Board seeks to reignite school spirit
By Halle Wyatt, Co-Content Editor
After a campaign fueled by donuts, specially designed pins, and a mixture of optimism and determination, juniors Talia Spurlock and Alexia Taisey have been elected as co-presidents of the ASB Executive Board. They are joined by vice presidents Jeremiah Bogaard and Cameron Bedard, secretary Maya Harrison, treasurer Jackie Bostock, and sound commissioners Chris Fontina and Kylie Cemulini.
Spurlock and Taisey have been taking leadership classes since junior high and have been involved in ASB student cabinets throughout high school. Spurlock was also elected on the McMurray student council prior to her experience with ASB.
“I’ve always kind of had the mentality [that by] being very involved in the school … you’ll get the best school experience,” Spurlock said.
Taisey is also motivated by the desire to make high school more enjoyable for her peers.
“I went to elementary school in Seattle, and it was really not a fun place, so I wanted to make school actually fun for myself and for other people,” she said.
Although junior Bogaard doesn’t have experience with the student council, he believes his leadership participation in other activities has given him the experience needed to be a strong co-vice president.
“I’ve done some coaching in West Seattle for basketball,” Bogaard said. “Just working with people in general has helped me learn how to treat everyone right, and to make sure everyone’s needs are met.”
Junior Harrison has been involved in ASB since being elected into the junior cabinet. While she did take a leadership class her freshman year, Harrison wishes she had joined student government earlier.
“I kind of put it off, and I really wish I [had]n’t,” she said. “I kind of regret not doing it my sophomore year. But … I started it this year, and I’m having a really good time so far.”
Sophomores Fontina and Cemulini have both taken leadership classes in high school. While Fontina has been involved in student government since sixth grade, Cemulini has gained experience through working on the regional youth board of the Northwest Pony Club.
Junior Bostock served as sound commissioner on Executive Board for the 2018-2019 school year, and also took leadership her freshman year. She decided to run for treasurer with the goal of improving the school.
“I just want to make things more fun,” Bostock said. “No one… seems to care about anything ASB does. … I think the more that we do to make it noticed, the more people will care and the more they’ll try.”
Despite differences in experience, the new elects hope that, next year, they can address the decline in school spirit. Taisey and Spurlock believe that one reason for the decline in spirit over the past years is the lack of student opinion taken in by ASB.
“ASB stands for the [Associated] Student Body,” Spurlock said. “We’re supposed to represent the student body and … our mission is to really bridge that gap between [the executive] board and … the student body because I think the way for us to make people involved again, and to make the school more spirited, is to figure out what people want.”
Spurlock and Taisey also want to decrease the disconnect between the student body and the administration. They believe that the decline of school spirit is related to the lack of impact that student opinion has on administrative decisions.
“I just got accepted onto the superintendent’s Student Advisory Board,” Spurlock said. “That gives us a platform now because I have [a] way into the school board of getting our opinions out and knowing what we can and cannot do.”
Although Bogaard and Bedard are also interested in fixing the divide between students and staff, they’re looking at the gap from both perspectives.
“I feel like the administration is just trying to help us,” Bedard said. “They’re not punishing us for anything that the students do.”
Bogaard believes this disconnect is natural in any high school environment.
“I think there’s always going to be a tension … between students … and the staff just because of positions,” he said. “I think we could help fix that but … I don’t think there’s a certain step-by-step solution that could bring everyone together.”
Dismissing new stereotypes of how to behave at school could also improve the school’s social environment.
“There’s always that image of being ‘too cool for school,’” Spurlock said. “I think a lot of people … are so focused on trying to grow up so fast and go to college and go to the next step.”
The executive board believes that raising school spirit will improve students’ moods and elevate their high school experience.
“[School spirit] makes school more enjoyable,” Taisey said. “If you don’t have any spirit, you’re going to school on a regular day, [but with spirit] you’re going to school on a day where you get to dress up like a superhero.”
Bedard also recognizes the importance of school spirit to his own experiences.
“I love being more involved,” Bedard said. “I’m sure everyone else does, too.”
Spurlock believes that something as simple as positive energy can make a big difference in a student’s life.
“There [are] so many dark parts of high school that I really think that small things like school spirit bring back the fun in school,” she said.
The values that they plan to bring with them into the upcoming school year are aimed at making the school a more comfortable space for students to thrive.
“We really want to make sure that every single student feels like they belong here,” Spurlock said. “We want to make sure that kids feel like they’re in a safe environment, and they’re in a fun environment where they can express themselves.”
The Executive Board also will be working to increase attendance at girls sports games, an issue that ASB has dealt with in the past.
“Our main thing is connection,” Taisey said. “We want everybody to feel connected. We want the school to be connected.”
Board seeks to reignite school spirit