GHS plays host to student delegates


Student council members from Cooper City High School in Fort Lauderdale are welcomed by members of the Gainesville High School varsity cheerleaders as they arrive for the FASC Convention on Friday.

The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, March 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 29, 2008 at 11:59 p.m.

Look closely at the extra high school students in town this weekend. You might see a future governor, senator or mayor.

Gainesville High School is hosting the 2008 state convention of the Florida Association of Student Councils. Past leaders of the association have gone on to various elected posts statewide, including former association parliamentarian Andrew Gillum. He returned to the convention this weekend as a keynote speaker; he's a former mayor of Tallahassee and currently a Tallahassee city commissioner.

Travis Edmond, Gainesville High student body president and co-treasurer of the association, said the theme this year is "Leader Nation - State of Champions" because it's an Olympic theme. Among the 910 delegates attending from around the state are dozens of teens interested in politics and interested in meeting members of student councils from other high schools.

Participants will attend motivational sessions, have their high school's projects judged, hear from speakers and watch entertainment like the University of Florida Dazzlers. Delegates also will hold business sessions, tour local attractions like the Florida Museum of Natural History, play games and dance.

"This is a really good way for people to meet other people," said Jane Wilson, a freshman senator at Gainesville High and chairwoman of publicity for the convention.

Gerard Williams, the association's other co-treasurer and a junior at Gainesville High, said he and others who organized the convention were surprised at how many schools are attending the three-day event.

"I think that has a lot to do with when we were able to schedule this," Williams said.

The 2008 convention in Gainesville has drawn twice as many delegates as those that attended last year's convention in Palm Beach.

"We picked this weekend after we worked around FCAT and the University of Florida's schedule and it worked out that this is the biggest convention in the last 15 years for our association," Williams said.

Linda Aubrey, activities director at Gainesville High, is also a historian of sorts about the state conventions. She said the 2008 convention was the 69th annual, but would have been the 72nd annual if World War II had not caused a hiatus. This year's convention is the first time that Gainesville High has hosted the event in 39 years and may be the first time the convention has actually been held on the Gainesville campus.

"Gainesville High hosted the convention at Daytona Beach 39 years ago," Aubrey said.

Karen Voyles can be reached at 352-359-5656 or kvoyles@gmail.com.

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