By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
When Oregon Connections Academy was looking for candidates to serve in its first ever student government, three siblings from Keizer stepped up to the challenge.
Joshua Oliver, a 10-year-old elected to represent the fifth grade, was the first from the family to decide to run. Older sister, Rosa, 15, voted secretary, and older brother, Edward, 18, a senator representing the senior class, soon followed.
“I want to build more school spirit, make it fun for other fifth graders,” Joshua said.
They were all encouraged by their mother, Kara.
“I thought it was an opportunity for the kids to develop speaking skills, communication skills, things they can use for the future for job development,” Kara said.
The Olivers were elected in October and Edward has already seen it pay off.
“I know I’m lacking in some of those areas and it’s already helping improve them, for sure,” he said.
Edward also feels like a pioneer.
“It’s an opportunity to show what others can do in the future with this student government,” he said.
To run for student government, students had to maintain a 3.0 GPA, adhere to the ORCA student code of conduct and agree to attend all student government LiveLesson sessions and participate in three field trips in their area.
A candidate’s forum LiveLesson session was then held to decide contested races. After candidates gave speeches and answered questions, students then voted for their choices using an online poll.
“This will be an extremely fun and exciting experience, while also being one of the most challenging responsibilities of your high school career.”—that is the explanation at the top of the job description for members of the new Oregon Connections Academy Student Government.
The Student Government Executive Board includes a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and two activities directors that meet via LiveLesson once a week for about 30 minutes.
Rosa said they run out of time because so many things are discussed.
“We’re getting events together like prom and more fun field trips and spirit week,” Rosa said. “Something more student driven. We’re also talking about fundraising and winter formals and other activities.
There is also a student senate with senators representing grades 5-12.
“I’m excited for students to have a voice about what they want to see happen at their school so they take more ownership,” said Nikki Coleman, Oregon Connections Academy Student Government Advisor and high school electives teacher from Tualatin.
The Olivers all agreed that the best thing to come out of student government is more socializing with kids from all over the state. Oregon Connections Academy serves around 4,000 students in Oregon.
“The thing with virtual school is we’re all at home, we barely know each other,” Edward said. “All we see on the computer is our names and that’s all we really know about each other. I think it will be better to cultivate more face-to-face interaction. We’ve been thinking about how to reach out to the rest of the class.
“Being a state-wide school, it’s hard to reach everyone. I would definitely like to see more student oriented events and get more of a school spirit in there.”