by EMMA MALIBORSKI '16
We all remember our first few days of high school, and some of us have changed so much, we hardly recognize ourselves as we look back. It is all too easy to forget the struggle of picking the right polo for the first day of school (yellow or white?), finding the right room in the seemingly daunting campus for our first bell class (which we now know as well as our own homes), and trying to memorize faces and names (some of whom have become our best friends). The last thing most of us were thinking about was being a leader and standing out. But each year, a group of freshmen deviates from the norm.
The class of 2017 had 14 girls sign up for student council in September. Many of the girls participated in a student council program in grade school, but they each demonstrated a genuine desire to become involved in the school from their first month at St. Ursula and to get to know their classmates as well. Mrs. Baker, the freshman class moderator, pointed out that “girls who take on this role at the beginning of their freshman year do not need extra time as much as they need to implement leadership behavior in all that they do.” She recognizes that the girls who do not hesitate to put themselves out there at the onset of their high school career are welcoming, inclusive, bold, and respectful to all, including staff and administration. This is one of the reasons she enjoys moderating the freshman council. “It allows me to see potential school leaders from the very start of their high school careers. In the upcoming four years, the change in these students and how they mature and succeed is a huge opportunity and blessing for me to experience along with the girls,” she says of her position as moderator. As Mrs. Baker indicates, this four-year transformation from timid freshmen to women of faith, integrity, and courage is especially thrilling to watch, as freshman student council members often evolve to be the most influential students in their senior classes.
The freshman student council exceeded their goal of 25 boxes for Operation Christmas Child by leading their class in collecting 40 boxes.
Of course, the journey to being a senior leader at SUA begins right away in freshman year. The girls gave presentations in front of their class in September, and elections were held afterward. Mary Berding and Rose Temizer were elected by their classmates as freshman co-presidents, and they are prepared and excited for the responsibilities ahead. Rose summed up her leadership role by saying that her responsibility is “to be able to be a friend to anyone and a voice for everyone,” and Mary pointed out that although it was difficult to speak in front of her class, she hopes she can inspire her classmates to step out of their comfort zone and inspire others to try new things and make their high school experience the best it can be. She even acknowledges her obliviousness as a freshman, saying, “Even though we have been in school for a couple of months now, I think that some of us, including myself, are still somewhat clueless as to what Saint Ursula is all about. Having the ability to lead others can help us figure this all out together and I think this is the best way of uniting the freshman class.”
Agendas accompany these more abstract responsibilities that come with a leadership position. For the freshman student council, this means Operation Christmas Child, the freshman class service project, and the freshman semi-formal in February. Already, these 14 girls have proven themselves worthy of attention by exceeding their goal of collecting 25 boxes of gifts for children around the world by donating 40. Each girl agrees that the service project went well and they are excited for future projects. While they have started brainstorming ideas for the semi-formal, it will be no easy feat, seeing as they will be only the second class to plan their own freshman dance. However, if the results from Operation Christmas Child are any indication of their abilities, SUA can expect great things from the class of 2017. Co-president Mary Berding gives a promising statement for the main goal of the freshmen leaders: “My biggest goal for this year sounds simple but is probably easier said than done: To give the freshman class the best year they can at Saint Ursula by allowing them to getting to know each other!”
This article is the first in a series of articles concerning student council activities and events. Updates will be given in every issue about events such as Orange and White, the talent show, and Spirit Week, and full articles about other student council topics, such as this one. Continue to check back to get information about SUA’s student council!