day School’s Student Leadership Committee, or SLC, allows for every student to have a voice in deciding the events, clubs, community service initiatives, culture, and outreach efforts of the Upper School. Now in its third year, the SLC is starting to establish itself as a cornerstone of the Upper School’s operations. SLC is structured into five committees, each with its own specific responsibilities:  Academic, Ambassador, Co-Curricular, Community Service, and School Culture. 

SLC allows every student to voice their opinion in the EDS' community. This model works effectively in a small school, like Evansville Day School, as opposed to a traditional student council model. In a traditional model, the student body elects officials to represent them, and the decisions come from the leaders. However, in SLC, ideas and decisions come from the whole student body, because every student actively participates in the government. 

In order to ensure that the students enjoy their experiences in SLC,  the teachers allow students to choose what committee best fits their interests. Want to plan events that will be enjoyable for everyone? Join the Co-Curricular Committee. Have an interest in learning or tutoring? Maybe the Academic Committee is a good fit for you. Passionate about marketing the school? Become part of the Ambassador Committee. Filled with school spirit? Share your enthusiasm through the School Culture Committee. Logan Gallagher `23 chose to join the Community Service Committee to give to others. “I love helping the community, and I was glad that I got to join this committee so that I could showcase my efforts,” said Gallagher.

Even though the decision-making comes from the student body as a whole, SLC still has a president and vice president to ensure the system works smoothly across committees. As president of the SLC, Brandon Foster `22 tours every room, making sure that each committee is doing well and staying on task. Analyzing each committee, he sees the benefits of the SLC and how it empowers students. “Every student participates, which is great because everyone has the opportunity to voice their own opinion and everyone has the chance to plan events,” Foster said. “It’s helped me understand that groups are strongest whenever they have diverse opinions with many different backgrounds, everyone can bring different opinions to the meetings.”  According to Holly Ziemer, Head of the Middle and Upper School, “Our SLC at Day School is super unique in that we have every student in the Upper School serving in the [EDS] community. This creates a sense of camaraderie while also building students’ leadership skills.”  

Shriya Naraya `23, the president of the Academic Committee, has become a stronger leader because of SLC’s opportunity to help plan, organize, and lead others. “It’s also helped me realize how much work goes into making changes, and I get the chance to work on that,” Naraya said.  Students go about the work of shaping the Upper School experience through the weekly time slot allocated in the schedule for SLC committees to meet.

In short, the work of each SLC committee allows for the students of EDS to take an active role in their high school experience while giving students a sense of accomplishment. By allowing every student to voice his opinion, SLC has created a cooperative, student-led government that helps shape leaders at Evansville Day School. In turn, these leaders gain the necessary tools, experience, and confidence to take their leadership beyond high school and impact the world in major ways.