They say it’s not a popularity contest, but take it from me. Trying out to be school captain is not what most kids think it is…
They say having leadership skills should develop early. Well, I learned this lesson in 2004 when I was in Year 5. Two years earlier, my cousin spent six months as one of the vice school captains at our primary school before she and her family moved. She was nominated and elected in 2001.
I still remember the stories where the parents, particularly the mothers, would get into a catfights in trying to further their child’s chances. What made it even more cringeworthy is that one or two of the girls who made the top ten with my cousin were friends of hers.
To make matters worse, the younger brother of the girl that became one of the school captains, also ran when he was in Year 5, the year I was in Year 6. Those siblings were like the swimming stars of our school and the younger one got mentioned at assembly almost every week.
In 2004, I ran, wanting to honour my cousin’s short tenure. I didn’t make the top ten and I hadn’t expected to because there were two popular girls – who shall remain nameless – that ran and got in to absolute no one’s surprise. The race had become predictable. The girl that got school captain was a dancer while the second one who got vice captain was a brain. Both were as snobby as they came. Goes to show how accurate the stereotype that popular people get everything they want was back then.
Thinking back on it now, it felt like I was in the beginning of Suddenly 30 where the girl that would later become Jennifer Garner wanted to so desperately be popular. However unlike Jenna, I never wanted to be that type of person. Though, I always wondered what it would be like though it never appealed to me. I was an 11-year-old girl who had better things to worry about than popularity.
Almost a decade later, I didn’t even bother to run for school captain in high school. What had I given the school that I was well known for? Very little. Basically no one knew who I was and I was happy with that. It even earned me the award for least changed at the year 12 formal.
Why School Captains Shouldn’t Operate In Our Schools
Sure, being school captain means making posters and giving out buttons and kissing babies (not really that last one), but what do you really achieve? It’s rare that someone who was amongst the school captains at any school in Australia will ever become Prime Minister. However, it is NOT meant to be popularity contest though sadly it is.
If there’s one thing I learned during my time navigating this field, it’s that people will stab you in the back and suck up to you just to undermine you. Also, parents shouldn’t be getting involved the way the mothers did when I was at school. It is their child’s fight. Not theirs. If you’ve ever seen an episode of Dance Moms or have had a pushy parent who wanted you to excel at sports, academia, or preforming arts, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
God, I’m just glad my parents never got involved. It’s also too much pressure on the kids. They all want the positions but not all of them will make the cut. Before y’all abuse me in the comments, just hear me out. Yes, it might start out as fun, but what happens if you child doesn’t get in? They’ll think they’re not good enough and nobody likes them. Also, if they do choose to run, it should be on their terms. Not on their parents’ terms.
Different To Sports
I’m betting you’ve all heard of the whole “give awards to every kid even if they suck at sports” thing. Running for School Captain is a totally different ball game. A school should be run by the principal and the tasks run by the school captains should be given to teachers.
Athletes sports like long jump and discus and cross country are run with the first, second, third or the gold, silver, bronze dynamic. School Captains isn’t like this. It’s like a hierarchy where the captains are the most popular kids in the school while the vice school captains can be seen as their so-called underlings.
No child should have to feel like they’re less at something while their more popular classmates get everything. Also, because of constant campaigning, kids are being forced to choose between their friends. This happened when I was at school and it’s still happening now. Kids should just be kids and treated equally. There shouldn’t be a status quo where everyone is incorrectly labelled.