Return to 2024 SoEs

Nelson Elementary School

Hacienda Heights, California

Principal: Marci Chavez
Advisor: Kasira Ahmad
Student Council Officers: 20


“Big Buddy Program”

The Big Buddy program empowers youth to work with students with special needs to build confidence, social skills, and emotional well being. The program entails student council members being paired up with students with special needs to develop warm and nurturing relationships and to foster a positive and inclusive school climate. Initially, buddies were matched up based on little buddy and teacher recommendations and preferences. For the first event, student council members made special handmade invitations for their little buddies to join them for a pizza lunch and friendship bracelet making event. Buddies get together for monthly themed events that involve similar team and relationship building activities. It was especially heartwarming when our little buddies surprised student council members with special gratitude cards in November of 2023.

“Project Life Experiences About Democracy (Project LEAD)”

The focus of Project LEAD is to provide students with opportunities to participate in and understand the workings of government and democracy. Student leaders partner and collaborate with district and community leaders to engage in civic learning. Students participate in a city council meeting, a mock city council meeting, a Project LEAD conference, and a Judges in the Classroom experience. Students then apply what they learned by designing and implementing projects and programs that serve their school, community, and the world. The Nelson Elementary Student Council chose to serve their school by starting a Big Buddy Program, which involves partnering with students with special needs to build social skills and a sense of belonging. Based on school needs, student leaders also decided to start an after school Reading Wonderland program to help lower grade students learn to read. To serve the community, council members chose to have a clothing drive for local families in need, and to raise money for the American Heart Association as heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. In considering global needs, student leaders decided to raise funds for earthquake relief in Afghanistan, and implement a school-wide recycling program of plastic bottles and old tennis shoes to help save our earth.