Senate to Strive for Positive Change

With the spring resignation of social studies teacher Rebecca Simpson, it was not until early December that not just one, but two Student Senate advisers were found.

[quote_center]“This fall no one took the Student Senate advising position. Ms. Simpson left, and I watched things for about three or four months and I thought, boy, we have to get that back. We need student input.”[/quote_center]

“This fall no one took the Student Senate advising position. Ms. Simpson left, and I watched things for about three or four months and I thought, boy, we have to get that back. We need student input,” said Student Senate Co-Adviser Paul Rykken.

Rykken is not new to advising this group. He is much a part of the Senate’s history, being the original adviser for a newly-founded Senate.

The Senate spent 2004-2005 writing a constitution which we had in place the following year. We had an elected body of 12 in the original Senate and about four or five kids who were working with me on the constitution itself,” said Rykken.

The Student Senate is a group of elected students from each grade who provide the school with a collective voice.

“We want students to be involved with the decision making that goes on in the building. We want the school to mirror a larger society, so the kids get the idea of representation, government, how to get involved, and the fact that you’ve got somebody representing you. You can sit in the classroom and learn about democracy and all that, but you aren’t getting it if you aren’t doing it,” said Rykken.

Along with Rykken, new social studies teacher Eli Youngthunder is advising the Senate this year.

“I decided to co-advise Student Senate because I like ideas, and I think it would be great for the student body to get involved with politics early. Honestly, I think we all know that people at young ages don’t always vote at a high percentage. So it would be nice to see the student body get involved, be productive, and be positive leaders for our school and community,” said Youngthunder.

This year’s Senate is going to take baby steps to getting back into the swing of things.

“This year we’re going to re-establish the Tibetan student sponsorship. We’re also going to work like heck to get the recycling program back because we really need that back.Then we’re just going to go from there. I have a feeling we’re going to start sort of small, just because we’ve got to get it going again. I have to realize that the only kids that remember when we had the Senate in this model are the seniors. We want to put a lot of emphasis on the younger kids learning about the Senate in this model so that when we come back in the fall we’ll be a lot stronger. So, I’m not going to have big, huge expectations right away because I just don’t think we can. We’re not going to be ready for that,” said Rykken.

The word to describe this year’s Student Senate would be change.

“I’d really like to see some positive leadership and positive change. I’d like to see some students step up and make this school an even better place,” said Youngthunder.

Not only are the advisers excited for this year’s Senate; so are the students.

“I hope that we get something accomplished. I think it would be cool to bring something new to the school. Or a new idea. Something along those lines because I think Student Senate is really important in making changes in our school. So it would be nice to have a change,” said three-year senator and last year’s vice president Kasey Kopp.

Many students are ready to embrace the challenges and changes.

“It will be nice to have Mr. Rykken back. Mr. Rykken knows what he is doing, and I am sure Mr. Youngthunder will do great as well. With Mr. Rykken there is a little more of a formal way of running things, so I think that will be really nice,” said Kopp.