Student Council Becomes Vic High Leadership Course

Student Council Becomes Vic High Leadership Course

2023/24 Leadership students with teachers Niki Lukat, L, and Sara Reside, R

By King Lee, VHS 1958

What used to be the Student Council has essentially morphed into an accredited course at Vic High. There is no criteria for those who want to take the course, and it happens outside the students’ regular timetable. “It typically attracts students who are ‘go-getters’,” says Vic High’s Acting Vice-Principal, Sara Reside, “and it’s quite time-consuming but very rewarding.” She and two other teachers have taken on teaching roles for this course, which has attracted 110 students this school  year. It is designed and authorized by the school district, and started in the early 2000s.

During COVID, leadership student activities were reduced, but with school life back to normal and excitement building about the move back to Vic High February 1, 2024, interest in more leadership projects has increased.

The course is built around the subjects of goal-setting, time management, public speaking, school and community service, public relations, team building and leadership style. With so many students and a three-teacher approach, the current Topaz Campus library is the only venue big enough for the class. When the students get home to Vic High on Fernwood, they will likely need to meet in the Wallace Auditorium.

Students with their We Are Vic High Leadership t-shirts serving at the annual Pancake Breakfast

Leadership students have four major assignments in the school year and also perform volunteer work at Greater Victoria marathons, The Cridge Centre for the Family, and the Victoria Foundation as part of their work assignments. In addition, they take on roles at Vic High assemblies, talent shows, the Remembrance Day program, and even student pancake breakfasts.

“The course is very time-consuming,” said Sara,  “because of the classroom and volunteer aspects, and it really stresses accountability and time flexibility.”

Sara began her teaching career in 2004 in the Sooke school district (SD 62). She taught grades 9 to 12 for two years before receiving Teachers On Call temporary contracts in the Greater Victoria school district (SD 61) at Mount Douglas, Reynolds, Esquimalt and Oak Bay. She came to Vic High in 2015, the same year as  Principal Aaron Parker, and taught English and Social Studies.

In June of this year, Principal Parker put out a call for a teacher to temporarily fill the vice principal’s position until the new appointee, currently on a school district leave of absence, arrives at Vic High. Sara applied and was selected to fill the position, joining the principal and Vice Principal Danielle Mercer on the management team.

Sara’s love of kids and teaching, and of Vic High itself, plus her enthusiasm and creativity, are a big part of why this course is so successful. Kids learn valuable life skills, and bring joy and celebration to the school population. The Alumni looks forward to working with Sara to develop some collaborative projects involving Alumni volunteers and leadership students.