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Winning an award is difficult. That makes receiving the same award five years in a row nearly impossible, but that’s exactly what Woodland’s Student Government did. This April, the WRSG was awarded the National Gold Council of Excellence award for the fifth year in a row.
The National Gold Council of Excellence is an award designed by the National Student Council to recognize high school student councils for the work they do in their communities. The National Student Council produced a set of guidelines for high school governments by which they measure their success. The National Gold Council of Excellence (NGCOE) is proof that a council has followed these national standards to the best of their ability.
There are two levels of this award. The NGCOE is actually the higher level of the National Council of Excellence. The difference between the two lies in how much proof the administration has that they followed the national baselines.
“The NGCOE application is a rather large application which asks the organization to provide evidence of everything from basic operations to social projects to civic engagement,” says Christopher Tomlin, the advisor of Woodland’s Student Government program. “It shows that the organization meets the national baselines of what a student government should be doing.”
Applying for the NGCOE is a long, painstaking process that begins in January. Throughout the year (not the traditional school year, but the calendar year; submissions contain events from January to January), student governments can begin documenting and gathering their evidence for the award application. National guidelines require evidence of achievement in all areas, from civic involvement to community service projects. The more indicators that the council has met the guidelines, the better their chances are of getting the award. To receive the Gold level, an administration needs about 38 indicators. A packet of all the documents that show the what the government has achieved, complete with a letter of approval from the school principal, is emailed to the National Student Council for evaluation against the national standards. The application is due in February, and the results of the councils’ efforts are typically revealed in April.
“We found out about this award seven or eight years ago… Once we found it, it changed the way we looked at our organization,” Tomlin says. “Before, we had no idea if what we were doing was the right thing to do, because every student government has a separate model and all go about their business differently. The main goal is always to teach civics and civic involvement, but how the do it is so radically different.”
One of Woodland Student Government’s most prestigious awards is the NGCOE. This year, they have received the NGCOE for the fifth year in a row. Even with a few close calls, Woodland’s administration has a growing collection of bling, putting more accomplishments to their name. The award is important to Woodland because of the sense of accomplishment it provides the recipient. The National Council of Excellence is hard proof that an administration is on the right track, and it gives Woodland a sense of purpose when conducting their activities.
“The awards are nice and fun, and the certificates and banners we get to hang are awesome, but for me it has always been about being an example of what a premier organization looks like,” Tomlin expressed. “It’s the recognition that what we’re doing is the right thing.”