WEST CALDWELL, NJ — Student representatives from Summit, James Caldwell, West Essex, Livingston, Millburn, Nutley, Belleville, Bloomfield and Columbia High Schools participated in a Student Government Summit at James Caldwell High School (JCHS) on Thursday to discuss a variety of topics, including ways to improve school spirit, things going on in their school's student councils and more.

A handful of representatives from each of the nine schools’ student council and class cabinets exchanged ideas about how they run their student governments and how they get kids involved in it, how they fundraise, what the schools do well, what they want to do differently and how the student body can get involved in spirit weeks, dances and other student activities.

“Because there’s so many schools and each school does a different thing, it kind of completes what every school is lacking,” said Livingston High School junior Richard Kim, LHS student government treasurer. “In Livingston, for me, I thought that we were lacking in fundraising in school spirit—then you see other schools do these specific things that are really successful and it’s just eye-opening to different ideas that you never really thought of.”

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Following introductions and some icebreakers like “People Bingo” and a sock toss, the students broke into small discussion groups, where students from each school participated in conversations that included: how student council and senior classes differ in each school; ideas for building school spirit -- such as pep rallies, fundraising ideas; and philanthropic / community service ideas.

Some popular ideas included Battle of the Classes, Night of Nations, Powder Puff football, Teacher Talent Shows and Coffee Houses.

The general feedback from students was that the summit, facilitated by JCHS students, was successful in that it was thought provoking to interact with nearby students about some of the things that their schools do the same or differently and how they can be improved.

“All the principals get together for a roundtable and they really felt this would be beneficial to everybody,” said JCHS Vice Principal Jessica Valentine. “The students had great conversations about how each school does various activities throughout the year.”