What does ASB really do?

An exposé on La Serna’s student government

ASB+members+Daniel+Garcia%2C+Nikolas+Alexander%2C+Hannako+M%C3%BCnz%2C+Jacqueline+Meneses%2C+Isabella+Guido%2C+and+Ariana+de+la+Fuente+work+on+posters+after+school.

Thomas Bailleul, The Freelancer

ASB members Daniel Garcia, Nikolas Alexander, Hannako Münz, Jacqueline Meneses, Isabella Guido, and Ariana de la Fuente work on posters after school.

Victoria Genao, Staff Writer

ASB is an acronym for Associated Student Body. All ASB leaders throughout the world pride themselves on being reliable figures for their peers, always open to suggestion and searching for ideas to inspire everyone on campus. Known by all to be dedicated to their school, members of La Serna’s ASB strive to encourage Lancers to become more involved in school activities, pursue their passions, and have the best possible high school experience in the process. In recent years however, many would argue that ASB’s presence in students’ lives has been somewhat lost; it would not be unreasonable to say that many students walk past the ASB classroom on a daily basis not fully knowing its function, or what the organization does for them. If thirty members of the school’s best leaders are meeting on a daily basis for an hour at minimum with no obvious results or impact, one may begin to wonder: What does ASB really do?

ASB’s term at La Serna begins (and ends for outgoing members) near the end of the school year, when ASB prospects submit their applications in the hopes that they will be given the opportunity to be interviewed for a special chair position, ranging anywhere from interclub chair to community liaison. While the presidents of each grade level are accepted into the class based upon the student body’s votes, other hopefuls must complete a fairly lengthy application packet and answer what leadership qualities they possess that would benefit the school. After each application packet has been read and approved by the ASB advisors, Assistant Principal Randy Castillo and teacher Shana Henley, each candidate is notified that the two staff members will interview them on a specific date and time. A few short days after the individual interviews, the selected members for the following school year are notified and initiated into the group through a banquet.

This year’s ASB class has 34 members, and most were able to attend a retreat held at the Fulcrum Center over the summer that taught valuable lessons about trust. In late July, the group met once again to plan the entire year’s calendar and propose new ideas. When the 2014-2015 school year officially began for all grade levels on August 13th, the ASB class members settled into their positions and commenced their yearlong work of collaboratively working together to encourage a family environment and promote school spirit and involvement.

ASB, a special fourth period class elective, runs smoothly when each student carries out their designated duties; the daily tasks of each member depends on their title. However, since ASB holds meetings every other day, there is often not enough time during the class period for every representative to perform their tasks, forcing the students to work on their own time, whether it be during lunch or after school. ASB’s meetings can take up anywhere from ten minutes to the entire class period, depending on the amount of bills needing to be approved, the topics discussed, and the events planned. Most formal meetings consist of ASB members gathering in the ASB room, going over Purchase Orders from clubs and organizations, deciding whether to approve their monetary requests or not, and then discussing each individual’s progress and current projects. Shorter meetings are more informal and are purely designed to ensure growth in every project, and are usually adjourned after ten minutes, allowing members to be as productive as possible. While senior Kraig Golden figures out scores for each game and works to recognize the Athlete of the Month as ASB’s Athletic Co-Chair, sophomore Savannah Cardenas, Student Recognition Co-Coordinator, tries to deliver every birthday card that she had hand-written the previous day. Meanwhile, Ariana DeLaFuente, Social Media Technician, publicizes special events on Twitter and videotapes with Historian Tommy Barriere-Ramirez, and junior Jake Nye fulfills his obligations as ASB Treasurer by organizing purchase orders and fundraising requests that will be voted on for approval at the class’s formal meetings.

Completely separate from the ASB class is La Serna’s class council,  consisting of representative groups of about twenty-five students from each grade level that meet primarily to conceptualize, design themes, and decorate for the school year’s three major assemblies. The voting process for council is very similar to that of ASB: at the end of the school year, there are four spots available for each class: President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Secretary. Only the president of each class holds a spot in ASB, but the three other class officers assist in leading the council members, who apply and are voted on by the student body early in the school year. Although not official ASB members, class council representatives work equally as hard in the month prior to the assemblies, sketching and painting until late evening and not leaving campus until 10:30 P.M. the night before assembly day. The morning of any assembly, all council and ASB members can be found in the large gym as early as 4:30 a.m. in their sweatpants and hoodies eating donuts, hanging posters, and decorating every square inch of the gym’s walls. The incorporation of student council to participate in the assemblies gives more students a chance to feel as though they’ve made a visible difference. Sophomore Victor Urias is a first-year council member and states, “I think class council is really important because it distinguishes the classes more and makes each of us more individual.” Through that individuality, each grade level has the chance to experience a sense of class pride and engage in friendly competition.

While it is obvious that ASB and class council as a whole work tirelessly everyday to increase school spirit, the group’s enthusiasm is not necessarily contagious. Their biggest goal, to involve every student in activities, is also their prime obstacle. Many students on campus may not have a clear idea of what ASB does for them, which can give ASB a negative connotation and discourage students from participating in school events. This lack of involvement and absence of desire to participate, as many ASB members admit, is the organization’s biggest fear. Sophomore Skyler Helms, Inter-Club Chair, said, “The biggest obstacle that we face [in ASB] is trying to satisfy the entire population of La Serna. We listen to the likes and dislikes of our events and try to carry out the suggestions made by students.” Senior Gillian Plant serves as ASB Secretary and confesses that it’s nearly impossible to always have a perfect outcome. “We try to incorporate as many students’ ideas as we can, but sometimes what the student body wants isn’t always something we can do. You can’t please every single person all the time. Some people may complain while others loved the same event,” said Plant. Chris Cho, ASB President, said, “With the diverse group of enthusiastic personalities that we have in the class, we’ve definitely made progress in recreating the reputation of events and reaching out to more students.”

The bottom line is that each member of class council and ASB are similar in one way: each member is a leader who wants walking through La Serna’s gates to be a joyous moment and for La Serna to be a place where students are excited to see what the day brings. The answer as to what ASB really does will differ depending on the person answering, but La Serna’s ASB has endeavored to create a positive atmosphere for the entire student body.