Balloons Mark End to Opening Session

Balloons float down from the ceiling Thursday evening at the end of the opening session of the state Student Council convention, being held at Washington High School. Students then gathered outside for a fireworks show. The convention opened Thursday and runs through Saturday. More than 700 students and 200 Student Council advisers are participating. The students are staying with host families in the area. Missourian Photo.

The opening night of the Missouri Association of Student Council State Convention was a huge success, according to organizers at Washington High School.

“It’s going awesome,” said Dr. Frank Wood, WHS principal. “We had a great night (Thursday). Our kids did an outstanding job of getting everything ready. Everything went off without a hitch last night.”

Washington High School is hosting the convention for the first time since the 2000-01 school year. About 700 students and more than 200 advisers arrived Thursday night.

Rocky Sickmann, a Washington High School alumnus and former U.S. Marine, was the guest speaker at Thursday evening’s general session.

Sickmann, who was held hostage in Iran for 444 days during the Carter administration, spoke about being a leader and his time as a hostage.

Julie Weindel, WHS Student Council adviser, called Sickmann’s speech “wonderful” and said she was looking forward to the rest of the convention.

“We’ve had a great response from the kids,” said Weindel, adding that she was excited to hear guest speakers Tina Meyer, as well as former WHS Adviser Karen Dawson and Monte Selby.

Weindel and Dr. Wood expressed great pride in the WHS Student Council members.

“Yesterday was a feeling of excitement and anticipation,” Weindel said. “It was a really proud moment for all of our kids. Everything ran smoothly, the technology was awesome — you would never know it was produced by kids. It was amazing.”

Weindel credited a smooth opening night with everyone working together.

“The past day and a half we’ve really had to work together to make this possible. One person could not do it,” she said. “Whether you were the person moving chairs or up on stage, it takes everyone to get this accomplished.”

During their visit, students are attending breakout sessions and workshops hosted by other Student Council members. The student leaders will get event ideas they can bring back to their schools, as well as learn leadership skills.

The Washington Rotary Club was scheduled to cook dinner for the students Friday evening at the riverfront. The club also will sponsor trail rides for the students.

A pep assembly and dance also were scheduled.

The convention was scheduled to wrap up late Saturday morning.

For more photos and a video of the state convention, visit