Leadership, Service, and Engagement
Ghenesis Jhay Balaan | Maui High School
Leadership, service, and engagement to their respected schools and fellow students are some of the core values of student government. These groups of exceptional individuals work as a team to make your high school experience memorable from organizing school assemblies to creating schedules for spirit week. Student government takes on a variety of responsibilities and focuses around student activities in order to make the high school experience of their fellow peers enjoyable. Student government works as a representative body which voices the concerns and interests of students. Participating in student government provides an insight of the democratic system in which we are governed. Joining your school’s student council will allow you to form a tighter bond and connection with your school community. You will not only learn new skills and have amazing experiences in which you’ll meet new people but you will also have the opportunity to create a new network of people you can turn to in your future career.
“I decided to join student government because I wanted to experience what it would be like to be a leader within my peers and to also make students feel comfortable in our school,” said Maui High School Junior Class Historian Anna Mae Tumacder. To her, the role of student government in high school is to share other students’ ideas or concerns about the school to other students, teachers, or the principal. It influences the lives of students in high school by making them more comfortable with the environment and also their classmates. As a member of Maui High’s Student Government, she’s learned to take initiative and to be empathetic. Student council consists of a variety of personalities and working with a group of people with their own set of opinions can be difficult. However, Anna Mae is glad to be able to challenge herself through this learning experience. At times Anna Mae has a hard time balancing her life with extracurricular activities while also being a student. “I am able to balance student life, personal life, and being in an organization by just doing my work during school when there is time and doing work on my own time,” she added. She advises that more students should take part in student government so they can learn more about their school community and to have a platform to advocate for certain issues teens face such as mental health and bullying.
Maui High School senior Kylie Buere is the Senior Class President and also the Secretary for the Maui District Student Council. Kylie decided to join her school’s student government because she’s been in student government since the fourth grade. To her, the role of student government is to create a positive atmosphere at the school for all students. “As a student, we need a little fun to celebrate and create memories to make high school a little more bearable,” she added. Participating in student government has taught her the importance of communication. Communication is a key necessity to make events and activities successful. Without a good communication network, planning can be stressful and overwhelming if not everyone in the council is working together to inform what has been done and what still needs to be done. “As a class president, I have been in situations where I had a hard time making decisions for my class. To resolve them, I would communicate with my council to know their thoughts and feelings. I would also lay out the pros and cons of the different choices,” she said.
Nicole Buere is Maui High School’s Junior Class Vice-President. She believes teamwork plays a vital role in making student government functional because in student government it is not all about you or individual tasks. You work as a team with the whole council in order to accomplish everything that needs to be done. “Communicating and working as a team is what gets things done in this club,” she said. Being in a leadership position, there will always be a lot of pressure on you from the school staff and students. “A lot of pressure is on you because if a certain thing doesn’t go as planned, there will be a lot of trouble. One thing that is hard when it comes to planning events is that it’s difficult to plan things that everyone would like because we’re not the same person. We all have different interests and personality,” she added. This is why teamwork is the most important lesson she’s learned. They had to hear each others’ opinions first and not disregard each others. Nicole advises students to take part in student government because it teaches skills they can use in their daily and future life.
To Maui High School Junior Regine Udarbe, some of her fondest memories of her high school career comes from student government. She is currently serving as Junior Class Secretary. Student government allows students like her to make a positive impact at her school. “We created experiences for our fellow peers to enrich their time outside of class like prom,” she added. Being able to plan events for her class and watching her peers come together as one in order to make a difference in her school community gives her a sense of fulfillment. Being part of an organization such as student government comes with challenges. However, by overcoming these obstacles at a young age you are able to develop important skills you will utilize in the future. Regine said, “My time in student government has made a huge impact of who I am today. It gave me the opportunity to develop my communication skills, confidence, and friendships.” Student government has allowed Regine to gain a clearer idea of what she wants to do as her future career because she’ll be graduating from high school in about a year. She is grateful for the experience student government has exposed her to because she’s learned skills vital for the next step to her future.
Student government is made up of outstanding students who are the voice of their fellow peers in school. They have the power to spread awareness to their community of their peers’ interest and concerns. Teens who participate in this extracurricular activity are exposed to a variety of opportunities in school and beyond. However, their main role is to create a positive atmosphere in their schools and make their fellow students’ high school career memorable and enjoyable. They work closely with their council made up of other students under the guidance of their teacher advisors. Through this experience they are able to expand their knowledge about the basic idea of the government structure of the United States and also open their mind to the world of politics. Being in such an organization allows students to develop skills, gain self-confidence, and overall become a better version of themselves. Because of student government, students are able to pave a path to their future through leadership, service, and engagement.
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This month’s guest columnist is Ghenesis Jhay Balaan, a Junior at Maui High School attending its Culinary and Health CTE Pathway. He is a two-year member of Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) and served as its Council Treasurer in 2017–2018. Ghenesis hopes to become a respiratory therapist in the future. He is the eldest son of Benjamin V. Ballesteros Jr. and Jerameelyn B. Ballesteros.