While many students are using spring break as an opportunity to catch up on sleep and other non-academic related activities Campbell County High School senior Zach Walden is busier than ever.
With the Tennessee Association of Student Councils (TASC) state convention slated for the end of the week Walden, the current TASC president, has spent the better part of his vacation tying up loose ends to ensure the event goes off without a hitch.
When Walden began his student council career as a freshman he said he really had no aspirations of becoming a leader at the state level.
“I remember thinking I could get out of school for two days,” Walden laughed as he recalled his logic for attending his first TASC convention.
Walden may have gone into his first convention with no expectations, but it was there that he began laying groundwork that would help him become the first CCHS student to hold the office of TASC president.
During his freshman year, Walden applied and was chosen to participate on the TASC core team. And while this seems like quite an accomplishment, the articulate teen chalked his selection up to a low number the applicants.
“I think I might have been the only applicant from my age group,” Walden said with a grin.
But the interest generated from the core team experience led Walden on to TASC summer camp where he was able to network with other students from across the state while learning effective leadership skills.
At the following year’s convention, Walden set his sights on a spot as TASC’s East Tennessee Representative. But becoming eligible to run was quite an undertaking.
In order to throw his hat into the ring, Walden was responsible for organizing and hosting the East Tennessee Area Leadership Conference, a task that would be no small feat for most adults to pull of.
With 300 students from across the Tennessee region in attendance at the conference, the now high school senior deemed it a shining moment in his student council career.
“I knew I had the organizational skills to plan it (the conference) and a council that would help me. That event was a pivotal point for our organization. We became so much stronger as a group because of it,” Walden said crediting his student council colleagues with the conference’s success.
The following summer Walden attended another camp and was back at convention his junior year where he made a successful run at the presidency.
As the laid back teen explained the ins and outs of the student council organization it became evident that the group is much more than a group of kids looking for another activity to list on their college applications.
According to Walden, the student council is the official governing body of the school.
“We are responsible for organizing pep rallies, senior night and other school events,” Walden said of the group’s work in promoting school spirit.
While the student council’s goal is to make the school the best it can be, Walden said the members have extended their reach beyond the walls of CCHS by participating in a number of service projects aimed at improving the community as well.
As a result of its hard work, the TASC president said the CCHS student council is competitive with other student councils in the region and state.
“We’re turning into one of the student council leaders in the state,” Walden asserted.
Looking toward the future, Walden believes the experience gleaned from his participation in student government will play an integral part in his life after high school.
“This (student council) has opened up a lot of opportunities with colleges and scholarships that I wouldn’t have had otherwise,” Walden said.