Prepare for State Convention

Washington High School Student Council members filled welcome bags in preparation for the Missouri Association of Student Council State Convention. More than 700 Student Council members and 200 advisers from around the state will be in Washington for the convention, which runs Thursday through Saturday. During the event, high school and middle school students will work on leadership skills, listen to guest speakers and get ideas for events to bring to their schools. From left are Rachel Jackson, Jared Walde and Austin Subke.    Missourian Photo.

About 700 middle and high school students and more than 200 Student Council advisers will pack Washington High School this Thursday through Saturday for the Missouri Association of Student Council State Convention.

Leading up to the convention, Student Council members were “working like crazy” to make sure the event is a success, said Julie Weindel, adviser.

“I’m most excited to get the kids here and really see it come together,” said Taylor Straatmann, Student Council president. “We’ve been dreaming about this and planning for over a year, and it will be cool to really see it come to life.”

Student Council members were busily working on last-minute details, like packing registration bags with programs, a name tag and a T-shirt, putting final touches on decorations, working on their scripts, planning the pep assembly and more.

“Planning has been going great,” Weindel said, crediting the Student Council members with months of hard work.

“We’ve been really busy since the beginning of the year,” she said.

Washington High School students campaigned last February to host the 2013 state convention. Since they found out they were hosts, they have been preparing for the convention.

“I have to say, in the past few weeks, I continue to be overwhelmed with support from people, groups, city council . . . it seems like every day someone is calling to see if there’s any way they can help,” Weindel said.

In addition to businesses donating items like pens, paper, cups and other items for the students, a total of 230 host families are providing housing for students during their visit in Washington.

“There are a lot of people out there excited for our kids who are helping through donations, time or being a host family,” Weindel said, thanking the community.

Straatmann also expressed her gratitude to the community.

“(The community has) been such a big support in putting this together from offering to house students, to donations to being just as excited about this as we are,” she said.

Local schools participating in the convention include Hermann High School, New Haven High School, Washington Middle School, St. Clair High School, St. Francis Borgia Regional High School, St. George School in Hermann, Sullivan High School and Union High School.

This year’s theme is “From Country Roads to City Lights, STUCO Unites!”

During the convention, the group will host guest speakers and teach workshops on motivation, leadership, increasing school spirit, communication and other topics.

Guest speakers for the event include Rocky Sickmann, a Washington High School alumnus and former U.S. Marine; Tina Meier, a St. Charles mother whose daughter committed suicide after being bullied online; Karen Dawson, former WHS Student Council adviser and Student Council leader; and Monte Selby, a school principal and musician.

Selby will host a workshop where students will help him compose a song unique to the Missouri conference. The song will be performed at the end of the convention.

A special ceremony will be held for the Special Olympics, the state charity for the Missouri Association of Student Councils.

Weindel said she’s excited for the opportunity of hosting the event for the Student Council members.

“It’s the fact that they’ve had so much involvement in planning such a huge event,” she said, “making phone calls, doing presentations and learning accountability. They’re responsible for 900 people and they’ve got to make something happen. They’ve worked really hard.

“I think the biggest goal is to have the convention be everything we planned for it to be for students and advisers — to meet their expectations and expectations of the kids,” Weindel said.