By Leila Rocha
Here at Benicia High, we have an entire class filled with intelligent leaders: Leadership. There, they have students from all grades that are student body presidents, vice presidents, and more; intriguingly it is—of course—Freshman Leadership students first year with the opportunity to fulfill spots in Benicia High’s student government.
In Benicia Paw’s interview with two Freshmen Leadership students Isabella Renteria and Brandon Cortes they provided responses to questions regarding their roles and responsibilities:
What is your role in Benicia High’s student government and how long is your term?
Renteria: “I am the Freshman President, President of the Class of 2026. Basically, I represent the Freshmen student body. I account for all the freshmen in Leadership. My term is one year long, from the first day of school to the last day of school. After that I will have to be voted in again for whatever position the rest of Leadership sees fit for me (which I’m hoping is Sophomore President!)”
Cortes: “[I]’m freshman vice president and have a year long term.”
How did you get your role?
Renteria: “In eight[h] grade, sometime in April, I emailed Ms.Wheat, our leadership teacher, saying that I wanted to be apart of Leadership. Some time later I was sent a Google Form. Inside was a short pre-interview which basically asked why we wanted to join. There were questions like, “Who are you and what do you like?” and “What experiences have you had that qualify you for Leadership?” After submitting that, Ms. Wheat sent me another email saying that the real interview would soon be conducted. The interview was over Zoom. All the seniors from that year were there and they each got to ask me a question. The whole thing took not even thirty minutes but I was nervous the entire time. At the end, Ms. Wheat said the seniors would review everything from my interview and the other Freshmen interviews and vote on what position to put me in. Fast-forward to the following Monday and Ms. Wheat emailed me saying I was elected as Freshmen President. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t super emotional about it.”
Cortes: “I had to apply and go through an interview.”
Being in Leadership, what is something that you have done so far that you are proud of?
Renteria: “I love when we get to volunteer at other places. A bit ago we volunteered at a festival at Mary Farmer, and the kids were super fun. I worked the ring toss and seeing them get stoked about winning tickets was great.”
Cortes: “[G]oing out and meeting new people and having the courage to talk to others.”
What challenges have you faced being the youngest in Leadership? Are there any restrictions that you have?
Renteria: “Most eight[h] graders at the middle school didn’t know about the Leadership course in high school, so they of course didn’t know they could apply. Unlike the upperclassmen, we have very few people in our year, so when we have to do things with other people in our year we are always at a bit of a disadvantage. When making rally posters for the Freshmen section at the first rally, we were only able to make about seven, even with the help of the sophomores.”
Cortes: “[H]aving time for myself is hard, but leaders have to sacrifice their hours for others.”
There will be a new teacher for the Leadership class next year. Do you know who this teacher will be? How do you feel about this upcoming change?
Renteria: “The new teacher will be Ms. Victoria Morgan. I’m pretty excited for the change. I know I’ll miss Ms. Wheat, but Ms. Morgan is a good teacher and I know she’ll be good for the position.”
Cortes: “[T]he new teacher is Victoria Morgan and although it’s going to be her first year I think that we’ll get on track and get things running smoothly.”
Great job Freshmen for taking on these roles to better our community here at Benicia High.