Washington High School Student Council and Leadership Class members have hit the ground running in preparation for the 2013 Missouri Association of Student Councils State Convention to be held March 14-16.
WHS was elected president of the state convention during last year’s convention. As president, the school will host students from more than 150 middle and high schools across the state.
The convention theme is “From Country Roads to City Lights, STUCO Unites!”
“We tried to make it about Missouri and how there’s a country side to Missouri and there’s bigger cities and more urban parts,” said Taylor Straatmann, WHS Student Council president.
“We’re trying to pull in that it doesn’t matter where you come from, or even who you are in school,” added Julie Weindel, Student Council adviser. “The idea is to be united, be a leader and make a difference.”
During the convention, the group will host guest speakers and teach workshops on motivation, leadership, increasing school spirit, communication and other topics.
In June, five WHS Student Council officers attended the national convention in Oklahoma City to get ideas for the state convention.
Officers had the opportunity to meet students from all over the country and get input on what others are planning for their state conventions.
In July, officers also met with Terri Johnson, Missouri Association of Student Councils (MASC) executive director, to begin planning.
Earlier this week, Student Council members met with the other officer schools to work on planning the convention.
Officers include Jefferson City High School as vice president; Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Jefferson City as second vice president; and Timberland High School in Wentzville as secretary.
Weindel noted that all Missouri high schools and middle schools are invited to the convention and it’s a great opportunity for local schools to attend as well.
WHS Student Council anticipates about 800 students and about 200 advisers will be in attendance.
Advisers will stay in local hotels. All students will stay with local host families.
“I think (hosting the convention) is a really big honor for our community and our school,” Straatmann said. “It’s a great opportunity to show Washington and the high school to students and teachers all over the state, and to show off what we have to offer. It’s also really big for the community, so they can see all of these kids working together for a good cause and see what the future could be.”
Each student in Leadership Class is assigned to a committee, such as sponsorship, food, decorations and every facet of the convention.
Sponsorship is one of the biggest committees, Straatmann said, adding that the school will need many sponsors to help with financial costs and other donations, including items to promote the community.
Items such as folders, notebooks, pens and bottled water are needed and all community support will be appreciated. A vendor fair also will be held the first night of the convention, Weindel said.
For more information on sponsorships, people may email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The WHS Student Council also still host the annual Children’s Relay and all activities it usually sponsors throughout the year.
“Our leadership kids are very talented. If there was any group of kids I would say could manage all of (our activities), it would definitely be this group,” Weindel said. “We also have the support of 150 Student Council members who we’re going to lean on for support.”
At the national convention, the group enjoyed listening to guest speaker, Monte Selby, who impacted them so much that they wanted to have him speak at the state convention.
Selby is a school principal, musician and motivational speaker. During the convention here, 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.
Another guest speaker lined up is Tina Meyer, a St. Charles mother whose daughter committed suicide because of online bullying.
The convention will bring an estimated $500,000 to the community of Washington, Straatmann said, through booking caterers, the purchase of decorations, gas, hotels and other purchases.
The last time Washington hosted the conference was in 2001, under the leadership of Karen Dawson.