Dillingham students participated in a statewide gathering of more than 300 student government representatives earlier this month.
At its April 19 meeting, the Dillingham School Board heard from the trio that traveled to Kodiak for the Alaska Association of Student Government conference earlier this month. Dillingham High students Shari O’Connor and AnaLouise Hoseth attended the gathering, along with advisor Andria Budbill.
Much of the focus was on using parliamentary procedure to weigh in on education-related resolutions, ranging from small issues to whether schools should let students paint lockers, to larger ones, like the bills up for consideration by the state Legislature this spring. Shari O’Connor says the group opposed the senate bill that could limit who teaches sex ed and what that curriculum includes.
“So normally resolutions, it stays within your school or ASAG, but that one – it wasn’t presented so much as a resolution as what ASAG’s opinion of that senate bill was,” she said. “Resolutions usually have whereas statements, there therefore statement and then the action plan. And our action plan was to bring it to the Legislature and be like hey, this isn’t cool.”
AnaLouise Hoseth says the conference also included a several workshops, including one focused on preventing teen substance abuse.
“And we learned about how there are many different substances that are found in schools, and how many students are affected by it,” she said. “We didn’t have too much time to talk about it since it was only a 40 minute workshop, however, we did talk about different ways we can talk kids out of not using or taking part in negative activities. We talked about how we can bring more activities into our school and our community and that can lead kids to live a healthier lifestyle.”
The next ASAG gathering will be held in Wasilla, next fall. Attendees in Kodiak were mostly from urban parts of the state, and O’Connor and Hoseth said they hope more students from rural Alaska will make it to the fall conference.
O’Connor noted that travel to Wasilla should be less experience, and the two said they plan to reach out to other Bristol Bay students about the event.
Budbill said she was impressed with how the Dillingham students were active in working with other peers from rural Alaska, and also enjoyed watching all of the students debate resolutions and come together with a unified position.
“I was just really, really, impressed, all of these high school students saying “hey, this is my education, I’m using my voice to say what I want out of my education,” she said.
Both Hoseth and O’Connor were recognized at the conference; Hoseth for winning a travel scholarship, and O’Connor as the region seven delegate of the conference.
The Dillingham School board also approved 2016 budget revisions and 2017 contracts at Monday’s meeting, and heard an update that plans to switch the middle and high schools to a trimester system are continuing.