Running for student body president a worthwhile experience

DOWNEY - The start of spring brings about election season for various clubs and organizations to vote for the upcoming year's officers.This time of year is particularly exciting for juniors as they take their chances at claiming senior positions that represent years of dedication. As for me, I aimed to become the next student body president, a goal that would require me to endure sleepless nights and days of anticipation throughout the campaigning process. Some candidates are lucky enough to run unopposed, but this does not happen every year. The basic requirements for student body president are to be a senior while in office and to have been in ASB for at least one year, so being eligible to run is not much of an issue for anyone with experience. Running against a fellow ASB member with comparable levels of leadership and commitment, I knew from the start that I would have to put forth my best attempt to win. In an effort to test the responsibility of potential candidates, the application process for elected positions adheres to a strict, three-week schedule. Applications are due one week after they are available, then speeches are given to the student body at a political caucus three days after the due date. I wanted to make my speech memorable and unlike anything that I had ever done before, so I faced a considerable risk when I decided to sing and play the ukulele. Problem number one: I had never sung by myself in front of a large audience. Problem number two: I did not own a ukulele, nor did I know much about playing string instruments in general. Each moment of hesitation wasted valuable time to prepare for the speech, so I finally acquired my own ukulele just in time to have one week to learn basic chords with the help of YouTube tutorial videos. My performance was nowhere near perfect. I was unsure of how the crowd would receive my speech until a few members of the audience complimented me for having enough courage to attempt such a feat. A girl that I had never met before claimed that she felt inspired to learn how to play the ukulele after listening to what I had taught myself within a week. Apparently I wasn't half as bad as I had initially thought. Even though I lost the election, I have no regrets because of the hours of hard work that I spent with my speech, posters and other methods to win votes. I don't need to be student body president in order to have a genuine interest in serving my school. As long as I continue to be a member of ASB, I know that my past experiences as a student leader will encourage me to be more devoted and active than ever before. One thing is for certain: teaching myself how to play the ukulele has become a new hobby for me. I did not think much of this petite instrument prior to purchasing my beginner model on a whim, but now I'm satisfied that some of the money I spent on my campaign did not go to waste. Rebekah Jin is a junior at Downey High School and currently serves as ASB Treasurer.

********** Published: April 7, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 51