Nevis senior Megan Lindow is both the Nevis Student Council president and president of the Northwest Division of Student Councils.

That organization met at Red Lake recently and planned a fall summit that will be held at Nevis School Nov. 10 involving 300 students who will be discussing issues as well as ways to promote school spirit. It is the first time Nevis has hosted the conference.

“It will be a time for all the student council from our region to share ideas, have a public speaker and talk about leadership,” Lindow said. “I’m really excited about the opportunity to participate in round table discussions with all of these other schools.”

Giving back to the community

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The regional group decided each school will hold a food drive Nov. 1-5 with donations going to each school’s local community food shelves. Anyone from the community who wants to donate can drop off food or cash donations in the high school office.

Each school in the region is also doing penny wars for a cause in their immediate area from Nov. 1 to 5.

“All of the funds we raise from our penny wars will go to the women and children’s shelter in Akeley,” Lindow said.

There is also a bit of competition going on between student councils in the region.

“We’re going to compare which school raised the most money for their community project with their penny wars,” Lindow said.

Sixth grade classes will compete with each other, with students in grades 7-12 in a separate competition.

The blood drive will be held at the school Friday, Nov. 5. Anyone interested in donating may sign up at donors.vitalant.org/dwp/portal/dwa by entering the blood drive code: NEVISMN.

Students donating must be at least 16 and will need a parental consent form signed regardless of age. These forms will be handed out at school Nov. 1.

So what are penny wars?

“Each grade will have a bucket,” Lindow said. “Basically, you put in pennies. You can sabotage other teams by putting in other coins to cancel out their pennies. If I bring in a dollar in pennies for the senior class, but my sister who’s a junior brings in a dollar in quarters and puts it in the senior bucket, that would cancel out my dollar. There is a score sheet that explains all of the rules. A dollar bill is worth 100 points. So in your class bucket you want dollar bills and pennies because all of the other change is negative. If we wanted to sabotage the sophomores we totally could. They might have the most money in their bucket but the least amount of points. Pennies and dollars are the positive points.”

When the penny wars are done, the change collected will be brought to Northwoods Bank in Nevis and the total raised donated to the ARCC Emergency Shelter.

Community members can bring change to the office and designate it for a specific grade. “Or grandparents can send money with their grandchild,” she said.

Donations to the ARCC Emergency Shelter can also be mailed to P.O. Box 28, Akeley, MN 56433.

Growing student council

Lindow said there are about 25 members currently serving on the student council. “We’re a small group doing a lot,” she said.

She said what makes the student council unique is that it is led by students. “We have advisors but for the most part we do everything ourselves,” she said. “In other groups we have a coach or a mentor telling us what to do. In student council, we call the shots and decide where our money’s going to go. We decide how we’re going to give back to the community.”

Student council is for grades 7-12. Lindow said mentoring younger students so they can step into a leadership role is an important part of the process. She admits she gets teased sometimes about how seriously she takes her leadership role.

“I’ve been asked what teenage girl wants to go sit at a school board meeting every month,” she said. “I tell them I guess I do. For a lot of high schoolers it’s not important.”

Lindow said there has been talk about starting a leadership program for the elementary or middle school.

“We’d like to get them involved in a service project in the community doing something to give back,” she said. “Working with younger kids and keeping them excited will also help us build our student council program. If you compare it to sports, our sports programs are phenomenal because kids have been playing since third or fourth grade. They play all the way through. They get to see the varsity players. Why should it be any different for the student council? Our varsity student council members should be doing just as much with young kids as the varsity basketball team does for sustainability.”

Student council also raises funds through concession stand sales at sporting events.

“The community supports us so much and we want to give back,” Lindow said.