By Kate Anslinger
Winthrop High School Junior, Hunter Gillis, initially discovered his passion for student council when fellow students encouraged him to attend his first meeting. There is no doubt that Gillis immediately developed a devotion to helping students find their voice and make a difference. This spring, he was elected as Vice President of the Massachusetts Association of Student Councils (MASC). In the interview below, Gillis shares how he first got involved with student council and how he plans on continuing to make a difference in the future.
How did you get involved with Winthrop High Student Council?
I have been involved with Winthrop High Student Council since my freshman year,
mainly because of Andrew Almeida and Carly CorbettFrank, two upperclassmen that encouraged me to attend my first meeting. Ever since my first MASC conference my freshman year when Winthrop High School alumni Jessica Vigliotta ran for Secretary and won, I knew this is exactly what I wanted to do my Junior year. Student leadership always interested me even before I joined Winthrop High Student Council, because I loved how it gave students a chance to have a voice and make a difference. It was not until eighth grade when I decided to run for Vice President of my class. Until then I didn’t have any experience in leadership. I still proudly hold the title of VP of my class.
Who is your role model? Anyone who has led you down the path to leadership?
My role model would have to be Paul Branagan, the principal of Middleboro High School and Executive Director of MASC. Without him, I never would have had so many amazing experiences with student council. He inspires me every day to become a better person and leader. I have never met a man like him and I couldn’t be luckier to be able to serve alongside him on the State Board as his Vice President.
Do you have any ideas on what career path you would like to pursue? Education goals?
I would like to become either a Pediatric Nurse or a High School teacher in hopes of
going on to become a Principal or superintendent.
In your new role as VP of MA Association of Student Councils, what are some topics that you will be working on? What do you hope to gain from the experience?
As Vice President of the Massachusetts Association of Student Councils, I
will be planning leadership conferences with other student members of the executive board, as well as sponsoring Special Olympics through various events throughout the year. Some of those events are a Bocce Tournament and Polar Plunge to raise money for the organization. M.A.S.C.’s main goal at conferences is for students to leave the conference learning new ideas that they can bring back to their schools and communities, through the various workshops at the conference. M.A.S.C. wants students to leave having a new, better perspective of themselves, as a leader who has the opportunity to make a difference.
Our first debut is an event we call Officershop which is held at Holy Cross College in October. Here we will hold workshops presented by the State Student Executive board where we will teach certain leadership skills for specific jobs. Our biggest conference is a three-day, overnight conference in Hyannis, at which over a thousand students attend. At the conference we listen to inspiring guest speakers, attend various workshops as well as the annual dance. Planning the conference in Hyannis will be our biggest project of the year. I will also be traveling to Portland, Oregon this summer to attend the National Association of Student Councils conference.
When do you officially take on the title? How long will you hold the position for?
I was elected on March 11th at the M.A.S.C. Conference in Hyannis, but my first official meeting was April 13th, where I began my duties as Vice President. I will hold this position from now until April of 2017.