This year, for the first time in Rashi history, our Student Council has been recognized by the National Student Council for its excellence. This well-deserved award was earned after hours of work, collaboration, and intense documentation of their efforts.
“I almost cried when we got the award, because I know how much work we put into it,” said Grade 8 student Natalie. “Just hearing how we were selected for this award, I didn’t even have a word for it, I was speechless.”
The Rashi Student Council is made up of middle school students from grades 6-8. In its early days, student government was limited to two participants per grade, narrowing the visibility of student perspectives and voices. Now, the council is open to anyone, at any time, that wants a chance to be heard, while maintaining a core group of leading members.
“It gave me a good sense of Rashi’s Middle School, and did a good job of helping me get to know my classmates when I first came into sixth grade,” said Grade 8 student Ben.
“Joining as someone who has been at Rashi since kindergarten, this was a big change. It helped me find ways for my voice to be heard,” added Grade 6 student Yael.
The role of the Student Council is one of responsibility and teamwork, qualities the students take to heart. “It gives you a sense of what it’s like to be outside in the real world. There are a lot of decisions you have to make that you’ll have to make later on in life,” said Grade 7 student Sophie. Their work ranges from making phone calls, to organizing events, to working closely with faculty to advance the Rashi experience. The students expressed that the school would be less lively without an involved student government, and though some were initially scared to take on larger roles in their school-lives, they have all witnessed the impact. Students said that they not only represent the Middle School, but Rashi as a whole. And that inclusion of the larger community is what makes their work so special.
“I think it’s a great experience to really work together, and for the students to work with the teachers to make Rashi the best it can be and help each other out,” said Grade 6 student Davey.
The Student Council also represents Rashi on a broader scale. Students have had opportunities to speak with the larger Jewish community, leaving their footprint in the world as they find their voices as global Jewish citizens. “We had a meeting with Anti Defamation League (ADL) about antisemitism, which included Rashi faculty, parents, and NewBridge residents. That was really important, to see our message being brought together by others,” they said. Middle School Dean of Students Joni Fishman also noted that the connection between the Rashi Student Council and the larger Jewish community is one that she sees often.
With the excellence award secured, the Student Council team is thinking about next year’s goals. Currently, they have their sights set on earning the National and Student Council of Excellence Gold Award. They made it clear that their work is never done, and that they are always growing, both as individuals and a group. We are incredibly proud of all their hard work, and cannot wait to see what they have in store for the future.