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Student Senate Honors Seniors, Elects New Officers

Virtual Spirit Day example June 4, 2020 — Mound Westonka High School’s Student Senate wrapped up the year in an unexpected way this spring. While the school year was met with many successful events and activities, the ending months were spent bringing MWHS students and staff together via virtual events and spirit days.

The year started with planning retreats, leadership forums and quickly jumped into Homecoming and Be the Change Week. Other successful events like the WeCAN holiday drive and Stuff the Bus for the Westonka Food Shelf were organized and presented by these student leaders. 

When faced with the challenge of distance learning, Student Senate turned to social media as a way to keep MWHS together and connected. Spring events like the MWHS Variety Talent Show and prom were held through social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram.

“This is a year we will never forget! While the fall brought us a record number of dance goers at Homecoming, and spring saw us surprising our prom court at their homes—it was truly unexpected,” said advisor Jamie Harms. “But Senate did as Senate always does; we persevered and we continued to lead."

After all events closed for the year, Student Senate held general elections via an online platform. While elections have consisted of digital ballots for four years now, campaign week and presentation of candidates looked much different this year. Applications for Senate included a self-reflection assessment, a teacher evaluation, a self-written mission statement and a 15-minute interview with Senate advisors. 

Campaign week was held May 18-22, culminating in elections on May 22. New members were announced on May 26, followed by officer elections via a Zoom meeting on May 29.  

Five seniors from the Class of 2020 will be recognized at the graduation ceremony in June or July for their years of service to Senate, including two seniors who served all five years on Senate. The advisors want to thank this group of seniors for their resilience and dedication to MWHS, noting that their leadership was greatly appreciated during the spring distance learning.

Graduating members include Connor Prok, President (five years); Hampton Velarde (five years); Elexis Jolicouer, Executive Committee Leader (four years); Claire Russik (two years), and Robby Brustrad (one year). Their years of service and hard work were recognized by Senate advistors at the end of year social distancing barbecue on May 30. 

Newly elected 2020-2021 Student Senate members include:

Seniors: Alyssa Bourdon, Lily Donelan, Claire Ficek, Nathan LaLuzerne, Carson Meritt, Amelia Pettitt, Jadyn Rice and Liza Ruegmer. Kate Moch will serve as an honorary member.

Juniors: Caleb Abernethy, Ingrid Aufderheide, Hallie Dierbeck, Jake Gaylord, Selamnesh Gough, Gabrielle LaFortune, Blake Lee and Ella Rose Walters.

Sophomores: Serenity Bownik, Sam Dioszeghy, Sara Funderburk, Ellen Pruitt, Laura Sunnarborg and Naresh Thakurdial.

Freshmen: Olivia Adam, Kate Ficek, Sammy Krahl, Natalie Miner, Chloe Rice and Kendall Sebasky

The eighth-grade elections will take place in the fall of 2020.

Six officers were elected by their peers on May 29. New officers include Co-Presidents Claire Ficek and Amelia Pettitt, Vice President Jadyn Rice, Secretary Alyssa Bourdon, Communications Officer Ingrid Aufderheide, and Treasurer Caleb Abernethy. Three additional members have been appointed to the Executive Board for the 2020-2021 school year. Hallie Dierbeck and Blake Lee will serve as committee execs, and Jake Gaylord will serve as the executive director, overseeing all committee execs. 

Senate is also excited to announce that Ficek and Dierkbeck were also elected to serve on the MASC (Minnesota Association of Student Councils) Hennepin Division Board. Dierbeck will serve as the 2020-2021 secretary, and Ficek will serve as the president of the division. 

“We missed out on hosting our first ever Survivor Week this spring, so I think that is going to bring something new and exciting to MWHS next year!” said Ficek.

Senate will start their year in August with their annual planning retreat and officially kicks off their first events of the new year – a back-to-school breakfast for staff and the 9/11 flag tribute. Senate looks forward to next fall hopefully bringing MWHS back together with Homecoming festivities the week of October 5-10.

“Next year we will be unstoppable,” said Petitt. “We have a really strong group of students and hope that our student body will follow us and be proud to be White Hawks alongside us!”

“We are so proud of the accomplishments of this group and look forward to what 20-21 throws our way,” added Harms.

About MAHS/MASC

MAHS/MASC is an organization that provides high schools and middle level schools, advisors, and students with an opportunity to participate in leadership activities to better themselves, their student councils and honor societies, and their schools. Through local, region, state, and national meetings and conventions, students get the opportunity to participate in the governmental process, interact with students from other schools, participate in service projects, and develop strong social and leadership skills.