Meet the New Junior Class President

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 was awarded to one lucky individual hoping to make a difference.

“I feel like some people run for the resume,” newly elected junior class president Chase Matteson said. “I looked at junior class president where I could make a bigger difference.”

Matteson aspired to become junior class president because of the skills he believed he had that could create progress.

“I set myself to a higher standard,” Matteson said.  “I have the work ethic to make changes.”

Creating an environment where students participate more in school spirit and a better livelihood amongst students is what Matteson hopes to achieve while junior class president.

“I want to change the student moral,” Matteson said. “Here at Plano West, the interactiveness in school spirit is not there.”

The goals that Matteson has is what former junior class president Blessing Saungweme hopes the current junior class president will introduce to the campus.

“Bringing the whole school together is important,” Saungweme said. “I hope for the future of junior class president is to bring everyone’s spirit up.”

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.”

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,  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.”

During the final moments of the junior class presidential election, Matteson had to find way to target a greater school audience to vote for him.

“When it came down to the final two candidates, both of us were from Shepton,” Matteson said. “I did not know the Jasper audience, so I had to figure out a way to vocalize to them to vote for me.”

Becoming junior class president eventually ends up being more than an extracurricular activity in high school, but an experience that will impact who you are and your 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 Matteson 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.”