ASB convention showcases political spirit

The second annASBual ASB convention, held April 28, served to elect junior Leah King as ASB vice-president and juniors Caitlyn Gilbert and MacKenzie Utley as student activities/dance commissioners. Four delegates from each 5th period class were chosen to represent a given state in the Union, mirroring the Democratic and Republican national conventions— overall there were 35 states that had delegates submitted, and a few others—territories such as Cuba and Puerto Rico also had representatives in attendance .

“I like the idea of showing students what representative government really is,” said Student Activities Director Corey Uhalde, who both organized and moderated the convention.   

“We wanted it to be loosely modeled after the political system we have in this country, so not only was it an educational experience, it was also a fun afternoon in which kids got to work on their public speaking skills.”

Vice-president and student activities/dance commissioner were the only two contested positions on the ballot, meaning vice-presidential hopefuls Leah King and Jeanette Marino would face off alongside the pairs running for activities commissioners—MacKenzie Utley and Caitlin Gilbert and Lauren Berry with Caitlin Williams.

Next year’s ASB president Shayan Weera, treasurer Andrew Acevedo and secretary Katie Uthman were automatically appointed into their positions. Weera, Acevedo and Uthman all gave brief speeches to the group of delegates at the convention as a preview of their plans in office for the 2016-17 school year.

Before the state representatives voted on the contested positions of ASB vice-president and student activities/dance commissioner, Redwood City Councilwoman Janet Borgens presented a keynote in which she spoke about creativity and communication, among other things.

To create a realistic political environment, four representatives were chosen from each 5th period class to attend the convention and act as a voice for all students not in ASB.

As a part of the election process, the candidates were prompted with pre-arranged questions. In addition to the questions they had prepared for 20 minutes prior to the convention, the states were also open to ask the candidates questions pertaining to their candidacy.

I like that it’s an opportunity for people to actually hear [the candidates] answer specific questions instead of it being a popularity contest,” said King. “I appreciate the aspect that the crowd could ask us questions, it’s nice to be able to reach out to a wider range of people.

After the question and answer session, states were able to submit comments and send messages on slips of paper to other states while the votes for vice-president and student activities/dance commissioner were tallied. The convention soon took on a more humourous mood as the representatives from Nebraska and South Carolina seceded from the United States and multiple states declared war on Tennessee.

Despite the light-hearted mood of the convention at times, the overall aim was to include the opinions of all students at Sequoia, not just those involved with ASB.

“The student leaders are the representatives for the entire student body, so we want to make sure all students [outside of ASB] feel like they are involved in the process and get to see behind the scenes what goes on when electing those candidates into the positions of power for the upcoming school year.” Uhalde said.
Photo credit to Jackson Peyton