History of CASC
The beginnings of statewide associations of student councils in Connecticut are lost to history. In 1932 a Connecticut school attended the first national conference of the National Association of Student Councils (NASC). The earliest written evidence of a statewide organization is a 1939 reference to students from Bacon Academy attending one of the semi-annual conventions of the Eastern Connecticut Federation of Student Councils (ECFSC), meaning that the organization was already well established. In 1940 a second organization, the “Robert H. Early Memorial League of Student Councils in the Housatonic Valley” is referenced in a NASSP Bulletin (1940 Volume 24; Issue 89) as serving most of the student councils in Connecticut. The next reference comes in 1945, which states that councils in Connecticut belong to the “Connecticut State Association of Student Councils.” (CSASC) This same source says that this organization, much like the rest of the other state associations, had suspended operations during WWII and struggled to reactivate once wartime restrictions were lifted; its last reference is in 1947. At the same time the CSASC was collapsing, the ECFSC was thriving, hosting a conference of 14 schools in 1947.
In 1948, records show that two statewide associations were serving the needs of Connecticut's student leaders:: the “Housatonic Valley League of Student Councils” (possibly the successor to the earlier 1940 organization. Five schools are listed as members of the league: Derby, East Haven, Seymour, Shelton, and Wallingford) and the ECFSC. By 1951 it appears that only the Housatonic Valley League of Student Councils was still in existence, but all references to the league vanish after 1962.
1952: Origins, formation of the CFSC
In 1952 the Connecticut High-School Principals Association appointed Arthur W. Kairott, principal of Glastonbury High School, to make plans for organizing a Connecticut association of student councils. Working with several Connecticut principals and Susan Jennings, a student council member at Glastonbury HS, they met at Hartford High School on April 7 to draft a constitution of what would become the Connecticut Federation of Student Councils. (Direct precursor to CASC)
The first organized meeting between Connecticut schools to discuss the constitution of the newly formed “Connecticut Federation of Student Councils” was held 10 days later again at Hartford Public High School on April 17, 1952.
Finally, the first Executive Board of the Federation was created, the positions for students were President, Vice President, Secretary and Assistant Secretary. The positions for adults were 3 faculty members and the Executive Director.
1953: Regional Meetings
Thursday, May 14th, the first Constitution of the CFSC was approved by a vote of student delegates at Hartford Public High School, it had originally been scheduled to be held in the House chamber of the Connecticut General Assembly. The first two informal regional meetings were held later that year.
1954: First Statewide Convention
The Association grew steadily, this year saw the greatest expansion of the association culminating in three milestones. First, the state was broken into four regions to hold regional meetings (North Eastern, South Western, North Western, and South Eastern), held in November. Second, hosting its first statewide convention at UConn with 250 students and 50 advisors from across Connecticut.
1956: Membership and Expansion
All secondary schools paying dues to CAS automatically became members of CFSC. Four regional conferences and a statewide convention were also held.
1957: Connecting with Advisors
The first Newsletter was published, this would ultimately grow to 4 a year by 1970.
1958: Week Long Summer Leadership Camp
CASC begins holding a week-long leadership camp held in August at the YMCA Camp Mohawk in Litchfield.
1960: Statewide Leadership Training begins
The first statewide leadership training workshop was held. The rapid growth of the CFSC did not go unnoticed and was recognized by the National Association of Student Councils (NASC) with a certificate of appreciation for outstanding work.
Dues from all member schools were collected for the first time.
1962: State Conventions move to High Schools
For the first time, the statewide convention was held at a High School rather than a university to “provide an opportunity for greater student planning and preparation.” The Convention is hosted by Branford High School with arrangements handled by the Housatonic League of Student Councils.
1963: Districts Organize
To better support the work of student councils in Connecticut the CFSC began to organize districts and league councils. At the same time CFSC embarked on a three year constitutional revision.
1966: First 2 day State Convention Held
The success of the CFSC led to the introduction of overnight Conventions.
1967: More Growth
By now the association had grown to 140 member schools and boasted a robust program including summer workshops at UConn, a state convention hosted by a different high school from across Connecticut and a winter one day workshop.
CFSC publishes a student council handbook for member schools.
1970: Junior High School Conference
In addition to the normal program, the CFSC adds a statewide leadership conference specifically for junior high schools.
1974: District Realignment
The CFSC formalized its structure with 6 districts based on the 6 federal congressional districts in Connecticut.
1977: A New Name
To bring its name into conformity with the other states, the CFSC becomes the Connecticut Association of Student Councils. (CASC)
1980’s: A New Crest
Taking inspiration from the 1981 rebrand of NASC, CASC adopted for the first time a crest of its own with the map of Connecticut over an oval globe.
1995: Dale Hawley Award
In recognition of their longtime director of Student Activities, NASC created the “Dale Hawley Award.” Allowing states to recognize outstanding students.
1998: On the National Stage
For his work with the students at Woodstock Academy, Al Cormier, then Executive Director of CASC, is recognized by NASC as the Warren Shull Adviser of the Year for his exemplary character, leadership, and commitment to young people and their development as student leaders.
2001: NASSCED Recognition
Ron Nedovich, former CASC Executive Director (1974-1998) is recognized as a Lifetime Members of the National Association of State Student Council Executive Directors (NASSCED) following a distinguished career of faithfully serving students and advisors in Connecticut
2003: Ron Nedovich Award
In recognition of Ron Nedovich, its longest serving Executive Director, CASC rebrands its advisor of the year award as the “Ron Nedovich Advisor of the Year Award.”
2009: On the National Stage, again
Sarah Jones, then Executive Director of CASC, is the first person to receive the Keeper of the Flame Award from NAWD. (NA4SA)
2011: Hosting a National Conference
CASC hosted the NASC/NHS LEAD Conference at the Stamford Marriott.
2019: New Districts and Events Added to CASC Calendar
CASC joins the digital age with its own social media accounts on Twitter (X) and Instagram. A revised version of the crest is introduced for use on social media. On May 31, the first “Adventures in Leadership” event was held at Winding Trails in Farmington. In September, the newsletter returns and the first “President’s Luncheon” event is held at CAS in Cheshire. Also announced in September is the return of Districts with the state reorganized as Eastern, Central and Western districts.
Spring Convention becomes the first event in Connecticut shut down due to COVID-19 lockdowns. “Adventures in Leadership” was canceled and the association moved online. Due to COVID restrictions, the President's Luncheon became the President's Symposium and is our first virtual function.
2021: Lockdowns and Expansion
Virtual meetings and events, including a virtual Convention, Adventures in Leadership and President’s Symposium. The Executive Board is reorganized before Convention to include District Schools and appointed staff positions. In November the Central District was broken into the Northern and Southern Districts so that all districts had the same number of schools in them.
2022: 70 Years and the Return to Live Activities
Live Board meetings return. CASC celebrates 70 years of leadership in Connecticut, to commemorate this milestone, CASC holds a year long competition to adopt a new crest and color scheme which unveiled at its virtual Convention. In May “Adventures in Leadership” became the first live event hosted by CASC since the beginning of COVID19. In September CASC began the process of writing a new Constitution and Bylaws.
2023: CASC Closes 70th Anniversary
In cooperation with the Non partisan staff of the Connecticut General Assembly CASC hosts its first “Mock Legislative Session Day.” CASC also closes out its 70th year anniversary with the first live Convention since 2019. Constitution and Bylaws are adopted at the Convention formalizing the structure of the association and introducing the associations general assembly as well as state wide committees.
2024: New Programs added
Two new programs are added to CASC, a Certified Student Workshop presenter program as well as a Mental Health night.
CASC has come a long way since 1952 and we continue to grow each year.
1952-1953:: Arthur W. Kaircott, Glastonbury High School, Glastonbury
1953-1955:: Joseph J. Feher, Seymour High School, Seymour
1955-1960:: Martha L. Hanf, Hartford High School, Hartford
1960-1961:: Kenneth R. Petersen, Andrew Warde High School, Fairfield
1961-1964:: Russell T. Harrington, Edwin O. Smith School, Storrs
1965-1969:: B. Audrey Dayton, Farmington High School, Farmington
1969-1973:: Raymond A. Paul, Bristol Eastern High School, Bristol
1974-1998:: Ratomir ``Ron'' Nedovich, Avon High School, Avon
1998-2002:: Al "Chief" Cormier, Woodstock Academy, Woodstock
2002-2005:: Mary Leger, East Hartford High School, East Hartford
2005-2012:: Sarah Jones, Manchester High School, Manchester
2012-2018:: Jennifer Buckley, CAS, Cheshire
2018-2019:: Russ Crist, Farmington High School, Farmington
2018- Present:: Christopher H. Tomlin, Woodland Regional High School, Beacon Falls