The candidates stood nervously in the lobby of Jenison Junior High the morning of September 26. After weeks of campaigning it was finally time to read their carefully prepared speeches over the loud speaker, hoping to sway their potential constituents with one final impassioned plea.
Faculty advisers, Kevin Fales and Mallory DeFouw were kept busy wrangling the nervous energy and doling out plenty of encouraging high fives. When Mrs. Breen welcomed the school to the start of the day the student body was given some reminders for voting and one by one the students stepped to the microphone. Each of the speeches were unique, mixing in rhymes and snazzy catch phrases, along with specific promises and plans for the year and letting their fellow students know of their qualifications for the job.
The student body chose one representative from either the 7th or 8th grade classes for the officer positions: President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Additionally, there are 16 — 18 Class Representatives elected to allow as many students as possible to be involved. “We have a lot of great kids running for Student Congress this year; it’s going to be a very tough competition”. — Mrs. Heather Breen, JJHS Vice Principal
8th Grader, Abby Smith, ran for Secretary because of her love of writing and she feels that her experience as a class representative last year will make her the best fit for the job. “I give everything I can to make the school a better place.” Abby started her campaigning back in June and passed out bracelets, water bottles and even “Abby Smith” stickers on Starburst candies.
Treasurer candidate 8th grader, Mady Tease, was hoping her promise to fill the now-empty vending machines with healthy snacks, flavored water and Gatorade would sway some votes her way. She would also like to see a Junior High Cat Pack take shape to support their many sports teams. Another hot topic on Mady’s agenda is developing a new fundraiser to replace Donut sales that were a weekly fundraising mainstay until the new Smart Snacks in Schools initiative was passed this summer.
John Maday, 8th grader, another candidate for Secretary brings a year of experience as a Class Representative and he’s good at writing acknowledging that Language Arts is his best subject.
Owen Maurice, 8th grade Presidential candidate is already on his way to success with a firm handshake and strong eye contact! He believes he’ll make the best President because he has great leadership qualities. He wasn’t on the Student Council last year but his older sister was and he thought it looked fun so he decided to give it a try.
Once elected, the Student Congress will be in charge of organizing two school-wide assemblies and planning fundraisers to replace the ever-popular Donut sales. One of the ideas that is being discussed early on is that students could buy a sticker which allows them to wear a hat or their pj’s for the day. And the long-standing tradition of buying carnations on Valentine’s Day will be the responsibility of the Student Congress who are in charge of operating the sales tables, collecting money and organizing the distribution. However, their biggest job for the year is organizing the “Your Change Can Change Hunger” campaign which takes place in mid-November. Last year Jenison Junior High was the leading school in the district and under the direction of Mrs. DeFouw, they “plan to maintain that”.
Mrs. Defouw added, “No matter who gets elected it’s going to be a fun group that gets things done and I can see some of the ideas being put in place with this group of kids.”
President: Kelsey Bobeldyk
Vice President: Gabriel Herdegen
Secretary: John Maday
Treasurer: Mady Tease
Sydney Sigler, Yei-Rin Han, Danika Austin, Zach Avery, Scout Moran, Ethan Casarez, Elizabeth Tower, Owen Maurice, Nicholas Slagter, Alex Prus, Natalie Sytsma, Hannah Blake,
Isabelle Boonyasith, Emma Scout, Abby Smith, Megan TerHaar, Olivia Davis, Teddy Williams