Education Opens a Door Filled with New Opportunities

Malvika Mahendhra, Staff Writer

As the new school year kicks off, students begin to settle in their daily schedules of homework and extracurriculars slowly morphing into one united student body. However, every year there are a handful of students who strive to represent the individualism of each member of the class population and give them a voice. The election of the junior class president showcases the  changes wanted by the student body and the lucky individual who hopes to make difference.

“I wanted to be more involved in the school,” former junior class president Blessing Saungweme said. “It’s a position where you are in power and you get to speak for the people.”

The position of junior class president is sought after by Morayo Soetan who is looking to have a greater involvement in the decisions affecting students.

“I want to be a part of the bigger picture,” junior Morayo Soetan said.  “I felt that I could be an intermediate for the whole student body and reflect everybody’s choices.”

Students feel motivated to pursue the role of junior class president because they want to feel more connected to the school.

“In Shepton, I was not really involved,” Saungweme said. “I was in the background. I felt like I needed to do something more.”

Getting to be part of a larger organization that caters to the school and the community is a bigger responsibility when it is student led.

“We facilitate,” Student Council teacher Lynn Pettit said. “We run it. We’re still the teachers. But they get a lot of freedom. They run their activities by us and we’re their advocates.”

Along with heavy responsibilities, junior class presidents face pressure from their peers when delivering the promises made during their campaign.

“People tend to get mad when you appoint somebody and that person doesn’t do what they said they would do,” Saungweme said. “If you have a goal, you have to finish it.”

Aspiring junior class president Soetan promises to bring the changes that has dictated his campaign if he is elected. He hopes to create an environment that is better for students.

“People take up to six Advanced Placement (AP) classes or they are student athletes with AP classes,”Soetan said. “It’s really stressful sometimes.When I went to Jasper we had this thing called ‘no homework Thursday’ and it really helped me. I was thinking of bringing it to West.”

Campaigning has become more strict and regulated over the years to create a more even playing field, so now candidates have taken a more simpler, and genuine approach when trying to garner votes.

“The students who have won are kids that go to the cafeteria and just hang out with the kids,” Pettit said. “They go to table to table and it’s not fake. It’s not like ‘I’m so and so please vote for me’. They just kind of chill with the kids and get to know them.”

Students want to elect a leader who they feel connected. While, other qualities are important to have when campaigning for junior class president, the ability to communicate is deemed most important.

“If you’re closed in you’re not really going to do much for the people, because people want someone who is going to talk for them,” Saungweme said. “That’s the point of having a junior class president.”

Many students involved in student government believe it is not only an extracurricular activity, but a decision they feel have impacted who they are and their future.

“It just opens so many doors,” Pettit said.  “Every single one of our kids have been successful in college even if they don’t go the government route. It makes students worldly.”

It is easy to feel voiceless, but individuals like Soetan and Saungweme hope to bring power and representation to the students.

“Challenge the power,” Saungweme said. “Do more for the school than you think you can.”