For members of the Harker Heights High School Student Council, being a part of the organization isn’t just about impressing college admission counselors.
“I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for student council,” said Kiersten Varner, a freshman and junior officer. “I really enjoy school a lot more now that I am involved.”
Kiersten was one of 14 students selected to attend the Texas Association of Student Councils’ 78th annual High School State conference April 13-15 in Arlington.
TASC is a nonprofit organization serving high school and middle school student councils to develop leadership abilities in students, promote democracy as a way of life and establish and uphold high standards for local councils.
“I enjoyed meeting new people and exchanging ideas,” said Andrea Pettayway, a junior and council vice president.
Organized in 1937, TASC has grown to serve more than 1,340 member schools.
“Going to the conference enabled us to get some new ideas on how we can improve our council, school and community,” said Haley Ord, a freshman and junior officer.
The Heights members joined more than 4,800 student council leaders and advisers throughout the state to celebrate accomplishments, elect officers and attend sessions on leadership and student council issues.
The event is designed to motivate, educate and celebrate Texas student council leaders.
“As an adviser, I get to network with other advisers and learn how different councils operate,” Kathie Thomison said. “There is always something new I can learn. This year I learned a new way to hold our officer elections, which will make the process much smoother.”
At the conference, the group was named a sweepstakes school, which means it met criteria to earn the designation of being an outstanding student council. The council also was recognized in the specific areas of having outstanding energy and environment, drugs, alcohol, safety, heath, and pride and patriotism programs.
“Being named a sweepstakes school gives us validity that we are not just a bunch of goofy high school kids doing this so it looks good on our college resumes,” said Lillie Brunner, a junior.
TASC recognizes outstanding student councils in multiple categories each year based on published criteria and a point system.
“Getting the award is positive exposure for our school and it shines a light on our student body and it shows how hard we have been working,” Thomison said, adding that Harker Heights was elected vice president of District 6 in January.
The weekend wrapped up with a private party night at Six Flags.
The council kicked off its biggest fundraising event of the year, Pasta for Pennies, on Monday, which raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The drive runs through May 2. In four years, the school has raised more than $14,000. The top-grossing class period will win an Olive Garden pasta party.