Student Leadership

Over the years, student leadership at Central has been demonstrated in many forms. The first evidence of a Students’ Council was in the 1930-­‐31 school year. This initial organization consisted of two students from each home form and the presidents of the different societies in the school. It formulated a Students’ Council constitution and oversaw the design of the school crest. The first President of Students’ Council that year was Bruce Lindley who later worked as the Superintendent of Business of the Halton Board of Education. Over the decades the make-­‐up of the Students’ Council varied. For example, yearbooks of the 1960s and 70s depict councils made up an Executive (President, Vice-­‐President, Secretary, Treasurer) and grade representatives or committee members. Sometimes the name varied (for example, Student Cabinet), and so did its duties. During the 1950s, a group known as the Teen Canteen had the responsibility of organizing the dances and other social events. These tasks were later taken on by the Students’ Council.

In the late 1960s two innovations at Burlington Central created additional opportunities for student leadership. In September 1967, the Prefect System was introduced. This initial group of 30 students carried out a variety of duties. Dressed in distinctive white blazers (the girls) and navy sweaters (the boys) both bearing the Prefect logo, prefects supervised the cafeteria and spare periods, guided guests around the school, assisted teachers on Parents’ Night, collected daily attendance tutored, and carried out other assorted duties. Although their responsibilities became more limited over time, the Prefects continued to serve the school into the 2000s.

With the introduction of the credit system, the concept of a home form class was no longer relevant. Up to that point, classes had often spent the greater part of the day together as a unit. With the credit system, each student was on an individual timetable. In order to foster school spirit and provide additional leadership opportunities, a house system was introduced in September 1968. All the students were divided into six houses, each one named for a sign of the Zodiac (Taurus, Aquarius, Libra, Aries, Sagittarius and Capricorn). Each house also had a logo and house colour. Throughout the year, points were awarded to each house for its participation in a variety of competitions and activities (eg. Winter Carnival, Christmas Door Decorating) and one house was designated a winner at the end of the school year for the spirit it had demonstrated throughout the year. Additional leadership opportunities were afforded because each house had an executive and class representatives. For a time, the house system had a very positive affect on school spirit.

Other opportunities for leadership were available to students who were involved in specific aspects of the co-­‐curricular life of the school. As early as 1930, there is evidence of both a Girls’ and a Boys’ Athletic Society whose executive and membership provided organization and leadership to the athletic activities in the school. These organizations were active through many decades at Central and evolved into the Athletic Council.

The Music Society and Drama Club also had executives that provided valuable leadership in the activities of those groups. After the creation of the Grade 7-­‐Graduation school, the Grade 7s and 8s continued to have their own leadership structures (including an elementary Students’ Council) and opportunities while, at the same time, being mentored by their Grade 9-­‐12 schoolmates.

More recent leadership configurations at Central include the Student Senate and Link Crew that works to provide a welcoming atmosphere and mentoring as students move into Grade 9.