Woodgrove Student Council Attends the VSCA Convention

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Written by Adrian Gonzalez

The Woodgrove High School student council attended the Virginia Student Council Association convention March 24-26 in Norfolk to learn skills that will aid their leadership of Woodgrove’s student body. Several Woodgrove students ran for state officer positions with junior Derrick Shockey being elected state president.

The Virginia Student Council Association (VSCA) held its 91st annual state convention for all qualifying schools in the Virginia High School League. At the convention, general sessions and school caucuses are held to elect school positions. Learning labs and other activities are held during the convention, all of which lead to the election of state officers and regional representatives. These activities are the “culminating events of the convention” according to the VSCA Bylaws.

Shockey, elected state president, joins the ranks of two other Woodgrove students who have also been elected to the position. The members of the Woodgrove student council are proud of Shockey and are looking forward to his presidency.

Freshman class president Maryam Khan said, “I think he’ll do an amazing job; he has the experience and is perfectly capable.”
This is Shockey’s first year being involved in the Student Council Association. He had never before been involved in any class councils or school councils. Regardless, Shockey began to participate this school year and was chosen as Woodgrove’s candidate for state president.

“I feel that he is the perfect man for the job. I think Derrick is passionate and his attention to detail is just what the organization needs,” student council sponsor Jeff Schutte said. “It didn’t surprise me that he won; he gave a really good speech.”

Along with candidates for state officers, Woodgrove had several students running learning labs at the convention. Khan ran the Young Leaders lab where she taught middle schoolers about leadership.

Khan said, “I am going to be running a learning lab for middle schoolers telling them that they can do things even though they are young. I believe I can help them considering I am a young leader myself.”

Khan also said she hopes to continue to learn how to be a better leader at Woodgrove and be able to meet others who strive to be leaders at their schools as well. Khan wants to grow into a more capable leader so she can help Woodgrove’s students as well as she can.

Sophomore class council advisor Thomas Acquino recognized the importance of leadership skills. Acquino said, “Learning leadership skills is extremely important when getting into college and into the workforce because great leadership skills give a person an edge when getting a job. Leadership skills aren’t just leadership skills.”

Woodgrove’s student council participated greatly in the convention aside from running learning labs. They proposed resolutions such as having the same classes in all of Virginia, a community service requirement, and student firewalls.

Khan, on the importance of resolutions, said, “We can voice the opinion of students to the school board.”
Of the three resolutions, the community service requirement resolution was denied while the others passed. The limit and revision of student firewalls, or blocks on certain websites, passed unanimously.

On day two of the convention, a discussion of various topics was held with the Virginia Board of Education chairman of the Committee on School and Division Accountability, Diane Atkinson. More inclusive Family Life Education classes, comprehending English exams, technology enhanced tests, and others were discussed. There were disagreements and agreements on all topics discussed.

In regards to technology enhanced tests, some believed the test is “trapping” the students and increasing their chances of answering incorrectly, thus resulting in a lower score. Another person argued saying that there are directions to guide the test taker.

More inclusive Family Life Education classes were discussed widely. Most agreed with the idea, saying that awareness is needed and ignorance will be limited with the proper education.

Overall, the convention was deemed a success by those who attended. One went as far as to say that it was a “huge success.” Students at Woodgrove hope the skills learned will help the school and its leaders grow.

Freshman Erika Mathov said, “I hope the student council learns how to be unique leaders that think for themselves. No one wants a generic person to lead them; they would rather have someone who stands out and represents the uniqueness that we all have.”