GALLERY: Student Council hosts State Conference in Traverse City


The lights were dimmed and the sound of drumming filled the room as the opening ceremony began with a drum

line. On March 22, Utica hosted the 23rd Annual Student Council State Conference. Two years ago, Student Council decided they wanted to apply to host the conference. In the summer of 2013, they received confirmation that they were chosen, giving
them less than a year to coordinate the event. However, in December of 2013, the director in charge of the conference
was fired and replaced.
Utica had to decide whether to continue with the plans they had made since summer, or change them in less than
three months to do what they originally wanted to do. With new freedom, Student Council decided to go with the changes under new leadership since it gave them the opportunity to alter many things and expand the horizons of what they were allowed to do.

“We were able to change the state conference for the future,” Student Council adviser and teacher Kimberly Hodsdon said. “The changes we made will help set a model for schools hosting the conference in the future.”
Hosting the state conference is one of the biggest steps a leadership organization can take, as well as one of the
highest honors.

“These conferences are a great way to share ideas with other schools,” senior Stephen Blanco said. “It’s also a great way to get inspired by what can happen when schools come together.”
At the conference, Utica was granted the Award of Excellence, which is the highest award any council can receive. Student Council also received the Exceptional Service Project Award.

“The whole conference went extremely smoothly,” junior Caroline Franzen said. “It was good to see all of our hard work finally pay off.”

The opening drum line at the conference was followed later that night by a glow-out competition, which was a huge hit with participants.

“The glow-out was really exciting because it was one of the first events of the weekend,” senior Peyton Lombardo said, “so it got everybody pumped for the rest of the weekend.”
The glow-out competition was coordinated as a team-building exercise. Student Council took the idea from this year’s competition assembly and added the glow-out twist to make the event even more dynamic. Participants also attended the Student Showcase
Session, which gave schools the opportunity to share ideas about different fundraisers. Utica presented the He’s a Lady fundraiser and Disaster Relief At Work as possible ideas for other schools to adapt. The executive director of DRAW, Greg Martin, was one of the keynote speakers, along with John Beede, who climbed both Mt. Everest and Mt. Kilomenjaro. Both speakers tied into the conference theme, Leadership Avalanche.

“They spoke very well and had a lot of great things to say,” Blanco said. “The crowd responded very well to what John said.”

With the little amount of time Student Council had to coordinate the event, they were very pleased with its result.

“The conference turned out better than we could have ever imagined,” Hodsdon said. “Everyone put in blood, sweat and tears.”