My experience with student council is one that will never be forgotten. When I first heard about student council in third grade at my elementary school, I immediately signed my name on the application list. I still remember the countless number of posters, buttons, and speeches created to run for a much coveted position. I never would have thought that I would have raised thousands of dollars in conjunction with student groups and organizations. I visited school principals and staff members with the goal of collecting a schoolwide effort for a greater good. I have always been an ambitious and determined student and I knew that I could make a difference in my school and in my community.
In third grade I ran for class representative and that is where it all began.
Photo: Victoria Giardina
On January 12, 2010, several people were estranged from their families in Haiti, and they experienced the demolition of their homes in the blink of an eye. I desperately wanted to help those in need and I knew I could make a difference. Two weeks later, Hands for Haiti was organized. I began my fundraiser by presenting the news on my school’s morning announcements system. Paper “hands” were being sold for one dollar and all of the hands were being attached to the hallway walls. It was not long before a large strip of every hallway was covered with hands that were donated from faculty members as well as first, second, third, fourth, and fifth graders. Milford Brook Elementary School raised five hundred dollars and the proceeds were donated to a foundation affiliated with Haiti fundraising. Not only did I feel content with the outcome of the first fundraiser I organized, but the success that resulted gave me the motivation to keep helping more people in need.
April was one month I will never forget in my fourth grade year. On April 10, 2010 my grandmother passed away due to lung cancer. Around this time I was also learning specifically about childhood cancer and the different types of cancers that are formed specifically in children. I knew that I could not cure cancer, yet I contributed my greatest efforts to raise money for cancer research. Two hundred and thirty-five dollars was donated to Alex’s Lemonade Stand by hosting a significant community outreach event, leading to the development of my nonprofit organization Kick It Cancer (kickitcancer.org).
I continued with student council in high school as class president and the same passion and motivation ensued. Being involved in student government has evoked a change in me- a change that has allowed me to transcend a powerful and positive voice in my school and community. The experiences I have created by networking on a statewide level in New Jersey have propelled me to prioritize volunteerism. Not only have I acquired resourceful leadership skills, but also I learned to be determined and confident in the decisions I made. Be persistent and you can achieve the unthinkable.
Victoria Giardina is a 17 year old incoming senior at Manalapan High School in Manalapan, NJ. Planning to double major in broadcast journalism and political science, she hopes to pursue a career at a news network in New York City. She is the founder of the nonprofit organization Kick It Cancer, president of her class, and a former local titleholder for the Miss America Organization.