Students and advisers attending the Missouri Association of Student Councils State Convention last week at Washington School gave the event high marks.
And Washington High School Student Council members and advisers said the event was a complete success.
WHS hosted the convention March 14-16. It brought more than 700 students and 200 advisers from across Missouri here.
On Friday, after a day packed full of leadership activities, workshops and guest speakers, students visited the Washington fairgrounds, where they took part in line dancing, hayrides, ate dinner and socialized with other Student Council members.
Some of the students and advisers also took time out to share their thoughts of the convention with The Missourian.
Lindsey Kelley, a junior at Fox High School in Arnold, said her favorite event so far was line dancing, which was going on just behind her.
“It’s definitely a good workout,” she said.
Kelley said she was going home with a lot of homecoming and spirit day ideas for her school.
“It’s going really good. I like the energy here,” she said.
Another junior at Fox High School, Sam Siebert, agreed.
“I’ve learned that you can’t just sit on the sidelines. You have to make a difference and be a part of people’s lives,” she said.
Siebert said she was enjoying working on a song with Monte Selby, one of the guest speakers at the event.
“All of the stuff they have planned for us has been so awesome. I can’t even imagine all the work that must have gone into it,” she said. “I’m so thankful to Washington High School for putting on such a great convention. It’s been amazing,” Siebert said.
Steve Henrius, a junior at East High School in Kansas City, couldn’t pick one favorite aspect of the event and said he loved everything. Though he did particularly enjoy the speech by WHS alum Rocky Sickmann, a U.S. Marine who spent 444 days as a hostage in Iran in 1979-80.
WHS Student Council President Taylor Straatmann said she was pleased with how the event was going as well.
“It’s been going really great. Everything has been going off without a hitch. Even the weather is cooperating,” she said.
Straatmann said she was particularly proud of the opening session.
“It’s definitely what we worked the hardest for and it went perfectly,” she said. “It was great to get everyone here and see how excited they were about it.”
Straatmann also thanked the schools in attendance and the many community members who helped with the event.
“We could never imagine how big the event would be and how well it would go,” she said.
Student Council advisers from other schools praised Washington High School and the community for how well the convention was going.
Many complimented the community involvement and said Washington was very welcoming.
“It’s been great,” said Julie Dorsam, an adviser with Brenard Middle School in St. Louis.
“There are a lot of activities, and it’s very well organized,” she said. “Everybody has been very welcoming and kind.”
Dorsam added that the guest speakers were “phenomenal” and praised Dr. Frank Wood, WHS principal.
“He is probably one of the best ones I’ve met at these conventions,” she said. “He seems to be involved in everything and it’s great to see him. You can tell he’s excited about his school and his kids.”
Dorsam said she’s attended eight state conventions and this year has been one of the best.
Another middle school adviser, Barb Barkho, Fulton Middle School, said the community involvement in Washington impressed her.
“I don’t think I’ve seen the community so involved in any other convention,” she remarked. “I’ve been to two other (conventions) and this is the most I’ve seen the community be involved. It’s not just the school.”
Troy Crawford, a Trenton Middle School adviser, agreed.
“Washington has been wonderful to us,” he said. “I’m very appreciative of the community.”
Rosanne Snider, St. Francis Borgia Regional High School adviser, also said she was proud of her community and the WHS kids.
Snider said every detail was thought out and everything was running smoothly.
“I’m very proud to be a part of Washington. The (WHS) Student Council and the support of the community has been overwhelming,” Snider said. “I’m not sure how you pull something like this off, but they did it, again.”
Advisers also complimented the choice of guest speakers.
“The speakers have been really inspiring,” said Monica Kircher, Hazelwood West High School, noting that Karen Dawson’s speech about giving back was her favorite.
“I’ve never been to Washington and I love it,” she said. “It’s very friendly, cozy and welcoming.”
The WHS Student Council is under the direction of Julie Weindel and Cathy Jinkerson.
Washington last hosted the convention during the 2000-01 school year, under the direction of Karen Dawson.