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Wasilla shoots for the moon with 2016 AASG conference

Kindall Rumbo, Reporter

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The lights go out and 530 AASG student from around the state watch in awe as the Colony High school marching band delivers a galactic performance with flashing wrist bands and Darth Vader conductors. The band’s interpretation of Star Wars and Star Trek promised that this AASG conference was going to be out of this world.

The organization of the 2016 conference held at the Menard Center started a year ago.

After attending the 2015 Chugiak fall conference the Wasilla Warriors began preparing for their chance to host the biggest AASG ever.

aasg-student-registration

Student government hosts Ella Bronk, Sarah Prosser, and Alexis Adams help register 530 student delegates at the three day 2016 AASG conference at the Menard Center. The girls signed up students from around the state for community explorations such as Hatcher Pass hikes and archery.

“I remember having on our sign up of ideas for speakers, and Oprah and Ellen were one of the first people on there. And we actually contacted those people but “They said no,”  Wasilla High junior and class public relations officer Alice Lee said.

The first step to make this conference a go was to set a goal. “We wanted to set a record,” said Lee.

The next call to order was more about logistics: who would be the guest speakers and how do you feed hundreds of high school kids over a three day period? That’s when the work began.

As early as the spring Kodiak AASG conference the Warriors started campaigning by giving out tulip bulbs to all participants to match the 2016 theme-Growing Dreamers into Leaders.  Additionally at Kodiak, the team decorated cakes reading Join Us at Wasilla High Fall 2016. The Warrior team even took their campaign to Twitter, updating the plans throughout the summer. By the time fall registration closed 561 students had registered. They had done it. It would be the largest conference ever.

Wasilla High student government advisor and AASG Chairman Tony Jensen said he knew that this year’s group of WHS student government officers could pull off an event this big, “It was a group I trusted to get the work done to actually host, because you know what it is we have to do.”

“I think the reason why advisers come is that they really believe in the mission that the kids are doing and so they are willing to give up their time to travel here,” Jensen said.

Paying for the conference was another matter. Before the official partnership between Wasilla High and the Wasilla City Council, the original cost of the conference would’ve been $65,000, but because the city offered reduced prices and sponsored Wasilla High the total cost was $24,000 dollars. This paid for food, facility, and motivational speaker and mentalist Russ Peak. Each delegate paid a $90 registration fee that helped with the final cost.

By the end of the conference the hosting Wasilla delegation was exhausted. Junior Angus Shaw’s face paint dripped down his cheek down to his chin, his eyes glazed over, “It didn’t require the most gigantic student body to run it, but a decent size of group. It took a lot of work to set up the food for the schools and different events.”

Lee said that while getting ready for the conference, “You learn how to get out of your comfort zone-that when somebody hands you something, even if you don’t know how to do it, or you don’t want to do it, you gotta do it, or it won’t get done.”

Being the hosting school changed things Lee said, “You get to go to such great conferences, but now you get to see all the hard work and dedication behind the scenes.”

On Saturday night when the Wasilla High student government team shuts off the lights, they can be sure that the force was with them.

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Wasilla shoots for the moon with 2016 AASG conference