Park Hill South to host upcoming Missouri student council convention

RIVERSIDE Mo. — Members of Park Hill South’s student council are preparing for mayhem to hit the school during the district’s upcoming spring break. They won’t be taking much of a break. More than 1,000 students from across the state will travel to Park Hill South High School to take part in the Missouri Association of Student Councils (MASC) state convention. Members of the Park Hill South Student Council won the right to host the state-wide convention in an election held at MASC’s annual convention last year.

“In terms of wanting to host the convention, our kids have been pushing for it for the last three or four years,” Park Hill South student council advisor Sarah Adkins said. “They saw it as a long-term stretch goal. I was really, really excited when the kids decided to do it.”

Park Hill South won the voting against Lebanon High School, located in south central Missouri. Last year, the convention was held at Windsor High School in suburban St. Louis.

To bring the MASC convention to Kansas City, Park Hill South students devised a campaign based on the Mayhem character from Allstate Insurance commercials. A member reprised the role in various promotional items, assuring voters that their student council members would take care of the convention and handle the mayhem.

Previously, Park Hill South hosted the Northwest MASC District Convention, giving the students some insight into the work required for an event of this magnitude.

More than 200 schools will send representatives to the convention, which is student-planned and student-led.

“I’m excited for the environment that it’s going to bring to (the school),” Park Hill South student council secretary Taylor Burdis said. “I am really excited to see our council step up and see the potential we have to host a great state convention.”

The convention will be held March 19-21 — during the scheduled spring break for the Park Hill School District. Participants will stay with host families to keep the cost of attending down.

The timing of the event adds another wrinkle in finding places to stay for the attendees with potential host families out of town on trips during the break. Families are expected to be located throughout Platte County and other communities surrounding Riverside.

“I have stayed with many different host families,” Burdis said. “It’s always really good. They pick you up at the school. You get to hang out with their family and be a part of their family for the night. Normally, you are only there for a couple of hours before you go to sleep. When you wake up, they make you breakfast and take you to the school. It’s really fun.

“It’s a good place to meet people, and we always bring gifts to thank them for letting us stay with them.” The three-day convention will feature keynote speakers — selected by a committee of students — as well as workshops and social events.

“It’s very different on the planning side. It’s a lot different than just attending,” Adkins said. “The kids are working through large-scale events, managing lots of moving pieces and parts. Scheduling a building is not very difficult, but layering that with all of the tiny little pieces is very difficult — all the tiny things that go into stuff like that.

“I want them to walk away with the experience of managing that and confidently managing that. After this, no event, no task should be too daunting for them.”