A class president is usually the leader of a student body class, and presides over its class cabinet or organization within a student council. In a grade school, class presidents are generally elected by the class, a constituency composed of all students in a grade level.
The practice of electing a class president is found in most US schools, but is not prevalent in other parts of the world.
Class presidents are different from the student body president in that they represent only a specific class of students, rather than the entire student body. Student-body presidents generally lead and represent the whole of the student body, and both positions are commonly confused with each other. Research has shown that young women are less likely to serve as class presidents than male students in co-ed learning environments.
Duties and term
The primary duties of the class president usually include working with students to resolve problems, and informing school leaders and the student council of ideas emanating from the class. The president also has the responsibility of leading class cabinet meetings and organizing student activities and events. The term of office for a class president is one year in most schools. The student holding the office usually has the option of running again for the coming year. Also, the class president in some schools is in charge of building funds for the class to use for activities, such as prom. Students in this position are also often looked to as token student voice representatives.
In some schools, there is a senior-class president. The senior-class president is the leader of the senior class in a high school or college. He or she is sometimes responsible for planning some of the events surrounding graduation. After graduation, the senior-class president is sometimes put in charge of planning class reunions in the years to come.
Popular culture references
The stereotype of the class president has been typecast in books, movies and television. Typical storylines sometimes contain a nerd or underdog claiming the title from a more popular student. The stereotype has also been used as a political allegory since the 1800s, describing everyone from the president of the United States to roles for African-American women in the U.S. Congress.
Fictional characters in the role of class president have included:
- Pedro Sanchez, played by Efren Ramirez, runs successfully for Class President in the 2004 movie Napoleon Dynamite.
- Zach Siler, played by Freddie Prinze Jr. is the popular jock and Class President in the 1999 film She's All That.
- Wilford "Wil C" Cardon is the Class President in the independent film produced by DJ Iggy, titled, The Rise of Number 45.
- Jessie Spano, played by Elizabeth Berkley, is the Class President at Bayside High School in the television series Saved by the Bell.
- Ryoko Asakura in the anime The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.
- Tracy Flick, played by Reese Witherspoon, runs for Class President in the 1999 film Election.
- Steve Holt, played by Justin Grant Wade, is Class President of the high school that George Michael Bluth and Maeby Funke attend in the television series Arrested Development.
- Mizuki Kirimiya from the Visual Novel Yume Miru Kusuri
- Courtney from Total Drama Island ran for class president prior to applying for the show.
List of well-known class presidents
- Jane Addams
- Molly Dewson
- Troy H. Middleton
- Richard Nixon
- George H.W. Bush
- Bill Clinton
- George W. Bush
- Yuracko, K.A. (2003) Perfectionism and Contemporary Feminist Values. Indiana University Press. p 96.
- Langum, D.J. and Walthall, H.P. (1997) From Maverick to Mainstream: Cumberland School of Law, 1847-1997. University of Georgia Press.
- (2004) Letters to the Next President: What We Can Do About the Real Crisis in Public Education. Teachers College Press. p. 247.
- Hurwitz, J. (1990) Class President. HarperCollins.
- Sachar, L. (1999) Marvin Redpost: Class President. Random House.
- (1908) "Taft and Labor", McClure's Magazine. October 1908. p 603.
- McCain Gill, L. (1997) African American Women in Congress: Forming and Transforming History. Rutgers University Press. p 97.
- Knight, L.W. (2005) Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy. University of Chicago Press. p 439.
- Ware, S. (1989) Partner and I: Molly Dewson, Feminism, and New Deal Politics. Yale University Press. p 29.
- Troy H. Middleton: A biography. LSU Press. p 1974.
- Degregorio, W.A. (2004) The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents. Barnes & Noble Books. p 583.
- Degregorio, W.A. (2004) The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents. Barnes & Noble Books. p 668.
- Degregorio, W.A. (2004) The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents. Barnes & Noble Books. p 707.
- Degregorio, W.A. (2004) The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents. Barnes & Noble Books. p 758.