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Nine Kenmare High School students who sit on student council committees or are part of the council’s executive board, recently seized the opportunity to get involved in something totally new to them and on a much bigger scale.
Megan Zimmer, Bella Roering, Jeneca Kostad, Sierra Overton, Jacie Ankenbauer,
The Kenmare students were among 1,395 high school and middle school students and advisers from 91 schools attending the event at the Ramkota Hotel and Convention Center.
The three-day program included keynote speakers, breakout sessions, adviser meetings, community service activities, social time and campaigning for state office.
The program also included a video from Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and question and answer sessions with Gov. Doug Burgum and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.
Overton is the president of Kenmare’s student council. She said there was a lot of educational information about leadership opportunities and “how-to” information on fund raisers.
“Other chapters were telling us about fund raisers they had and that we could take that back,” Overton said.
She added many of the chapters did Alzheimer’s disease fund raisers, which she said was interesting so many schools were doing it.
But in Kenmare, there have been benefits for fellow student Sam Meidinger as well as for numerous cancer patients in the community.
“We could maybe implement the Alzheimer’s ideas,” Overton said. “But it’s what’s important in our community.”
One of the break-out sessions was Alzheimer’s awareness.
Kostad was most interested in and impacted by a break-out session called “I Killed Three of my Best Friends,” by Taylor Berhow.
She said Berhow was driving drunk with his friends, an accident occurred and three of his friends were killed.
He was later sentenced for the three deaths and remains an inmate. Kostad said he is on a release program from the prison to do motivational speaking engagements.
“It was emotional,” she said.
Otherwise, Kostad called the convention fun and was a place to increase leadership skills.
“It reminds me of FBLA, but we didn’t have competitions like FBLA,” she said. “It was also about interaction, but we didn’t do too much interaction.”
Winzenburg enjoyed the convention and said it was a “cool, little break from school and Kenmare was able to collaborate with other schools.”
He said his best take away from the convention was to get involved. Just get involved, in the community, in the school, in the church. Just being involved with various groups only helps the students become better leaders.
“You should figure out what you can do to help,” Winzenburg said. “Then get involved.”
Some of the other break-out sessions included Human Trafficking, Texting and Driving, How to Make the Most out of High School, Paying it Forward and Managing Your Money.
The students took in numerous keynote addresses including Sydney Helegson, Miss North Dakota Outstanding Teen and Katie Ralston, former Miss North Dakota.
Highlights of the convention included community service activities facilitated by Helegson.
One was a book drive that involved each student council bringing a book to the convention that was donated to children at
The second was donating tie blankets to the Veterans Home in
Elections for state student council were also held and the adviser of the year was chosen.
Lyle Krueger is with the Association of Student Councils. He said the Kenmare students had the opportunity to run for statewide student council leadership officer positions.
“This year, no students from Kenmare ran, however, they were able to participate in a real-life campaign process in which the candidates provided short video skits of themselves and spoke of why they were running for office,” Krueger said. “Throughout the convention, the students were able to question or interview those running for office, of which students could inform their local voting delegates who they would prefer in office, of which the local voting delegates voted for their school team in a primary and later a final voting election.”
Krueger said the video session with Heitkamp was interesting in that the
“Sen. Hoeven was in person and had a similar message, but took the time to allow students to come forward to discuss the student led leadership opportunities,” Krueger said. “There were wonderful ideas about fund raising efforts and it was impressive to hear the various efforts happening throughout the state.”
According to Kenmare High School Principal Sarah Beckedahl, the nine students who represented Kenmare at the convention, went to find out what it is and how Kenmare can grow year after year as a student council.
Like Kostad, she said the most powerful session was that of Berhow. She said it hits home for these students because Berhow did kill three of his friends because of alcohol and because he is only released from jail to attend events such as this.
The convention wasn’t all seminars and meetings. There was also time for social activities. Overton talked about nightly dances and karaoke.
“There were a lot of activities,” she said. “We did a lot of fun things. It was more than a convention.” ...