Student leadership outside of school


Maddie McConkey ’16 in Representative Applebaum’s office

Katya Tobak, Arts & Culture Editor

Sports, clubs, volunteering, and jobs are all extracurricular activities that Blake students look forward to even after spending a long day at school. Their free time has now become filled with other responsibilities from such activities. Most importantly, these activities help spark a greater interest in a certain area that this student might major in or focus on as they continue their high school journey towards college. An example of one of these activities is campaigning in the state to represent your local county or district in matters regarding politics or student life, which many Blake students participate in. Not only does this impact a student’s perspective on their own community, but it sheds light onto the fact that our fellow adolescent peers are already making a difference in society for the greater good.

Forum leader Maddie McConkey ’16 is one of these people. She became involved in the Minnesota Student Council through her political science class and is still on the council today. The MN Student Council is “an official legislative committee down at the State Capitol,” McConkey explains. They work with the Department of Health and the Department of Education to address issues that affect our community. There is a total of 36 students from around the state that are nominated from a larger group who apply every year. “In the past, we have supported Service Day, and worked with the Commissioner of Education,” McConkey states, providing detail on how this committee presents numerous leadership opportunities that are rarely offered at school. The State Service Project is a project that ranged from fundraisers to donations to raising used amenities and giving them to certain organizations. This year, the committee will focus on homelessness and raise awareness through their own creative and impactful methods.

Fortunately, McConkey acknowledges that “Anyone can apply! You just have to have an interest [in what you are planning on supporting and learning about].” Students would need to show their social skills and have some experience or awareness in the issue being addressed, but not entirely necessary to qualify for a position on the board. Once nominated, you serve a two-year term, giving you an ample amount of time to express your leadership skills and use them where they are needed. Other students, such as Charles Voijta ’15, Zeam Porter ’16, Julia Shepard ‘16, and Maxine Whitely ’16 have also become involved in such campaigns.

For more information and to learn about ways in which you can start your year off with a new perspective and a role as an impactful leader, visit

Additionally, see the feature on Shepard and her experience with the High School Page Program at the Minnesota House of Representatives.