West Valley High School hosts statewide student government conference

Learn about AASG and the biggest issues impacting Alaska's students.
Published: Oct. 18, 2023 at 12:43 PM AKDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - West Valley High School hosted an array of student governments from across the state for the Alaska Association of Student Governments 2023 Fall Conference, from Friday, Oct. 13 to Sunday, Oct. 16.

Twice each year, the Alaska Association of Student Government or AASG meets at a different school for the statewide conference. This year, the 2023 meeting was held at the Wolfpack den.

While most of us won’t run for office as adults, many more of us have memories running for student office as kids. Often viewed as a social club or even just another activity teens add to their college applications, student government tends to come with a lack of recognition for many reasons. But to those involved, their duty to their fellow students is serious and that’s why serious topics took center stage over the weekend while West Valley High School hosted the Statewide Student Government Conference.

“AASG is a coalition of student governments from around the State of Alaska , all coming together to discuss issues in their school, their state and the country,” said Liam Wade a student from North Pole High School and a representative of region 6 which includes most of the interior schools.

“Those student governments deal with issues kind of within their walls and what’s important to them at their school,” said Kathleen Navarre, the executive director for AASG.

The semi-annual conference provides students a chance to develop leadership, communication skills, and most importantly a chance to discuss the issues that impact them the most. “These students are very aware of their civic duties and learning the process of their civic duties,” Navarre said. “So, when they are able to vote, they’ve learned the process of how things work, so they are educated in making decisions.”

While most of the participants are still too young to vote in actual elections, the collective of Alaskan youth showed their civic skills as they debated and voted on issues that were important to them. Each student, school and region having different perspectives. “Well I think that Alaska is one of the most diverse states in culture and obviously in size we’re one of the largest and so I think having to travel, to go to new places every time is really powerful because it shows that diversity,” said Quinlen Schachle, a senior at Wasilla High School and the student president of AASG.

Some of the hot issues discussed in the general assembly sessions included, the treatment of student school board members, student expression, bathroom policies and book bans. These issues have a wide range of opinions all of which are considered important to Schachle. It’s also why he ran for president during the spring conference earlier this year. “I wanted to run to make sure that the voice of those that were unheard, the voice of those that were excluded or marginalized could be heard louder,” remarked Schachle.

With the conference completed, these students will now take the resolutions passed in the general assembly and voice their concerns to those that control their education. Whether or not those voice will be heard remains unknown.

West Valley’s student council said in a statement, that they were honored to host AASG this past weekend and that they had been preparing for it since may. The 2024 spring conference is set to be hosted by Barrow High School.