The School Zone: News


One high school student group did not let a pandemic suppress state success.

The student council at Stratford High School was able to earn recognition as a Texas Association of Student Councils (TASC) Sweepstakes Council, a top level award for a high school council.

By late April, when the award was announced, only 263 student councils across Texas had met Sweepstakes-level requirements for the 2019-2020 school year.

"Being recognized by TASC is an award, we as a group of officers, will always cherish for the school and Class of 2020," said Katherine Whelen, Stratford’s student council president.

"Receiving this award was such an honor and a great accomplishment. Especially with everything that the Class of 2020 has had to deal with, we are honored to be recognized for our achievements from the year,” said Mary Jackson, SHS student council advisor.

“Our Student Council dedicates our time and services to better our school, school district and community," she also said.

A Sweepstakes Council must first earn full recognition as an Outstanding Student Council by TASC through documentation of its organization, specific projects and participation in association programs. An administrator evaluation is required for outstanding council status.

The student council executive board worked on and submitted required reports. The executive board includes: Katherine Whelen, president; Connor Padron, vice-president; Caroline Harper, secretary; Maddie Dawson, treasurer; Ola Hamdi, parliamentarian; Taylor Yun, philanthropy; Bea Jeon, student relations; and Jacob Kim, public relations.

Stratford executive board committee chairs were each directly responsible for the submission of five separate, lengthy reports on projects and involvement before regular classes were suspended in mid-March. Reports were submitted in several areas: Pride and Patriotism, Van Heitman; Energy and Environment, Ethan Kwon; Philanthropy, Kylie Spurlock; and DASH (drugs, alcohol, safety and health), Hope Sage.

Advisor Mary Jackson said that students worked extremely hard all year and then had a monumental task of filling out multiple forms for each of the five separate categories. In addition, the council submitted school and community service accomplishments.

“It takes passion, dedication, purpose, planning and hard work to achieve [this award],” the TASC stated to the student council in its award statement. “Only an exceptional student council earns this honor, and you set the bar to which other councils should aspire.

The student council’s assistant advisor was Lauren Yonkin.