Student council strives to unite school
October 13, 2014
BY LINDSEY HERNANDEZ
The biggest goal for the Belton High School senior class officers is to unify the student body and increase school spirit at Belton High School.
“We have cliques, like the cool kids and the smart kids, and not everyone always talks,” senior class treasurer Kayla Roach said.
However, the cliques aren’t a big enough obstacle to make school unity and spirit impossible, she said.
“We want to please the seniors and we really want them to have a great year, even the people who normally wouldn’t participate,” senior class secretary Georgia Fox said.
“We are the glue that keeps the senior class together,” class vice president Marissa Hill said.
Leading the student body in this effort is Student Council and senior class president Jacob Cheeks. Jacob is an AP scholar, cross country runner and one of Belton Independent School District’s small number of deaf students.
“I’m sure some people think, ‘How did a deaf person become president?’” Jacob said. “Well, you’ve got to work hard at it.”
The Texas Association of Student Councils does not keep data on how many officers with hearing impairments have served, association director Terry Hamm said in an email. However, it is very rare, she said.
It made sense, then, that when Jacob put his name into the election, he didn’t expect to win.
“I was so surprised when I won,” he said.
But he said running for president was something he had to do because he wanted to give back to Belton High School as a form of thank you.
Growing up deaf, Jacob said, his childhood was quiet, and so was he. Deafness made him stand out from the crowd, but he didn’t really want to stand out, he said. Until ninth grade, Jacob was reserved and kept mostly to himself.
“High school changed me,” said Jacob, who reads lips.
He described the change as an invisible force.
“It came and made an impact on me without me knowing it,” he said.
He began to interact more with people around him and became more cognizant of what was going on, he said. High school broke Jacob out of his shell, and because of that, he ran for class president. Since winning, Jacob wants to help give the entire school its best year at Belton High School.
“This might sound weird, but I want to listen, even though I can’t,” Jacob said.
Listening to the different cliques has been one way the class officers have sought to bring unification to the campus, as well as a shift in the Student Council organization.
As secretary, Georgia said she helps with the unification process.
Many groups of seniors feel like they never have a say in what’s going on at their school, Georgia said, adding that she speaks for those people.
“I’m a fair representative,” she said.
During class and Student Council meetings, Georgia makes sure to mention their ideas, she said.
Part of keeping the school unified is communication and lots of meetings. The officers and the Student Council meet at least once a week.
“We want to hear everyone’s ideas,” Marissa said.
This year the senior class officers also are the Student Council leaders and the class officers for Belton New Tech High @ Waskow.
“We are the bridge between the schools,” Jacob said.
Though only in the second quarter of the year, a change in school spirit is happening.
“The school feels a lot more united this year,” Kayla said. “Everyone is trying to get along.”
The first big event for the class officers is homecoming on Oct. 24. The theme for this year is “Pink Tie Event,” in support of breast cancer awareness.
Other events planned for the year are senior showcase, the powder puff game, senior slam, an Easter color run and senior breakfast. The class also will be volunteering around the community.
“Belton, get ready because the seniors are coming to town,” Jacob said.