East Lansing High School students take initiative in their student government

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School Representatives Aidan Kakela and Jordan VanRemmen

Lauren Wallenfels

Students representatives become the voice for their classmates when the East Lansing Board of Education meets. This year’s representatives are Aidan Kakela and Jordan VanRemmen.

“We are basically the connection between our student body and the executive board, the superintendent, those people who are authority,” said Kakela.

Kakela and VanRemmen attend all the regular meetings.

“We report sports, we report what’s going on throughout our district on a student level, so like student life. We do clubs, sports, performing arts, career center, middle school, elementary school. We report all of that during the school board meetings,” said Kakela.

The two compile the information for their reports.

“I have to get all the statistics from our sports events and make sure that I’m reporting the right things. My partner and I always meet either the Sunday before or the Monday morning before our meeting and we get all of our notes together. We go on the websites, check out everything that’s going on in East Lansing High School and our district and put it all together into one report so then we can report it to the board,” said VanRemmen.

They feel it is important to get involved in their student government. They can be the voice for many.

“It’s very beneficial to get involved. As a part of student congress, you get to know people from all over the school. It’s very diverse. There are different people who have different friend groups and everyone has their opinion. Student congress is our school government for our students and I believe it’s very important to have in a school, so that you can have all those relations, not only with administration, but with other students,” said Kakela.

Board members said it is important to have students at meetings.

“It’s a great opportunity for them to learn how to appropriately share their ideas, debate ideas, and take on some leadership roles,” said Acting Superintendent Dori Leyko.
The Student representatives help board members get caught up with what is going on in the high school from the students’ perspective.

“The students are able to share with us things that are going on within the high school that sometimes we know about, but sometimes we don’t know about. They’re able to highlight different groups of students within our high school and lower level. Sometimes they have siblings in some of the other grades. They do a really good job of giving their perspective of what’s going on and how things are going in their high school,” said Leyko.

Kakela and VanRemmen don’t always agree with board members and discussions don’t always pertain to them, but they stay interested.

“It’s really interesting, especially the bond that they just talked about. That is not something that is going to affect the high school directly, but it’s nice to know what’s going on around our district, rather than just at the high school,” said VanRemmen.

VanRemmen, who plans to run for student council president next year, said the experience is valuable.

“I want to be a management major, so having the opportunity to go and see the different sides of having to be organized in a meeting setting and be a part of that is really interesting. Just seeing what the future could hold for me is really interesting,” said VanRemmen.