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Waccamaw High: Member of award-winning student council leads state group

By Roger Greene
Coastal Observer

Waccamaw High received a double dose of good news at the South Carolina Association of Student Councils conference at Wade Hampton High School in Greenville this month. Junior Mitchell Saum was elected as SCASC president for the 2012-13 school year at the event and, for the eighth consecutive year, Waccamaw’s student council was named best in the state.

“We had a blast at the conference,” said Julie Humowitz, Waccamaw’s student council advisor. “Mitchell did a great job campaigning and is going to be an excellent president. And our student council seems to have found a successful formula. To win eight years in a row is an awesome accomplishment. It speaks to the quality of projects we take on, and the quality work we do.”

Saum, the current SCASC vice president, beat two other candidates to claim the presidency. As VP, Saum had a role in planning the student workshops at the conference and his ability to network himself and articulate his qualifications were key to his election.

“I tried to meet as many people and shake as many hands as I could,” Saum said. “I wanted to meet someone from every school that was there. Campaigning was fun. There were posters everywhere and it was great to meet so many people. Being president will keep me busy, but I’m looking forward to all the work.”

“Mitchell sold himself and his skills,” Humowitz said. “It wasn’t about how many posters he had or the goodies he was giving away. It was about the positive impression he made on people and the confidence they have in his abilities.”

Saum has been a member of the WHS student council since his freshman year and is vice president of the student body. In addition to his work as SCASC vice president, Saum also served as the organization’s district chairman for 2010-11. He attended the SCASC Leadership Camp in Cherry Grove in 2010 and 2011 and the group’s national convention in St. Louis last year.

That experience should serve him well as, due to his election as president, the 2013 SCASC conference will be held at Waccamaw High in March 2013. More than 500 students are expected to be on hand for that event.

“I don’t know of many conferences that have been held at Class AA schools,” Saum said. “I know I’ve never been to one. It’s going to be a lot of work and the planning will take up most of my time. Making sure everything is set up will be one of my top priorities.

“The videos we showed during our presentation showed what our area and school have to offer. People liked what they saw and I think they are excited about coming here.”

Humowitz said the work of student council historians, sophomore Sarah Hutto and freshman Kareena Patel, was instrumental in WHS claiming an eighth straight title. The duo created the scrapbook judges use to evaluate the work of each student council, a retrospective that illustrates a council’s work and achievements both inside and outside of school.

“The work they did was impressive, especially considering this is the first year they have been on council,” Humowitz said. “The scrapbook is a big responsibility. But they made it work.”

Though neither Hutto nor Patel were in Greenville, they were kept apprised of the happenings through text messaging.

“I screamed when I got the text saying that we won,” Hutto said. “My mom came running into the room, she thought something had happened. It was a lot of stuff to put together. There were times when it seemed like we weren’t going to know what to do with it all.”

“It was very exciting,” Patel said. “Everyone is so happy we won. It was amazing to see how well everything came together. It makes you feel like you really accomplished something.”

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