Buckhorn Student Senate works to beautify school, celebrate heritage

This school year, the Buckhorn Student Senate has been making a lot of changes to their school, including redoing the girls’ bathroom, adding student recreations of classic works and adding lounge areas in the hallways.

Members of the Buckhorn High School student senate have been working on many projects within the school and Buckhorn community. The students, school officials said, are practicing roles as servant leaders, making “bold and innovative changes” in their school, with the intention of beautifying the area, enhancing art appreciation and passing on heritage.

Teresa Brewer, faculty adviser of the Buckhorn student senate, said this is the first year the school has really had a student senate take on these kind of projects. Buckhorn School, Brewer said, doesn’t have any arts or humanities classes, so the students want to enhance those subjects in other ways, which was one of the reasons for their inspiration.

“We do what we can when we can,” said Brewer. “Art is an integral part of life, it can’t be stripped away. People are going to produce it regardless. This was our venue for us to do that. This is driven by their desire and their passion.”

The student senate offers many services which include peer tutoring, writing (for the community and younger students), planning school improvements in school climate, offering incentives for behavior and discipline, seeking funding as needed, offering community classes and exploring college/career options.

For many of their larger beautification projects, the student senate focused on common areas. One of the hallways has their “Heritage Collection,” which includes student paintings of the log cathedral across the road from the school, the school itself and Buckhorn State Park Lodge. Another addition on which students worked is the cafe/student spaces, where they added chairs and tables to the hallways for students to utilize as lounge areas. The students also repainted the girls’ bathroom to give it a more positive and appealing appearance.  

Much of the funding for the projects was earned by students through fundraisers or grants. The students wrote and applied for three grants and received all three of them.

“At smaller schools, the budget is tight and everybody has to do multiple jobs,” said Brewer.

Some of the community classes offered by the student senate were cooking, painting, poetry, music and basket weaving classes.

“We loved to see all the smiling faces,” said one of the student senate members. Another agreed, “It made us so happy to get the Buckhorn community together.”

“We’d love to pass down our heritage. That’s really key here, appreciating what you have and passing it down to the next generation,” said Brewer.

The students have also worked on student-written and illustrated books, as well as designed a community cookbook. Members of the student senate have also met with state legislature to discuss their program and goals. One student, Hannah Brewer, even had the opportunity to serve as Legislative Page to Sen. Brandon Smith.

Two of the group’s most recent programs are “Project Inspire” and the “A and B Initiative.”

Through “Project Inspire,” the student senate members hope to use art to inspire within their comfortable learning spaces. To achieve this, they are utilizing unique lighting, classroom murals and setting future goals. They also hope to help other students learn about and appreciate the arts through museum site visits and tours, develop skills in the arts and showcase work within the school and learning places.

The “A and B Initiative” is for students in grades 9-12, and lasted from May 3-16. The ‘A’ stands for attendance and ‘B’ stands for behavior. Students with 100% attendance and good behavior through the set time frame will earn the “Avengers Adventure” field trip on May 16, where students will be taken to Hillside Theater to watch “Avengers End Game.” The students will also receive a popcorn and soda ticket, as well as a “Pizza Picnic” at the park after the movie.

The students are currently working towards the grand opening of their recording studio, a new career path established/college degree program. Through the studio, students will be able to record community podcasts, folktales and original music. The students hope to have the program established and ready to open by August.

Buckhorn School Principal Tim Wooton said he is grateful to have students with this much initiative and creativity.

“I’m just very proud of them and what they’ve done here at the school, their community involvement. They’re a really outstanding group of kids and I’m very proud of them,” Wooton said.

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