New NHS Leaders Elected
By Jason Carpenter
March is here, marking a time for the annual Novato High Associated Student Body (ASB) elections. The future of our school was in the hands of two finalists, juniors McKenzie Wegner and Rhett Martino. They both worked hard to reach their goal of becoming the student-body president for the 2018-2019 school year. In the end, Rhett Martino was the winner, as McKenzie Wegner became the vice president.
Wegner discussed running for ASB president.
“Through leadership, I have been able to grow as an independent leader greatly,” said Wegner. “I have been fortunate enough to head committees and groups, work as a teammate in projects, and step out of my comfort zone independently. Personally, I believe I have grown to be very precise, organized, and open-minded as a leader. A lot of people are scared of change and scared of changing tradition, but I think change is exciting and can open a lot of new doors and opportunities for our school.”
Last year, current president Marisa Raras delivered a wonderful speech during her campaign. Raras has a done an effective job improving our school this year with the help of vice president Molly Gibbons and the ASB Leadership class.
The week of March 19th through the 23rd featured an exciting election campaign, filled with speeches, posters, and finalists vying to become the next president. Monday of that week was a minimum day, but featured the election speeches. Tuesday was the fundraising barbecue and “Meet and Greet,” where candidates handed out candy and said things like, “Vote for me.”
During election week, voting was open until Friday March 23rd. Presidents were announced at the end of 5th period. Staff also had the opportunity to vote as well, enabling the whole NHS community to get involved.
President Rhett Martino explained why he ran for president and the essential qualities of being a leader.
“Being able to listen to every student voice, knowing students individually and as a student body, and having actual leadership experience are key qualities,” said Martino. “I have served on NHS and MSA student councils to give voice to all students. I’ve taken a leadership role on several projects since my freshman year. For example, I represented the student body in community meetings about our awesome solar panels in the parking lot, and right now I’m focused on getting a wellness center for our campus.”
Despite the administrators, board members, teachers, and superintendents creating most of the school’s policies and changes in the school, the student voice is invaluable and just as important for our school’s success.
Teamwork between the president and administration is critical during the school year. The administration has to value the ideas of the student-body president and vice versa.
“A huge part of being ASB president is the connection and position you have of being able to communicate your ideas and opinions with the administration,” said Wegner. “I think this relationship is extremely important as the ASB-Leadership class is a select group of voices, and I think the admin truly values the input that the class and presidents provide.”
Wegner and Martino have great ideas and visions for the next school year.
”This school needs more functioning lockers, more nurse availability, and drinking fountains,” said Martino. “I do know how to lobby for the voices of all students, and right now, these are the issues students I’ve talked to care most about. I also want to see better lights on the football field, and if there’s a way the student body can raise money for them, I want to be involved in that as well.”
Along with the ASB president, the three class presidents were also decided, sophomore, junior, and senior. Sophomores Hailee Seehusen and Kiara Vasquez ran for junior-class president, ultimately resulting in a presidential victory for Kiara Vasquez as Hailee Seehusen will take the role of vice president.
Both junior class president candidates had different, but unique, visions about the direction of the school. They will now work together to make changes for Novato High.
“My focus really stems from the needs of the students,” said Vasquez. “Whatever they want, I will absolutely push as hard as I can to accomplish. I really want this school to put much more of a focus and importance on mental health. The school needs to better recognize that these issues are real and prohibitive and we can’t deal with it on our own. We need resources, recommendations and consideration when it prevents us from learning.”
Successful classes need the right leader in place. The top leaders are often good listeners, as Vasquez described.
“While going through this process and doing a lot of thinking, I’ve really discovered that I care quite a lot about the student voice in a school,” said Vasquez. “I’ve never been very popular and I’d really like to be a voice and an advocate to the underdog. I'm driven by a desire to make change and actually improve the lives of the students here, in and out of the classroom.”
Class presidents also need to publicize and spread awareness for school spirit and activities, whether it is academic, sports, or art-related.
“Next year my plan is to help better publicize games and performances and to create more attendance and participation in events,” said Seehusen. “I also want to host fundraisers that raise class spirit at the same time as putting a lot more money in the class of 2020 account.”
Freshman Emilia Oblites and junior Sophia Scafani were strong candidates, both of whom ran unopposed on their way to victories, respectively, for sophomore- and senior-class presidents.
In addition to prom, senior-class president plays a key role in event planning, morale, and fundraising.
Scafani shared her vision and goals for the next school year.
“My ideas are fundraising, car washes, morp, more dances and spirit, hopefully the lip dub this year can happen but if not, my goal is for it to happen next year too,” said Scafani.
Next year, our president and class presidents will look to build a brighter future for the students of Novato High.