Student Council leaders risk, and connect


Kenai Central High School heated up with nearly one hundred student council leaders convening for an annual day of planning, connection, and inspiration. With outdoor temperatures dipping to the low twenties for the first time as students and their advisors traveled from seven high schools, the enthusiasm thermometer rose swiftly when teens from Seward, Port Graham, Ninilchik, Nikiski, and Central Peninsula schools greeted each other with genuine friendship and anticipation. The Kenai Peninsula Native Youth Leaders participated, with student members from several high schools. 


 Growing connections 

Naming his PowerPoint “Leadership, Don’t Stand Still,” KPBSD Superintendent Dr. Steve Atwater may have surprised students when he explained that leaders take chances, and leadership is not about equilibrium or being a good manager. Rather, he said, “leadership requires a vision, and taking risks.” He shared a quote from Brian Tracy: “The starting point of great success and achievement has always been the same. It is for you to dream big dreams. There is nothing more important, and nothing that works faster than for you to cast off your own limitations than for you to begin dreaming and fantasizing about the wonderful things that you can become, have, and do.” 


 Each school votes for student committee representatives 

Providing a keynote address, Joe Arness, the School Board of Education president said, “The connections you are making today are very important.” Forty-three years ago Arness was the Kenai Central High School student body president, and on this day in 2011, he gazed around the room nodding with support, and affirming the students said, “you want to be leaders and participate.” He offered three tips: “define where you want to go in a clear enough manner it makes sense; know what you intend to do to get there; and know where to find support for what you want to do.” Arness explained nine qualities a leader needs: 

In the Green Room - candid, collaborative conversation between school leaders 
  • Integrity 
  • Innate intelligence 
  • Charisma 
  • Energy 
  • Optimism 
  • Confidence 
  • Humility 
  • Sense of humor 
  • Patience 


Team building starts the day

Elections for student members on district committees followed, with these outcomes: 

·         Budget Review Committee: Olivia Pfiefer, Kenai Peninsula High School 

·         Calendar Committee: Hannah Compos, Soldotna High School; Kimber Moonin, Port Graham 

·         Career and Technical Curriculum: Jed Wilde, Seward High School 

·         Instructional Materials Reconsideration Committee: Olivia Fair, Kenai Central High School 

·         Math Curriculum Committee: Matthew Bollerdick, Skyview High School 

·         School Board Representative: Annaleah Ernst, Nikiski High School 


 Kenai Peninsula Native Youth Leaders 

Making their candidate statements prior to the election, Olivia Pfeifer explained, “The Budget Review Committee is complex, interesting, and I want to give my point-of-view, and serve again this year.” Annaleah Ernst explained she would offer a “student voice on district policies and promote an online forum for students in the school district” if elected to be the student representative for the KPBSD School Board. Ernst was elected, and earlier in the day, Arness said the opinion and contributions of students who serve on the district committees are taken very seriously. 


 Chow time 

Two workshops were offered, along with a session for school student council presidents and activity directors to collaborate, share ideas, and gain insights from each other. Sal Matero offered tips for the importance of volunteering—and how to make good choices about where to spend valuable time. Rachel O’Brien presented “Resume Building and Interview Skills.” Student leaders carried a lively conversation sharing about ways to increase school spirit, create positive rivalry, fundraise, address school issues, and other topics relative to each school. 


 Talk time, sparking ideas 

In 2012, the KPBSD Student Council meeting will be hosted by Soldotna High School. In 2010, Seward High School hosted the annual gathering. Justin Carr, the host advisor this year from Kenai Central High School said a highlight for him is, “kids get together, and community leaders come in and inspire them—the students hear they are future leaders. It’s an excellent chance for them to network, and see other schools in the district.” Indeed! After spending September 27, 2011, at Kenai Central High School it’s simple: these students are leaders, and inspiring their schools, each other, and the diverse communities where they live.