By Melanie Parrish
With the coming of May, testing is in full swing once again, and with it the student elections have begun. The elections decide the class presidents, vice presidents, and Student Council members for the upcoming school year.
“A lot of [student officer positions] have to do with pep rallies, homecoming, and working with prom, essentially, student events,” said assistant principal Rob Willman. “There’s also a representative on the building committee. The building committee is our governing body; any time the administration is looking to implement something we have to run it by them.”
In past years, student voting has been very low, at an estimated less than 15 percent, according to Willman. This year and in future years, the administration hopes to place a stronger emphasis on voting, in order to encourage more student participation. There have been some difficulties along the road, however.
“It’s hard to get word out,” said principal Janie Whaley. “We wanted to go to video, but the current setup really does not allow us to do that. you have to interrupt the English teachers again, but if we all vote during third period it isn’t all on the backs of the English teachers, because they do a lot of stuff for us.”
Despite communication struggles, students appear to prefer the new system of voting in-class or on their own time.
“I prefer voting in class. Usually, at home, I can’t find the time, but in school I’m allotted the amount of time I need,” said junior Megan Adams
Through videos, posters, and other campaign methods, the administration and the candidates both hope to better educate the student population about the voting process.
“The average student seems to have no idea what the class officers due after being elected,” said senior Morgan Schultz. “There is hope that by better educating the student population, this problem can be avoided, and more students will be willing to participate.
“We want to give people as much of an opportunity to vote as they can, and get a chance to know the candidates,” said Willman.
However, not everyone is convinced the new voting system will draw in more voters than previously.
“It might be the same. The people that want to vote will just go online to vote, and if they had the voting thing in the Spine they would just vote there,” said sophomore Elliot Eickholtz.
Student leadership positions are not only useful in a school setting but also have practical implications for later in life.
“Students have a better opportunity to have a say in the decisions brought to administrators. Also, students will have preparation for electing leaders later on; they will know the importance of being familiar with the candidates, and candidates will have a better opportunity to practice their communication skills,” said Adams.
Schultz agreed with Adams, and added, “The students of a school should have a say, and student leadership is an opportunity to have that say. The leadership just needs to listen to many different types of groups at school instead of just a few.”
Whaley seems to be very optimistic about coming years with student elections. “I think there’ll be more two-way communication in school. The more opportunities you have for people to grow as leaders, the better. We’ve got a great school, we’ve got a lot of great kids, [and] there need to be opportunities for more people to excel. If we get more people involved, I hope that will happen.”