Marvin Ridge kids focus on service, teamwork
In one weekend, Marvin Ridge Middle School students packaged food, made hygiene kits for the homeless, raised money to help Camp Victory Junction and got elected to state positions. Over the course of March 26 and 27, members of the school’s student council did all this while attending the North Carolina Association of Student Councils State Convention, held this year in Fayetteville.
“I’ve always had a passion for leading, hearing people’s ideas and working to put them together,” 12-year-old Alicia Nam said, when asked why she decided to join student council. “It’s just fun, being a part of everything (and) seeing your school develop.”
The multiple projects were part of the convention’s agenda, where students were asked to focus on the S.T.A.R.S for the weekend, or service, teamwork, awareness, respect and sacrifice. Groups took part in multiple service projects. For Marvin Ridge, that meant packaging food for the Stop Hunger Now program, putting together hygiene kits for homeless residents in the Fayetteville area and helping the entire convention raise money for Camp Victory Junction. Out of the total fundraising efforts, Marvin Ridge students collected $2500 of the estimated $18,000.
Marvin Ridge Middle was one of four Union County schools that attended, including Marvin Ridge High, Sun Valley and Union Academy. Eight members went from Marvin Ridge, including Katie Aten, Danny Canale, Jordan Cline, Delaney Dewey, Jessica Easley, Carly McDonald, Nam and Kayla Thompson. The middle school also walked away with several awards, being named a member of the state board’s Honor Council, which only goes to four schools all year.
Also Aten, Canale, Nam and Thompson were inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame for their contributions over the last two to three years.
“It’s cool to see the amount of commitment, how passionate (the students) are,” student council advisor and Marvin Ridge Middle School math teacher Lisa Hansen said. “It’s definitely fun to work with all the students, seeing them stand in front and lead workshops.”
Several of the students had to help in setting up events like the convention this year, as part of the state’s executive board for student councils. During elections, Nam was voted in as the new Western District Middle School vice chair, with rising eighth grader Aten named as the new state board’s new Second vice president.
“I’ve wanted to be on student council since sixth grade,” Aten said. “When they announced elections, as soon as I heard, I said yeah, I’m gonna run. I like being able to hear other people’s ideas and help turn them into reality.”
This marked the second year in a row Marvin Ridge won positions on the state board.
“I really enjoyed the election process,” Nam said. “I enjoyed speaking, getting up in front of everyone.”
For 13-year-old Thompson, it was also the end of her career in middle school politics, as she prepares to make the jump to the high school side.
“I wanted an opportunity to branch out and do something different,” Thompson said, about joining student council. She served as the state board’s first vice president this past year and has served on student council each year since attending Marvin Ridge.
“Being on the state board has been an honor,” Thompson said, adding she plans to run for the state student council as a high school sophomore. Because the elections are held at the end of the school year, freshmen can’t run for office, as they’re not yet considered high school students.
“These students just show some amazing dedication,” Hansen said, explaining that as a school with two members on the state board, Marvin Ridge Middle had to help in planning both the local district conference and the state convention.
“They gave up four saturdays set aside just for planning,” Hansen said. “You don’t always even see adults willing to put in this kind of time.”