By Becca Neuger
A total of 134 high school student leaders and their advisors spent the day at Mound Westonka High School Nov. 12 for the Minnesota Association of Student Councils/Honor Societies (MASC/MAHS) Hennepin Division fall meeting.
Joining 30 MWHS Student Senate members were representatives from Wayzata, Monticello, Hiawatha Collegiate, Maple Lake, Mayer Lutheran, Buffalo, Orono and Fridley high schools. According to MWHS Student Senate advisor Jamie Harms, this was the largest turnout for a MASC/MAHS Hennepin Division meeting in years.
The MWHS delegation had the opportunity to showcase the Westonka School District’s new community facilities throughout the day of learning. Following breakfast in the MWHS cafeteria, the group moved into the 611-seat Westonka Performing Arts Center for welcoming addresses given by MWHS Student Senate President Alex Kline, MWHS Principal Mark McIlmoyle, MASC Hennepin Division President Charlie Ellis from Orono High School and Director of Student Activities for MASC/MAHS Doug Erickson.
Nate Eklund, former teacher and author of “How Was Your Day at School?”, was the keynote speaker. His book was a product of his time at the Minnesota Search Institute.
MWHS senior Asha Martel said she really enjoyed Eklund’s talk. “He was great about finding a way to make each of us really think about what we want to be like as leaders in our school,” Martel said. “He had each student council/senate make specific goals for their schools. This was fun to challenge our own student senate to think about what we really wanted to do this year.”
The large group also utilized space in the new Westonka Activity Center for “bleacher talks,” during which students discussed “hot topics” in mixed groups from different schools. Topics included: fundraising, school spirit, school safety, student mental health and general health, communications and technology. During this time, advisors participated in a short workshop led by Erickson.
Kline said she took away several ideas from the bleacher talks that could be implemented at MWHS. “The bleacher talks were a great experience, to be able to talk about a variety of topics with students from other schools,” said Kline. “It was cool to learn about how other student councils do things that we tend to struggle with. Our entire senate came out of Monday energized and ready to bring some new information to our school.”
The MWHS Student Senate is advised by Harms and Dale Kimball.