YHS Student Council wins Gold


By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

They did it again.

The Yukon High School Student Council has continued its long-standing tradition by being named a 2023 National Gold Council of Excellence.

“This is our 17th year of recognition,” YHS Student Council advisor Darryl Andrews said. “We applied for it in February and were awarded in April. It’s all based off the calendar year 2022.

“I am so proud of these kids for the accomplishment and for all the positive differences they have made in their school and community.”

Winning the National Gold Council of Excellence Award is testament to the highest standards of quality that the YHS Student Council consistently demonstrates in its operations, and its projects and activities.

“This award recognizes student councils across the nation that have been involved at the local, state and national levels,” Andrews said. “It’s based on service, leadership activities and trainings.”

The National Student Council (NatStuCo) honored Yukon’s Student Council for its exemplary record of leadership, service and activities that improve the school and community.

YHS StuCo members annually participate in a wide range of activities and programs including MILL (Millers Improving Local Lives) Week, Czech Day parade, Random Acts of Kindness, blood drives, leadership trainings, float trip, service projects, student exchanges, pep assemblies, and conventions.

“Exceptional student councils are a hallmark of exceptional schools,” said Ronn Nozoe, CEO of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). “The Yukon High School council has taken student leadership to the next level, creating a culture promoting scholarship and citizenship that resonates far beyond their team.”

NASSP is the NatStuCo program’s parent organization.

A student council must meet a variety of criteria to earn the National Council of Excellence Award.

In addition to basic requirements such as a written constitution, regular meetings and a democratic election process, the councils must have demonstrated successful sponsorship and participation in activities such as leadership development and service to the school and community.

For the 2022-23 school year, the YHS Student Council had 97 members with 28 of them comprising the executive board.

They were led by President Olivia Wright, Vice President Abby Renfro and Spirit Vice President Shanna Varghese.

Advisor Andrews and Yukon StuCo leaders were informed they had earned the National Gold Council of Excellence award in a letter from NASSP Director Robyn Hamasaki and Senior Program Manager Jeff Sherrill.

“NatStuCo Gold Councils of Excellence are the models of quality for which other student councils should strive to become,” Hamasaki and Sherrill wrote.

“You can be justifiably proud of the outstanding contributions that you and your student leaders make in your school and community.”

Recent Yukon High School graduate Olivia Wright, shown here donating blood last fall, served as president of the YHS Student Council during the 2022-23 school year. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
Yukon High School Student Council members wave to the crowd lining Main Street from their colorful float during the October 2022 Oklahoma Czech Festival parade in Yukon. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
YHS Student Council officers, from left, Von Paul McWaters, Shanna Varghese and Kati Weeks helped organize this spring’s blood drive. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)


Three recent Yukon senior graduates have earned the Distinguished Student Leader award.

YHS Class of 2023 members Kathryn Weeks, Abby Renfro and Shanna Varghese were recently notified they had received this annual honor bestowed by the NASSP.

“They receive a certificate, and they can put this on their resume,” advisor Andrews said.

“To be eligible, they had to put together portfolios and exhibit behaviors, actions and activities that demonstrate they are Student Council leaders.”

The Distinguished Student Leader program was created to encourage students to reach their full potential as leaders.

Weeks, Renfro and Varghese each learned they had been selected for the Distinguished Student Leader Award via an e-mail from Jeff Sherrill, community engagement lead for NASSP’s Department of Student Leadership.

“As you worked to understand the many concepts and ideals of leadership and demonstrate your leadership skills, we hope that you discovered the outstanding leader inside, the same one we came to know as we read through your application,” Sherrill told Yukon’s award recipients.

“We also hope that with the knowledge and skills you’ve gained that you will continue to be a leader throughout your life, continue to grow, and continue to make a difference in your school, community and world.”

Sherrill congratulated Weeks, Renfro and Varghese for their outstanding effort to earn national recognition for their leadership knowledge and skills.

“You can be justifiably proud of the outstanding work you have done,” he added.

Andrews anticipates more YHS students receiving NASSP’s Distinguished Student Leader Award after applying for this distinction.