when she was running for office
in Fall 2016
Sayaka Okada was Student Council Secretary last year. At this year's Student Council Forum she gave a speech. I asked if we could share it on the blog. Her words hold a lot of wisdom about the value of Student Councils, Student Leadership, and Student Democracy. Here, with her permission, is her speech.
My name is Sayaka Okada. I was a Student Council secretary at San Mateo Adult School last year. First of all, I’d like to thank all the candidates, students, teachers and staff who have been a part of the Student Council process. Our Student Council is one of the greatest parts of San Mateo Adult School, and we can be proud of that.
I still remember how nervous I was last year while I was sitting in the seat on the stage during the speech forum because it was my first time giving a speech in English in front of a large group of people. (And I don’t even remember what Denise, the former president at that time, said about her experience!)
Being a member of the Student Council and working for the school as a leader were not only just good for improving my English skills, but were also great experiences which have changed my attitude and way of thinking about my life in the US. I moved to the US two years ago because of my husband’s job transfer. I quit my job which I had for 10 years. I didn’t have any friends here in California, and had no chance to get involved with the community because I don’t have children and was always afraid to take the first step toward any new places, so I felt I had lost my role and goals in life, except just as a homemaker.
However, after becoming Student Council secretary, I started to restore my self-confidence by working with other officers from diverse cultural backgrounds and meeting many people from outside of school. Sometimes it was not easy to understand each other or to deal with problems, but we always worked together and helped each other. It made me feel that I had a role and was important in this community. Also, every time we finished one thing, we set the next goal and made great efforts. Setting a goal was really meaningful in my life to live more actively no matter what the goal was or how short the period of time. The reason I decided to run for the Student Council officer was I just wanted to give something back to our school, but I’ve still received more gifts in my life through my experiences in this school.
Finally, I’d like to tell all the candidates that you will get amazing experiences through this process, including this speech forum. Don’t forget that you are not just rivals in this election. All of you are already companions working together. All the students who are here can be the next Student Council members if you are not afraid to take the first step to a new place.
Here’s my last words from my speech last year, “Let’s make our school a much better place together for everyone who are here now, and who will be here in the future.” Thank you.
Thank you, Sayaka, for sharing this wisdom with us!