Mrs. Susan Waldrep, student council adviser at Texas High School in Texarkana, TX, has been named the 2018 Warren E. Shull National High School Adviser of the Year. The award was presented to Mrs. Waldrep during the 2018 National Student Council Conference that was held in Plymouth, MN, in late June. The annual award is named for Warren E. Shull, the founder of National Student Council, and recognizes high school student council advisers of exemplary character, leadership of and commitment to young people, who foster their development as student leaders.
Mrs. Waldrep is a leadership teacher at Texas High and has served as student council adviser there for 16 years. She sees the student council as the place where students find “opportunities to grow and develop as leaders while creating unity at the school,” and her role as adviser being the one who provides those opportunities through participation in local, state, and national projects. Through her dedication and leadership, she’s seen the student council at Texas High grow from 50 to more than 400 members per year.
Under her tutelage, the student council members have learned and practiced servant leadership in the school and community. The council promotes community awareness on a regular basis through its partnership with a local food pantry where they help prepare and serve meals, and distribute groceries, improve school climate, and address the needs of local families through service. To raise money to fund their volunteer projects, the council hosts and members showcase their talents in an annual Dessert Theater. To ensure students with special needs on their campus are included in student life on campus, the council hosts a variety of activities called their Room 49 events. The Room 49 events build bonds between the student leaders and special needs members that have equated to success during the Special Olympics in the spring.
In 2008, Mrs. Waldrep and her students returned from National Student Council Conference with an idea for reinventing their freshman orientation event, resulting in the now popular Tiger Camp. At Tiger Camp, incoming freshman learn school traditions and how to find success while navigating student life and academics in the high school. Knowing that cultivating high school leaders begins in the middle level, the student council, with inspiration from its president, held its first mid-level training workshop for the middle schools in their area.
Mrs. Waldrep’s efforts to give council members opportunities to lead and serve beyond the school are evidenced in her and their participation in state-level student council. Her students have won several state offices including vice president school and state president school. Mrs. Waldrep was selected in 2014 to serve as district coordinator and continues in that position. She has shared her expertise as workshop presenter and a state conference coordinator. In addition to their state engagement and accolades, Mrs. Waldrep and her student leaders are regular attendees at the National Student Council Conference and the council has consistently been named a National Gold Council of Excellence since 2008. Many of their projects can be found on the National Student Project Database to which they are regular contributors.
Of Ms. Waldrep, Brad Bailey, principal of Texas High School says, “I have known Mrs. Waldrep for several years and the question I ask myself on several occasions is, ‘How does she do it all?’ It is amazing to see her multitasking many events within our school district, the community, and state organizations, all while having a calm and encouraging smile. Mrs. Waldrep prepares our students for not only college and postsecondary careers but for life. When our students leave Texas High, they have the skills to compete and to lead others. Empowering students to be self-initiated, organized, and creative is part of the vision she has created.”
Jay Williamson, the 2017–18 student body president at Texas High School, noted, “Mrs. Waldrep is unlike any teacher or club adviser I have met throughout the time I have spent in the Texas Association of Student Councils. Never have I witnessed someone so focused on ensuring her students are able to achieve whatever their wildest dream may be. She has the capability of encouraging students to take on the ‘uncomfortable tasks’ because she knows that is the first step toward developing young, growing students into professional leading young adults. She in every way encompasses what an adviser should hope to accomplish and I know I would not be near the individual I am today had I not met this woman so focused on ensuring that our actions continuously enrich one another and the community.”
For giving students opportunities to serve in their school and community and for empowering students reach for their dream, National Student Council congratulates Mrs. Susan Waldrep on being named the 2018 Warren E. Shull National High School Adviser of the Year and wishes her continued success in her efforts to inspire and develop student leaders.