1,200 students come to Helena for annual meeting

2012-10-22T16:19:00Z 2012-10-22T17:18:13Z 1,200 students come to Helena for annual meetingBy SANJAY TALWANI Independent Record Helena Independent Record
October 22, 2012 4:19 pm  • 

Should grade point averages be weighted at smaller high schools that offer fewer honors and Ad-vanced Placement classes? Should physical education classes be required even for students involved in sports? How about school lunches? Is a federally derived, one-size-fits-all approach the best for por-tions and choices?

The Montana Association of Student Councils passed resolutions on these and many other matters in a business meeting in the Old Supreme Court Chambers in the Montana State Capitol Monday. It was one of many events, workshops and roundtables with about 1,200 middle- and high schools student from across the state in Helena for the 58th annual conference of the group.

The business meeting resembled a parliamentary exercise in a political science class, but these were actual resolutions by an actual group of student leaders, making their views known to the school admin-istrators with the real authority.

Each participating high school sent three delegates to the business meeting, and the chair recognized speakers for and against the various resolutions and the delegates voted by holding up green or red signs.

Some of the student leaders were old hands. Jayson Lundberg began in student government in sixth grade. Now he’s president of the junior class at Hardin High School.

“The initial reason why I joined was to help set up dances and get stuff going,” he said. “In high school, it gets a lot bigger. You have a lot more responsibility.”

Now it’s not just dances but fundraising (for both school events, such as this trip to Helena, and to outside charities) and providing a voice for students on things that matter to them in their education.

The principal at Hardin, Keith Campbell (who left this year to be superintendent of the Miles City Unified School District) gave the students a lot of say on matters like rules and scheduling related to a new addition at the high school, Lundberg said. The new principal, Rob Hankins, also appears to be listening.

“Sometimes students do know what’s best for the school,” Lundberg said.

In various events, groups of students heard from local leaders about possibilities for their future and their notions of leadership. Speakers included Marianne Adams of Grandstreet Theater, Carroll College head football coach Mike Van Diest and President Tom Evans, and reporters Marnee Banks of Montana Television Network and Dan Boyce of Montana Public Radio

There was also time for fun, including a hike up Mount Helena on Tuesday, a taco feast at the Stagger-ing Ox and a dance.

Many of the students are staying with volunteer families in the area.

Events continue today. For more information and a schedule, go to www.stucomt.org.

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