Last reflections on leadership

Michelle Wong

Over the past year, MVHS students have made endless memories through various rallies and activities. Leadership works tireless hours to make the school year more enjoyable for the school, playing an active role in emceeing and doing all the grunt work of poster making for every rally. With the school year coming to an end, here are some of the lasting memories this year’s senior leadership members have.

Senior Christine Chu

While once shy and unfamiliar with many people in the school, senior class treasurer Christine Chu developed a new mindset when meeting someone through leadership.

“There’s honestly nothing to lose for me when I expose myself, bring myself out there, say ‘Hey, how’re you doing?,’ [and] make the first step,” Chu said.

In fact, it was through this act of meeting new people that Chu decided to join leadership in the first place. Upon meeting senior ASB Secretary Maddie Park, Chu became curious about all of the hours Park spent doing leadership activities. While Park was in class office, Chu decided to try out for Commissions instead during her sophomore year. Although she was unable to get into leadership on her first try, she became more and more involved in Homecoming preparations until she was able to become a Student Staff Recognition Commissioner, who sets up all of the small recognition events for people around campus such as staff brunches. Her exposure overtime to the various activities of leadership made her enjoy leadership more and more.

Chu pinpoints one of her favorite memories in leadership to be the moment after this year’s Homecoming rally. In addition to winning, Chu felt the impact of the hard work leadership had done to make sure the skits were ready to present. After everything that they went through, she says that this was the happiest she was in her experience with leadership.

She admits that there are some downsides to rallies and class competition, however. Chu finds it difficult to put aside her own feelings due to the stress class competition causes. While the feelings of stress can be overwhelming sometimes, Chu said that it is important to remember that it is only friendly competition and it all works out in the end.

Although the rallies and conferences going to Disneyland were fun, those events weren’t the ones that made leadership so memorable to Chu. It was the intangible aspects of leadership that made it so special for her.

“Bonding with people who share the same passion for leadership as me, and also seeing our class come together, those make up my favorite moments of leadership,” Chu said.

Despite the time commitment that concerns many people who are thinking about joining leadership, Chu assures students that all of the time is well spent. With all of the memories she has made, Chu believes that, above all, just being a part of leadership was very enjoyable and fun.

Senior Alex Maertens

Although leaders are usually characterized by their outgoing personalities, senior ASB treasurer Alex Maertens did not always possess this quality. Maertens wanted to be outgoing and active in his community, but his introverted personality made him feel too uncomfortable to try during his first year of high school.

“Leadership has pushed me to be stronger in communicating with other people and in planning and interacting with others,” Maertens said. “So I think it’s really pushed me to develop my interpersonal skills that way.”

Maertens explained that the key to coming out of his comfort zone was to have friends who supported him and made sure he knew that he was not alone. The friends he always brought with him to events as his support group are the people who Maertens will especially miss about leadership. He believes that what makes leadership so special are the people themselves because of their dedication and passion.

One of his favorite memories of leadership revolved around these people he has come to be so close with. In his first year of being in leadership as a sophomore, Maertens remembers that Homecoming was extremely stressful. In order to prepare for the events, he would have to wake up early as 5:30 a.m. and stay at school until as late as 9:00 p.m. But at the end of it all, he felt accomplished and closer to the class office members. Although the class of 2017 hadn’t won that year, Maertens felt that it was the support that made the whole experience highly rewarding.

But it’s not just the people who have helped Maertens become more outgoing. He himself was able to alter his mindset and stop caring about other people’s judgments about him.

“If you realize [. . .] you can look at yourself lightheartedly and kind of see that things don’t weigh so heavily [. . .] it’s a lot easier to go out and just try,” Maertens said.

Being class treasurer for two years and ASB treasurer his senior year, Maertens has spent long nights and early mornings contributing to the leadership program.

“The amount of sleep you lose over leadership is quite daunting,” Maertens said. “But it’s all worth it, of course.”

Senior Joseph Kuo

Senior class president Joseph Kuo has only been in leadership for one year, but the legacy of his family reaches much farther. Kuo’s older brother was in leadership all four years of his high school career. Watching his brother peaked his interest in joining leadership. Although Kuo didn’t run his first three years of high school, he decided to try it out for his last.

Through this past year, Kuo has felt a lot of pressure to do well for his class, which was a new challenge for him to face.

“You have to shift your mindset from thinking [that] it’s no longer just your mistake if you mess up,” Kuo said. “It’s affecting your entire class.”

Knowing this pressure of leadership, Kuo has learned to be more patient with others. He sees his own shortcomings more clearly and realizes that he is not always as on top of things as he thinks he is. Seeing his own faults has allowed him to empathize with people and understand their stress better.

Kuo encourages those who want to run for leadership to go in with an open mind and be open to improving their own shortcomings. Even the little things like making a poster can change one’s whole high school experience. For those who want to try it out, Kuo encourages for them to just go for it.

“If you choose to do it, then go for it a hundred percent, and even if you don’t make or even if you do make it, it’s about the people,” Kuo said. “You don’t end your career just [be]cause you made it in, it’s about the impact that you make afterwards.”