St. Joe Scoop: Leah Clark, serving for a better future


Derek Starling, Staff Writer

Last week, the student council election results were announced. Students in grades 8-11 voted for those of their peers who they felt would best lead their class. Student body officers were also elected during this time to honor the position of leading the entire student population.

Among these newly-elected officers are junior Leah Clark, St. Joe’s 2020-2021 student body president. The Bear Facts, despite stay-at-home orders, was able get in contact with Clark and filed the following report on one of the online publication’s co-editors.

The Bear Facts:
What inspired you to run for student body president?

Leah Clark: I have served as class president every year since seventh grade. One of my teachers convinced me to run, so I did and won. Soon, I started to notice how much I enjoyed listening to people’s concerns. So I decided that if I enjoyed doing this on a class level, then I should try to do it for the entire student body.

The Bear Facts: Did you have a particular strategy in order to gain the most votes?

Clark: I didn’t have a particular strategy because I ran unopposed. Before, I was going to order bracelets and wrote up a campaign speech, but due to the coronavirus, I just made sure to be active on social media and to be clear when I made my platform known to everyone in my one minute Flipgrid campaign video.

The Bear Facts: Did you find it difficult to run your campaign due to COVID 19? If so, how did you adapt and overcome these challenges?

Clark: It was sort of difficult to run my campaign during COVID 19 because I wanted to be able to talk to people face to face and let them know why I was running and how I would be there for them as their student body president. However, I couldn’t because of the stay-at-home order that’s in place. So, I just made sure that my platform was clear and precise, when I made my one minute campaign video.

The Bear Facts: If you had the chance to deliver it the way you wanted to, what would your campaign speech consist of?

Clark: I was going to let them know that I have plenty of experience in being a leader. Also, I wanted to let them know that I would put their interests and concerns to the administration, even if I don’t exactly agree with them. I would still bring it up because as student body president I reflect them, so I also reflect their interests and concerns.

The Bear Facts: When you saw that you won student body president on The Bear Facts, what was your initial response?

Clark: It’s kind of funny because I was still shocked even though I knew that I would win because I ran unopposed. Nonetheless, I was very excited to see my name officially on The Bear Facts. There were a lot of excited screams with my brother and mom.

The Bear Facts: Of past student body presidents, are there any that you particularly admired?

Clark: I have been in contact with the past 3 student body presidents. The first one that I remember was Blaine Turner, Class of 2018. He was a big inspiration and also The Bear Facts editor-in-chief while I was on the staff. I got to watch him on a day-to-day basis. The next one was Garrett Grove, Class of 2019. I have talked to Garrett, and he was also very inspirational. I’ve known Hannah Dear, Class of 2020, from St. Richard, so it was very beneficial for me to see her and all of them in their element.

The Bear Facts: What are some of the particular challenges that you are going to deal with that you know of thus far?

Clark: Some of the challenges that I am going to have to deal with are the fact that when I was the junior class president, I was in charge of helping us raise money to fund prom. But of course, we didn’t have prom this year, so one of the challenges that I know of will be figuring out where the funds from prom are going to go. We currently have an idea to either put it into hosting another event or funding senior activities.

The Bear Facts: With the pandemic changing the way the students learn, how do you think the school year will be in August?

Clark: I think that it will be a big adjustment when we go back to school, hopefully this upcoming August, just because of the fact that we have been away from each other for such a long time. Also, the fact that some people learn better in a school environment and some people don’t will be a huge change. People are going to have to readjust to being in a school environment, to do whatever they need to do to get on top of their work.

The Bear Facts: Do you know of any issues that you already foresee that will need to be taken before the administration?

Clark: One of the issues that I would have to take before the administration are the funds for prom and just making sure that everyone feels safe back at school. I would love to create a fundraiser for some of the small businesses that make up the St. Joe community. St. Joe has many families that own their own business, and we would want to give back to them.

The Bear Facts: Do you foresee any difficulties or challenges with balancing being the newspaper editor and student body president?

Clark: I’ve been doing newspaper and student council for a while. Of course, it is going to give me some sort of challenge, but since I already have experience, I should be able to get through it. It may be overwhelming at some times, like all things, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to make it through.

The Bear Facts: Who do you look up to during these times of uncertainty?

Clark: During these times of uncertainty, I particularly look up to my teachers and Dr. Kinsey because after a long day of schoolwork, seeing Dr. Kinsey’s emails make me think, “I’m not the only one going through this and that we can all work through it.” One of the teachers in particular would be Dr. May, my English teacher. When we’re on a Zoom with him, he is always making jokes and it’s just refreshing to feel like I’m back in class.

The Bear Facts: What do you think you will gain and take with you in life with being the student body president for 2020?

Clark: Something that I hope to be able to take with me in life are leadership skills, social skills, and the ability to relate to people of all walks of life. If I can try to figure out how to explain my standpoint on things in respectful way, then I’m doing a service to myself and others.