By: Ashley Winterstein
With one successful term under their belts since their reorganization, the Kent Island High School Student Government Association (SGA) held their second round of nominations, campaigns, and elections this May.
Designed by James Evans, Kent Island High School SGA Advisor, and implemented by the SGA last year, the election proceedings once again mirrored the United States Presidential elections. The candidates were nominated by their peers, tallied, and then placed on the ballot. The campaigning commenced, with posters, hats, buttons, and t-shirts adorning the halls. The general population was also invited to a Speech Forum, which resembled a debate, where candidates were given the opportunity to address their fellow students and share their beliefs and ideas for the 2010-2011 school year.
With the campaigns and “Election Day” behind them and the votes officially counted by the Kent Island High School teachers and staff who make up the Elections Commission, SGA members began preparations for their 2nd Annual Presidential and Cabinet Inauguration.
The elaborate event was held on Monday, May 17, 2010 in the Main Auditorium of Kent Island High School. A large crowd of family, friends, teachers, and students gathered to witness the oaths being administered to the 2010-2011 Class Officers, Senators, Justices, and Executive Board.
Kicking off the program this year was a processional of 21 National Flags, led by Reed Bjorntvedt who represented Scotland by wearing his full Scottish regalia while professionally playing solo on the bagpipes. Each flag that followed represented the family heritage of one or more SGA member. With each flag displayed, Paola Maldonado eloquently read the Nations of Flags and the purpose for each. She then captured the audience by displaying the SGA’s diversity when she read the same purpose in fluent Spanish.
As Evans stated, “We understand that diversity is a very integral part of life on our campus and we work to inform the student body of its importance. The SGA provides academic, social, and transitional support in addition to programming, leadership training and inclusive workshops for ALL students and promotes exchange and dialogue between individuals of diverse backgrounds.”
Dr. Carol Williamson, Superintendent of Queen Anne’s County Public Schools, Denise Hershberger, Principal at Kent Island High School, Willie Waits, Academic Dean, and Jacki Carter, Character Counts! Coordinator were again present to express their support for the new officers elect. Genuine respect and encouragement were the recurring themes for the evening, as each addressed the officers with appreciation for taking on the task at hand and acknowledgement that they are prepared for the challenge.
Carter quoted Ralph W. Sockman when she reminded the students, “The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.” As the Character Counts! Coordinator and strong advocate for the Six Pillars of Character, Carter also urged the officers elect to use the principles of Positive Behavior
Intervention and Supports (PBIS) and Character Counts! as guideposts to help them in this endeavor.
Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) is an important tool used with the entire student body at KIHS to improve behavior and academic success. Because PBIS strives to decrease negative referrals and behaviors of bullying, harassment, drug abuse, and school crime, all SGA officers are expected to participate in and reinforce the ideals of the PBIS program.
Character Counts! has also been integrated into Kent Island High School classrooms and the training of SGA members and officers. Character Coaches visit individual classrooms in the ninth grade twice a month to teach students the importance of exemplifying the Six Pillars of Character -Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship. The importance of demonstrating good character is also written directly into the SGA Creed, as officers are expected to practice honesty and loyalty, observe freedom of expression, and permit fellow students to realize their full potential.
These familiar tools will be combined with additional training throughout the school year. Their hard work will begin with a mandatory All Day In-Depth Leadership Training Conference on June 12, 2010. The Conference will focus on Leadership, Success, Goal Setting, Making Decisions, and Solving Problems. These sessions will help prepare them for fairly representing the diverse population of Kent Island High School.
SGA President for the 2010-2011 school year, Alex Wentz, is excited about this opportunity, saying “I personally felt honored with the attendance of all the families and friends of all those inducted. I was overwhelmed with all of the support which was given to me. My plans for next year as president include the advancement of the Kent Island High School SGA and to fully represent the people. I plan to encourage PBIS in our school and to do my part in being a good role model.”
The SGA Presidential and Cabinet Inauguration was a clear indication that the 2010-2011 Executive Board, Justices, Senators, and Class Officers have earned the trust and respect of their classmates, teachers, and advisors. With the encouragement and support surrounding them, another successful year is sure to follow.
For more information on SGA at Kent island High School, contact James Evans at 410- 604-2070. For more information on the Character Counts! program in Queen Anne’s County, contact Jacki Carter at 410-758-6677 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Queen Anne’s County Character Counts! is a part of the Community Partnerships for Children and Families, our local management board.