By: Sebastian Strawser
Oceana’s new ASB freshmen have been a part of their student government for about a month now. In that time they’ve gotten to work with their specific committees to make decisions regarding school events. Why did they join? What do their positions entail? What were their experiences like in running for their position? Those questions and more are how this article dives right into interviewing and learning about four of the freshmen that are fresh into Oceana and fresh into ASB.
In early September, ASB welcomed its newly elected freshmen members. Six freshmen came fresh into ASB essentially right after they came fresh into Oceana. The four ASB freshmen interviewed for this article are Claire O’Brien, Ryann Celarie, Ashley Keller, and Hallie Gwen Funcion. Much of what these new ASB members do takes place in Room 305, which is where ASB meets for advisory, for Tuesday and Thursday zero periods, and for its designated days for working on its events. Most of the new ASB freshmen were elected by their class on September 7th, and the rest were interviewed by some members of the committee they were applying to be in throughout September 4th-6th.
Claire O´Brien is the freshman class president. Describing herself as “not the best public speaker,” she specifically ran for that position because she believed it to be “the most public position,” which fit well into her desire to involve herself with her class. Since Claire is one of the four freshmen class officers, her process leading up to her election was as follows: fill out an application, collect 100 freshmen signatures, give a speech to her class, and be voted for by a class majority. Having a friend that would be with her in collecting signatures, Claire views that as the easiest part of the process. Describing difficulties as including “a major writer’s block,” Claire said that the speech was the hardest part of the process.
After being elected, which was inevitable, considering she was the only applicant for the position, Claire has a lot to look back on. In terms of what she was nervous about, she had doubts in her ability to fulfill her duties in representing her class and being the class president. Also, there was an initial social barrier coming into ASB, being a self-described introvert, as Claire brought up that she didn´t socialize among ASB as much as she thinks she should have. As for things that have gone well, Claire brought up that the new time commitments have not been too big of a struggle. She was in middle school band, which helped in “filling up the time” that ASB is now occupying. Lastly, as a piece of advice for future ASB newcomers, Claire wanted to emphasize that “they will be able to get the amount of signatures,” as she believes that it isn’t necessarily the most stressful part.
Ryann Celarie is the freshman class vice president. Being the vice president of her class, Ryann helps in managing club affairs and general club fundraising events. Class vice president was what Ryann chose to run for. Her reasoning for this, she explained, was that she did not want “to be president” and saw this position as “a better option.” Ryann went through the same class officer process as Claire did, and looking back, she sees the signature collection as “so much fun” and a great chance to “meet so many new people.” When explaining what she sees as a rather difficult part of the process, Ryann brought up the speech, as that particular step was where she thinking that she “wouldn’t win the election.” While being interviewed, Ryann brought up that, considering she didn’t really know anyone in ASB coming into it, there were some early barriers. “You don’t know what to expect” when coming new into ASB, as she put it. The rest of her committee was a big help in alleviating the feeling of both not knowing anyone and being unfamiliar with how ASB does things. For example, during her first zero period, the committee took the time to explain how ASB works and to build a community-based dynamic amongst each other.
There have also been more outside struggles that Ryann has had to work around with joining ASB, such as the fact that she handles cross country at the same time. Being in cross country at the same time as ASB, as Ryann phrased it, became particularly difficult with how it can interfere with ASB’s time commitments, which include early zero period meetings and required ASB work hours. Lastly, to give some advice to the next series of students coming to ASB, Ryann wanted to say that it is “a great way to get out of your comfort zone.”
Ashley Keller is the freshman rally commissioner. Ashley’s position is to be one of the voices in her committee that helps to plan and carry out Oceana’s rally events. It was this particular position that Ashley chose to apply for, as she has a background in theater work. To be more specific, Ashley explained that the theater work she has done includes behind the scenes work, particularly with music and setting things up. When looking at the description, the similarities intrigued her and drew her towards the position.
The process she went through leading up to becoming an ASB member was different than that of Claire and Ryann, as she wasn’t running for an elected position. Because she was running for a rally commissioner position, the process included filling out an application and being interviewed by rally committee members. “The most stressful thing was not writing the application. It was the interview itself,” Ashley stated. Throughout this process, which Ashley described as fine and manageable, she was concerned about not knowing “what to expect” going into the interview and not realizing that “there’d be so many questions.”
When answering questions regarding her ASB committee, Ashley was very much happy with how things ended up. Her fellow rally committee members made her feel welcome, “helped make the transition easy” coming in new, and helped out a lot with the rally. As a sort of bonding and work plan, her committee spent part of the weekend before the first 2018-19 rally for brainstorming and planning. As rally approached and while it was going on, Ashley was sort of shaken up, saying, “with all those people watching me, I was worried I was going to mess up… or maybe I wouldn’t be good enough.”
Due to the stress that comes with planning a campus-wide event like rally, Ashley explained that, in the midst of and following the initial chaos, the committee had really gotten her to do her best. Looking outside of the specifics of her position and more at Ashley as someone in ASB, she had initial concerns about not being able to fulfill her duties, having to juggle ASB with her community service work every Wednesday, and the time commitments coming with ASB, especially early morning zero periods. To wrap up, Ashley wanted future ASB members to know that, even though there is an initial stage of being unfamiliar with the people and mechanisms of ASB, time and task management is vital, it’s a great place for bonding opportunities, and it can be quite fun to work in.
Hallie Gwen Funcion
Then there is Hallie Gwen Funcion, the freshman secretary. Being the freshman secretary, Hallie takes notes on freshman class discussions and works with the other secretaries in ASB. Her thought process was similar to that of Claire and Ryann, as she sought to go beyond her comfort zone and “get familiar with Oceana.” Encouraged by ASB treasurers to run, Hallie ran for class secretary. This position clicked better with Hallie, as her personal pros and cons list had it weighed better than treasurer, with president and vice president striking her as too public and pressured. Being an elected class officer, her process for running was the same as Claire and Ryann. Contrary to the others, Hallie had the most difficulty gathering signatures, a process that took three days to accomplish, while the speech was the easiest part. She has had similar experiences with public speaking, such as when she gave a graduation speech to her 8th grade class, which made it much less difficult.
Regarding her general ASB experiences, time management was a small hill to get over, as there was “waking up early to get to zero period” while also not having many after-school commitments outside of ASB. Initial barriers in not knowing many ASB members and being new to ASB’s inner-workings were very much alleviated after the help she received from the rest of her committee, which she described as “very welcoming.” Lastly, a piece of advice Hallie wanted eventual ASB newcomers to know is that it’s important to not “stress over it too much.”
Four of the six ASB freshmen had a lot to say when looking at both their experiences in ASB so far and what went on leading up to landing their position. As they’ve put it, ASB is a supportive, community-based, and fun environment that is very helpful in alleviating new members’ initial feelings of being left out, unfamiliarity with how things are supposed to go, etc. Members oftentimes run or apply for an ASB position because it’s a campus community that gets its members involved and familiar with the OHS community. Additionally, the freshman very much agreed in having very supportive ASB committees and interactions. To put things another way, the incoming ASB freshmen did encounter initial fears and concerns, but they were all met with support, community, and fun from the rest of ASB.