The Remarkable Story of NASC

Warren Shull, 1931 Sapulpa High School Yearbook

The story of the National Association of Student Councils (NASC) is a remarkable journey that sprang from the tenacious spirit of a young leader, passionately championing the cause of student voice and representation. 

Warren Shull, the dedicated president of the Sapulpa High School Student Body Organization (Student Council), was the torchbearer who ignited the NASC flame. In 1930, he convened a summit of student body presidents in Oklahoma, sowing the seeds of what would later blossom into NASC. 

Fueled by his commitment to amplify student voice, Shull traveled to Los Angeles in 1931, meeting with Dr. Willis A. Sutton, the President of the National Education Association (NEA). This pivotal meeting culminated in the founding of the National Association of Student Government Officers (NASGO) with Shull at the helm as its inaugural president.  

Undeterred by the organization’s early financial hurdles, Shull hitchhiked to NEA conferences for the next three years, manifesting his unwavering dedication to the cause. 

Gerald Van Pool, the first NASC Director, speaking at the 1960 NASC Conference at Janesville Senior High School in Janesville, WI. Van Pool served as NASC Director from 1943—1966.

In 1937, NASGO cemented its legacy with an official constitution and changed its name to the National Association of Student Councils (NASC) in 1940. Three years later, NASC found a powerful ally and parent organization in the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), catapulting the association to greater heights. 

Under NASSP’s stewardship, NASC began to flourish, multiplying its membership and establishing state-level student council associations in nearly every state. Its services also burgeoned, launching a magazine and a plethora of resources for student councils, and even appointing its first full-time director of student activities in 1947. 

The first NASC National Conference under NASSP’s guidance convened in 1948 at Coolidge High School in Washington, D.C., marking a monumental milestone in its journey. 

Since NASSP embraced NASC in 1943, we’ve embarked on an extraordinary journey, touching the lives of millions of students and tens of thousands of advisers. Our programs have also gained the attention and contribution of esteemed elected officials, ranging from mayors and governors to U.S. Senators and even the President of the United States (Click here to read President Reagan’s speech at the 1983 NASC Conference where he discussed his start in politics serving as the student body president of Dixon High School in Dixon, IL).

President Ronald Reagan at the 1983 NASC Conference in Shawnee Mission, KS.

Today, NASC stands as a beacon of leadership development, unwavering in our mission to mold the leaders of tomorrow. We’re committed to nurturing student leadership, fostering a spirit of service, elevating student voices, and inspiring active participation in both school and community leadership.

In a world where young voices are pivotal to shaping the future, NASC stands as an invaluable ally in the mission to empower the next generation. At NASC, we believe that listening to students not only strengthens our schools and communities but also cultivates the leaders of tomorrow. Whether your student government is just starting or already thriving, NASC is the perfect catalyst for its growth.

Joining NASC is more than just joining an organization; it’s investing in the future of your students. As they grow into leaders, community influencers, and change-makers, the skills and experiences gained through NASC will be instrumental in their journey.

“The experience you are gaining in student government will prepare you to assume a variety of leadership roles as adults. The opportunity to contribute to the operation of your school will also build an enduring belief in the value of self-government and the strength of unity through democracy.”

— President Ronald Reagan