Officer Installation Ceremonies

Structured ceremonies heighten awareness of the importance and effect of an occasion. A sample installation ceremony for officers can be found here.

Council installation can be a formal ceremony, can be more of a meeting atmosphere, or can be a personal reflection and future vision-sharing occasion. The goal is to celebrate the rite of passage from one leadership team to another. One of the council committees should have the responsibility of planning this event along with the adviser.

The time frame for officer installation varies for each school. Typically the council’s constitution stipulates the time of year for election of officers. The installation should hopefully take place while the current officer team is still in school so that they can turn over responsibilities to the newly elected officer team in a formal way.

To assist the planning committee in developing the ceremony itself, we offer the following outline of an optional ceremony with some suggestions and notes.

Planning an Officer Installation Event

The committee should research what events have been done in the past to see if a tradition has already been set for installation. If there has, the committee will need to use that as the starting point in planning. But remember, just because something has “always been done that way” doesn’t mean that it can’t be freshened up or modernized to fit the current school and council atmosphere.

Some of the following basic items of guidance are done in various types of installations.

1. Set time and place for event.

  1. Is the event to be an all school event, or an event only for council members and family
  2. Check council and school calendar for best time
  3. Book place for event determined by size needed
  4. Send out announcements or invitations to school participants and parents.

2. Develop program or agenda for event. Determine:

  1. Theme
  2. Speaker
  3. Refreshments
  4. Entertainment
  5. Background music
  6. Slide or video presentation
  7. Candle passing ceremony from old to new officers
  8. Pin exchange from old to new officers or from principal to new officers
  9. Appropriate dress for the event–casual, business, or formal.

3. As with other committee projects, plan, schedule, and decorate, for the event.

4. Pre-ceremony considerations:

  1. Is the room ready, set-up and decorated, for your ceremony?
  2. Have your key program participants rehearsed their roles?
  3. Have the programs been developed and distributed for use?

5. Suggestions for the event:

  1. Pre-ceremony entertainment: (Live or recorded music played five to ten minutes prior to the beginning of the program.
  2. Processional/entrance (Often cued from the stage or with special music; audience can be asked to stand while council participants and officers parade into the room.)
  3. Call to order by the master of ceremonies*, council adviser, or principal
  4. Invocation and/or welcome message (can be adviser or principal)
  5. Pledge of Allegiance
  6. Introduction of guest speaker
  7. Guest speaker
  8. Thank you to guest speaker
  9. Introduction to the next part of the ceremony, including a brief review of how these student officers were elected/selected and a review of the work of the council
  10. New officer installation: candle-lighting, certificate or pin presentation
    It is best to write an agenda or script for the master of ceremonies, adviser or principal to use for this official installation. It should include the title of office, list of job responsibilities to be fulfilled, and name of outgoing and incoming officer.
  11. Council pledge (optional, your choice of pledge, samples attached or you can develop your own)
  12. Special awards or recognition: recognize outgoing officers
  13. Closing remarks (often done by the principal or the council adviser)
  14. Adjourn to post-installation reception

*Your master of ceremonies should be well rehearsed, fully aware of the timing and order of proceedings, and confident in tone and presentation while on stage.

6. Post-ceremony/recessional music or entertainment

  1. This can be a reception or a dinner and can include entertainment.

Here are some additional ideas for the installation event for your council:

  • In the program, describe significant council projects or accomplishments from the past year either orally or in print, congratulating the project chair for their work.
  • Recognize teachers on staff who are active participants with the student council; alternatively, identify an outstanding nonmember from the faculty.
  • Compose and perform a council song; or have one of the council members sing the school’s alma mater, fight song, or other local melody.
  • If a theme item is designated (star, torch, gavel, etc.), it can be duplicated to have one for each council member. Put a member name on each of the items and display around the room as part of the decorations and to recognize all council members. The members should be allowed to take home their own item at the end of the event.
  • Candles can be used in the ceremony to highlight the passing of the torch of leadership. This can be done by a different color candle for each office or can be one large candle that represents the entire team passed from outgoing president to incoming president.
  • Allow the council president, or another student chosen from the current membership of the council, to deliver an address on the meaning of the Student Council.
  • Prepare and present biographies of each of the new inductees highlighting their significant accomplishment (as noted on their candidate information sheets).
  • Invite council alumni from the community to play a part in the ceremony. Some councils will award an Outstanding Student Council Alumni certificate or plaque to this individual.
  • Be certain that your ceremony’s printed program contains the date as well as the name and address of the school to assist council members who wish to send copies to distant relatives. (Consequently, be sure to print extra copies for this purpose and for your council scrapbook and archives.)
  • For the Pledge of Allegiance (or national anthem) use the school’s JROTC or local Boy/Girl Scout troop as an honor guard. VFW councils also provide this service.
  • At some point in the program, be sure to thank the parents and teachers for their contributions to the successes of the members of the council. To facilitate this, provide the parents with a flower (corsage or boutonniere) at the ceremony.
  • For the outgoing senior members, identify the college/career plans that each has identified. This is particularly useful for spring installation ceremonies.
  • To facilitate the taking of the pledge, have it printed in the program for both new members and the audience to see.
  • Include in the printed program a note of thanks to any community partners (businesses, service organizations, etc.) who have contributed either to this ceremony or to the council during the past year.

Installation Musical Suggestions
Possible musical pieces to play during the installation ceremonies on campus include:

  • “Fanfare for the Common Man,” Aaron Copland
  • “Olympic Fanfare and Theme,” John Williams
  • March from “Midway,” John Williams
  • March from “Superman,” John Williams
  • “Liberty Fanfare,” John Williams
  • March from “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” John Williams
  • March from “1941,” John Williams
  • Main Theme from “Star Wars,” John Williams
  • Hornpipe from “Water Music,” G. F. Handel
  • Overture from “Music of the Royal Fireworks,” G. F. Handel
  • Great Gate of Kiev from “Pictures at an Exhibition,” M. I. Mussorgsky
  • “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” J. S. Bach
  • Largo from “Xerxes,” G. F. Handel
  • Rondeau from “Fanfare for the King’s Supper,” J. J. Mouret
  • “Trumpet Tune and Air”, Henry Purcell
  • “The Prince of Denmark’s March,” Jeremiah Clarke
  • Grand March from “Aida,” Giuseppe Verdi
  • Overture to “Die Meistersinger,” Richard Wagner
  • March from “Tannhauser,” Richard Wagner
  • “Ride of the Valkyries,” Richard Wagner
  • Pomp and Circumstance, No. 1-4, by Edward Elgar

Possible movie soundtracks include:

  • The Ten Commandments
  • The Last Starfighter
  • Superman
  • Star Wars
  • Ben Hur
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • The Lion in Winter

Installation Pledges
NatStuCo prescribes no definite pledge or even the use of a pledge by the councils. Several sample pledges are provided below for councils to use as a model if they wish. Use of a pledge is a decision left to the local council.

Local councils should always take into consideration the religious convictions and cultural traditions of their school population when considering the use of a pledge. Efforts should be made to clearly identify that the taking of the pledge is not a requirement. Statements explaining that pledges are optional can be included in both the student handbooks and general information regarding the council on your campus so as to prevent students from perceiving that this is a prerequisite of membership.

This concern falls into the category of protecting a student’s constitutional rights, and thus is a responsibility of the council as part of its efforts to preserve and protect our democratic society.

Sample pledges from various schools:

I pledge myself to uphold
the aims and responsibilities of Student Council
to which I have been elected.
striving in every way,
by word and deed
to make its ideals,
the ideals of my school
and of my life.

•••

I pledge myself to uphold
the high purposes of Student Council
to which I have been selected;
I will be true to the principles for which it stands;
I will be loyal to my school;
and will maintain and encourage
high standards of service, leadership, citizenship, and character.

•••

I pledge myself
to represent the ideas and concerns of my fellow students
to encourage worthwhile activities in the school and community
to foster patriotism and school spirit
and to provide responsible leadership for our student body.

•••

I do promise to uphold
the aims and responsibilities of Student Council,
and as an active member
to strive to develop the qualities necessary
to become a leader in the school
and community in which I live.

•••

You may also choose to make your own pledge.