Enloe Student Council: A Legacy of Leadership and Service
March 13, 2017
“There will always be people for us to fight for, people that will enable us to ignite that spark of service."
These are powerful words from Enloe Magnet High School senior Yash Patil. As Vice President of Finance of Enloe’s Student Council, he knows a thing or two about service.
It doesn’t seem too long ago that Patil wandered into a Enloe Student Council interest meeting “on a whim” with a few of his other freshmen friends from the soccer team. He quickly realized he wanted to be a part of this organization that would change his life and the lives of so many others in his community.
This past December, Patil and his fellow senior Council members wrapped up their final Charity Ball fundraiser.
He stood at the top of the stairs at Marbles Kids Museum on Dec. 11, proudly holding a check for $140,000 made out to local nonprofit Urban Ministries. And he reflected on what he and his fellow Council members had accomplished.
“It’s not about the total amount of money,” said Patil. “It’s about Tracy, a client at the Helen Wright Center who just needed people to give her a shot. It’s about that family of four who doesn’t have adequate access to food. It’s about our friends and neighbors who can’t afford exorbitant costs in the healthcare industry. There will always be people for us to fight for.”
Having a Ball
Enloe’s Student Council has organized and hosted a Charity Ball since 2004.
In 2012, Student Council members took the event to another level. They started Homeroom Wars, in which classes competed with others to raise the most money. Students promised to bake cupcakes when their class reached their goals. Teachers pledged to shave their heads. That year, the Council helped to bring in $50,300 for Interact.
Patil and fellow seniors Aarthi Kannan (Student Body President), K.C. Kurz (Vice President of Governing Procedures), Gracie Brown (Vice President of Public Relations) and Julia Weaver (Vice President of Service) have helped to raise $419,000 for local nonprofits with the past four Charity Ball events.
Second Only to Academics
Most Enloe students know that Student Council at their school is not an organization they should join just to list it on a college application. These 65 hardworking students organize major school events, including Flight School (freshman orientation), Homecoming, Coming Home (during basketball season), Teacher Appreciation Week and more.
They meet weekly as a “Great Council,” and various committees meet regularly at other times.
For many members, nothing comes before Council work except academics. Weekly time commitments can range from five hours to much more, especially during Charity Ball season.
Rising senior members of the Executive Council research local charities in May of their junior year to determine who will be the Charity Ball beneficiary.
“I think our success has been because of personal connections,” said Weaver. “Great Council members visit the charity, meet people and then they share those connections with other students across the school. That makes it personal.”
Committees get to work in the fall on planning the logistics and marketing of the event.
“Charity Ball is like running a business,” Patil said. “Each person is accountable for something.”
Through it all, students remain laser focused on a simple, shared purpose.
“We have this amazing opportunity, as students who are still in high school, to do what so many others have not,” Weaver said. “We have shown people that no matter where or who you are, you can make a change in someone else’s life.”
Walking the Walk
Enloe Student Council Advisor and English teacher George “Nate” Barilich, who has worked with this group since April 2015, is in awe of his students.
“Rather than just talking about it, my students are about it. They want to leave an impact on this community,” he said. “This group has been so successful with Charity Ball because they just keep going back and fine-tuning the process. And they involve the entire student body, not just the Council.”
Students agree that local charities are not the only ones who have benefited over the years.
“Council has given me the platform to find myself, not in an “Eat, Pray, Love” kind of way, but definitely on a deeper level,” said Kurz. “It has given me the opportunity to meet people, to get to know myself better and to make an impact.”
“I now have an understanding of how much needs to be done in our community,” Brown added. “Stories from groups like Urban Ministries need to be told and shared. When they are shared, we raise awareness, and that makes a difference too.”
Taking It With Them
As they near the end of their senior year, futures are still uncertain. College acceptance letters are trickling in. Entrepreneurship, biomedical engineering and environmental law are all on the table as possible career options.
There is one thing that these five seniors know for sure.
“As we move on to college, what we did over the past four years with this group will always stay with us,” said Patil. “Numbers are just numbers. This work inspires people and ignites passion. It is so much bigger than just one event or one group. And it makes you stop and think, if we can do all of this, nothing can stop us from following our dreams.”
Charity Ball 2004-2016
2006-Haven House: $4K
2007- Invisible Children & Schools for Schools: $13K
2008- Duke Children’s Hospital: $15K
2009- Urban Ministries of Wake County: $20K
2010- Striving for More: $20K
2011- 1in9: $21,562
2012- Interact: $50,300
2013- SAFEChild: $63K
2014- Interfaith Food Shuttle: $98K
2015- Learning Together: $118K
2016- Urban Ministries: $140K