Downey runs for state leadership position at OASC, student leaders bring back fresh ideas

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Student OASC leaders settle down for opening night at the Seaside Convention Center.
Photo by Okxana Rodriguez

It was not just business as usual this time around, rather at this year’s Oregon Association of Student Councils (OASC) fall conference a student here participated in running for a state position. Additionally, OASC provided a chance to unite student leaders with the idea of giving back to the community and creating more school unity.

Though select student council and Renaissance members attend the OASC fall conference every year, this time around the attendees focused on collaborating and networking with student leaders from across the state, creating plans to implement new ideas, and in junior Mikey Downey’s case, taking the challenge and initiative to run for a state position.

Downey ran for Metro Rep. because he thought it was a great opportunity for him to get experience in leading a large body of students from around the state.

“Campaigning was a new adventure for me because I had to advertise to people I didn’t really know,” Downey said. “To get in the running for Metro Rep, I had to send a video of myself talking about why I deserve the position.”

Each school in the metro region had one vote, and there were about 30 schools in the region. Downey ran against a student from Oregon City High School and a student from Liberty High School.

During the Sunday evening workshops at Seaside High School, Downey also had the opportunity to give a presentation on homecoming parades and floats.

Activities director Ty Gonrowski stated that Downey got other students from other schools fired up about floats since this school is known to have outstanding floats.

“I was really proud of him. I also thought he did a really good job going up on stage,” Gonrowski said. “When he had to go up on stage and answer a question, he answered it with poise. When he was done, the rest of the student council members hopped up and began chanting ‘Vote for Mikey’, and it was cool to see the whole group rally behind him.”

Downey’s initiative seemed to benefit not only himself but also the leadership group in coming together to support his campaign.

“Mikey Downey running really proved our council’s support for one another,”  senior Crystal Chau said. “Someone from our school running for an OASC council position shows our school’s initiative to become more involved in student council at a state level.”

The annual OASC fall conference is a leadership event, in which around 1500 student leaders throughout the entire state of Oregon attend to learn and experience ways to improve school leadership and spirit at the Seaside Convention Center.

This year’s fall conference theme, “Ohana”, was highly relevant to the main focus of the workshops and speakers. The conference circled around the themes of familial and communal love and care through mediums of community service and charity.

According to Chau, she learned what “Ohana” meant for the class and also acquired how to be more thoughtful of others

“I learned about different community service projects and how different schools use that to bring their schools together,” Chau said.

Students attained information on organizations and charities that benefit the community. For example, they viewed a clip portraying the mission of Kids’ Miracle Makers, which is an organization that raises funds for Doernbecher.

A major aspect of the fall conference is getting to gather with student leaders from the whole state to collaborate and share ideas with one another.

According to Gonrowski, seeing students get excited about sharing their ideas with other students from other schools was pretty neat and he thought it was cool to gather with schools from all over the state.

“I am excited about what the kids are fired up about,” Gonrowski said. “If the students come in with new ideas, it could become very successful.’

In addition to brainstorming and sharing thoughts, students also got to simply gain from building relationships with other students.

“I was able to meet more outgoing people who were running positions just like me and build more relationships with the strongest leaders of our generation,” Downey said.

Overall, student leaders who attended the OASC fall conference plan on taking the ideas they picked up from the conference and putting them into action soon, especially in an effort to support the community to a greater extent. Even though Downey did not win the position, he returned to Gresham a wiser man.

“I learned that we have many opportunities around us to make a difference in our world,” Downey said. “Our student council will lead the charge in a new effort to help our society grow.”

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Downey runs for state leadership position at OASC, student leaders bring back fresh ideas