Everything You Need to Know About 2020-21 StuCo Elections

Ben Schwartz, Photo Editor

Despite everything occurring with Coronavirus, Manitou Springs High School’s (MSHS) second semester continues despite temporary school closure. Student Body (SB) Elections are still on, and it’s looking to be a fantastic line-up of candidates for the 2020-2021 school year. Each of the positions has two candidates, giving MSHS a good opportunity to determine their representatives that are right for the school. The student body candidates are as follows: Cami Seal (10) and Abbie Parker (10) for Secretary, Aidan Coté (10) and Ayla Lehner (10) for treasurer, Mike Vanderwerff (11) and Dana Gutierrez Santos (11) for vice-president, and Caden Salladay (11) and Caden Harris (11) for president.

Seal has been in student council (StuCo) since her freshman year and has held the position of class representative both her freshman and sophomore years. This year, she worked to establish connections between students through her participation in the LINK committee. Seal’s heart for service was really opened through her involvement in StuCo, where she gained many friends and participated in team-building activities. Through it all, she recalls how her involvement has made her realize how much she loves doing things for people other than herself.

Seal is running for the position of SB Secretary Seal because she “truly love[s] serving other people and bringing them joy. I know I can do more things in this position including helping others achieve their goals since StuCo has done that for me,” Seal said, “I love Manitou and have so much pride in the school, particularly the students it’s filled with have made high school amazing for me. All I want to do is bring that to other students, to return everything this school has done for me and more.”

Parker has also been in StuCo her freshman and sophomore year and she hopes that she can now continue serving the SB in the position of secretary. Parker has enjoyed working with the bonding committee, fostering connections and keeping members engaged.

“I want to make a difference in our Manitou community, specifically through promoting school spirit and building relationships,” said Parker, “I love Student Council and want to use every opportunity possible to positively impact our student body.” Parker has had the opportunity to form new relationships and bring ideas to Manitou from CHSAA leadership camps and other experiences.

For Coté, leadership is a way to connect with others and give them the opportunities they need to grow and flourish. Coté has served in multiple committee positions and assisted with many different projects since she started her leadership journey with StuCo her freshman year. This year, she had the opportunity to serve as Green Machine committee chair and enjoyed helping to bring attention and spirit to the events Manitou has to offer. Through her service and leadership in activities such as the CHSAA Fall Conference this year, along with the Kindness Campaign, Coté has been able to assist the SB and hopes to continue doing so in the role of SB treasurer.

Lehner’s two years with StuCo have helped her grow as a leader and focus on what the SB needs. This year specifically, she’s been an integral part of the social media committee, assisting other committees with the logistical and advertising aspects of their tasks. Lehner said she’s running for the position of treasurer because she gets to “interact with all of the different committees and help them accomplish tasks, and in turn make events that impact the whole school in a positive way.” Manitou has taught Lehner so much and she wants to help give that back to the SB. StuCo has given her an outlet to express herself, and she’s been largely impacted by the relationships she’s formed and experiences she’s had.

Vanderwerff has been a part of StuCo for two years now, and there’s no doubt that his level head and ability to connect with students has been influenced by it. Vanderwerff has grown as a leader in this time and hopes that he can continue that growth alongside the SB from the position of vice president. He’s had the opportunity this year, through key activities such as the autumnal activities week, back to school events and food drive, to interact with the SB. Vanderwerff hopes to foster stronger connections and long-lasting events and traditions through the position.

Gutierrez Santos has played a huge role in StuCo, holding committee positions and activity chairs. Most recently she held the position of treasurer and was an integral part of prom planning and logistics for Nickels for Noland week. She hopes that she can help move the SB towards success and unity through the position of vice president, and wants to make sure that every student’s experience is a full and rewarding one.

Salladay has been in StuCo for three years, and in that time he’s had the opportunity to hold several class board positions and serve on multiple committees. Last year he held the position of vice president and believes that with the help of the executive board, Stuco will be able to make next year a memorable year for the SB if he’s elected.

“I really want to continue the community interaction that we’ve had this year,” said Salladay, “What that means is continuing to play a role in our community through fundraisers and [taking on] social issues such as homelessness and hunger. I want to build more chances for students to be involved in the school and have places to belong, so clubs like a gaming club and other things would be on that list as well.”

Salladay’s big focus is on community both in and outside of the school. He also hopes to increase student recognition from teachers and other sources. StuCo has impacted him greatly, giving him the opportunity to chase his dreams and commit to what he loves, something he hopes to give back to the community.

“Every student at Manitou is unique and gifted in their own ways,” said Salladay, “I just can’t thank [the student body] enough for opening my eyes to how amazing we can be. I learned a love for supporting and helping others and I hope to continue that next year as SB President.”

Harris has also been in StuCo since his freshman year and in that time has had multiple opportunities to lead and serve his community. Harris has had roles as class representative and committee member or chair over his three years as well. Harris’s big push for running is his desire to connect with the SB.

“I’m running for student body president because I believe I can make the biggest impact on our student body and can effectively improve MSHS. I want to help make our school fun and memorable, while emphasizing student voices,” Harris said. His focus is on student impact, and he hopes to create bonds between groups and organizations in the school. “I’ve learned a lot about myself as well as important lessons about leading and communicating,” Harris said about his experience with StuCo.

These dedicated student leaders are embarking on the next step of their leadership journey that they will take with the student body. There’s no doubt that regardless of the outcome, the MSHS SB will be in good hands for the 2020-21 year. Voting will take place from April 15th at 9 a.m. until April 17th at 9 a.m. and is available to students through a link sent to their emails.