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Lincoln High student council wins national award, a first for Denver Public Schools

National Association of Student Councils honors Denver's Abraham Lincoln High School
National Association of Student Councils honors Denver's Abraham Lincoln High School 02:00

Students at Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver are earning kudos from the National Association of Student Councils. Their student council is a 2024 National Gold Council of Excellence. It is the first time ever a school in Denver Public Schools has received this distinction. 

The effort was led by a passionate teacher who believes her students can do extraordinary things.


Cassandra Tafoya's Honors Student Leadership class is popular.

With 35 students enrolled, the class empowers students to have a voice in school affairs.

And this year all are earning national recognition as a Gold Council of Excellence.

"It means a lot honestly," said student Ricardo Villaseñor.

Student Council President Kendy Nguyen added, "On the year that I become president of the class, I know that we have work a lot to make it happen, to be the first school in DPS, we make the history during my year."


The honor is bestowed on schools where students demonstrate their commitment to establish a council bound by a constitution and bylaws.

"The benefit of a constitution is to just have rules that we can follow and rules that just make us who we are," said Villaseñor.

Ms. Tafoya teaches English and Student Leadership and is Lincoln's Activities Director. She pushes her students to think beyond themselves. How critical it is to consider the greater good.

"To have them say no you're going to get together and write your own constitution, you're going to hold yourselves to your own bylaws, you're going to have your own sense of governance and collecting documents that show that, it empowers them to think ok I can be a part of a larger system, I can have a voice in these systems."

At a time when our national government is deeply divided, Lincoln students have something to teach -  including how to look past disagreements.


Student Amina Abdikadir said, "We are comfortable with each other. Everybody's comfortable with each other even though some of us only met this year, bonding is a good strategy…we have a lot of disagreements but at the end of the day we're a little family."

One priority for Lincoln's student council this year is acknowledging the diversity of the student body.

Also, Lincoln opened its doors in 1960, it's an older facility – so the council encourages students to have pride in being a Lancer by keeping the grounds beautiful. 

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