Doing What’s Best for Kids

FMPSD Giving Back: Westwood’s Student Council

Posted on: General News

(Fort McMurray, AB - December 8th, 2023)

Please introduce yourself.

“Hi, my name is Aditya Gupta, and I’m the Treasurer of the Westwood Student Council.”

“Hi, my name is Brianna House, the current Student Council President, and we’re both Grade 12 students from Westwood Community High School.”

Tell me about the initiative the student council organizes and implements.

“To be honest, we have many.” - Aditya

“Student Council aims to highlight students and their identities through various activities. To accomplish this goal, we donate to other student unions at Westwood and try to create an incredibly inclusive student body. Our annual Halloween event, an event that ran for both junior high and high school students, allowed students to interact with their peers and also contribute to good charitable causes.” - Brianna

“We raised $1700 for Stepping Stones from that event alone! We never run for profit - everything we do is to uplift others in the school and local communities.” - Aditya

You mentioned raising funds for charitable causes. Can you tell me more about charitable initiatives the Westwood Student Council has collected for? 

“As previously mentioned, Midnight Madness - our Halloween event - is a massive annual donation event for us, but that doesn’t take away 600lbs of food donations towards the YMM Food Bank for all of our other seasonal events.” - Aditya

“Besides the seasonal events (Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Spirit Days), we help with our student unions’ fundraisers and projects. An example of this would be when a Hindu student union recently asked us for monetary donations, so we helped kickstart various ways of collecting donations for them.” - Brianna

Student Council has been a constant student voice in schools, but yours is slightly different in that you have successfully raised funds in previously unexplored ways. What happens to these initiatives when you both graduate?

“To be honest with you, this started from our Chief Director, Mr. Bowie, who promoted various ways of promoting diversity and inclusion. One of the ways we wanted to do that was by highlighting different events throughout the year. Our various cultural recognition and promotional boards around the school were the precursor for our events; we want to show students that all events, identities and cultures matter and will be represented. In the past, there were alot of events and activities that others had tried to host but couldn’t because of lack of support - this is a way for us to promote the education and value of everything but also promote our students.” - Brianna

What have been the long-lasting effects on the student body from these events?

“Bringing everyone together is one of our strongest and proudest accomplishments as a Council. We are fortunate to have a supportive student body that is incredibly generous for goals and causes we raise charitable money towards. I don’t wanna reminisce about COVID, but the Student Council helped during those times to make sure everyone was cared for and appreciated.” - Aditya

“After COVID was great because in-person events and redefining what we could and couldn’t do after COVID was a big step to garner more engagement with students. Diversity and Inclusion stem from the engagement piece since it allows students to participate in initiatives they otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to support good causes simultaneously! Students can better themselves and expand their cultural knowledge through Student Council.” - Brianna

What are some future events you have planned? 

“We look forward to the annual events we host, with our nearest events being winter food drives. We are collaborating with the Fort McMurray SPCA and various local causes that we can’t wait to promote to the school community!” - Brianna

Any final comments?

“I feel like being on the student council has allowed me to give back and create impactful events that affect all our students, from Grade 7 new students to my Grade 12 peers. Our inclusive events haven’t just made an impact on others but myself as well - I feel like I’ve grown as a result of the incredible opportunities at Westwood.” - Aditya

“Student Council has always been shaped by the simple mantra of ‘for students by students’, but I think that idea especially was ingrained into our minds since we constantly are learning and exploring ways to give back to our community and foster meaningful connections with the student body rather than being an extension. It helps individuals grow as a person; I’ve been on the Student Council for six years, and it’s assisted in developing confidence in myself through workshops and leadership programs that we successfully brought to other students in Westwood as well.” - Brianna

“I love giving back to anyone and everyone, and the Student Council allows me to do that. To date, we’ve been able to donate over $15,000 over three years since I’ve been a part of it.” - Aditya

“I think my favourite part about being a part of the Student Council is knowing that the legacy we are creating for ourselves and leaving behind will eventually be picked up by and further expanded upon by students who are feeling our impact today. I started in Grade 7, and I can rest easy knowing that future Council presidents will help to benefit many more great causes.” - Brianna

For additional information, contact:

Momin Syed                                                           
Communications Coordinator
Fort McMurray Public School Division