Using their voice: Student Council has real power, says school principal

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Colton Salani (left) Student Body Council vice president, and President Michael Lancour, together addressed the student body during a student council-led assembly in the school auditorium Wednesday.

HANCOCK — After the Hancock High School Student Body Council concluded its first assembly with the students Wednesday morning, Council President Michael Lancour reported to Principal Ezekiel Ohan on the assembly, and what was discussed. As the assembly was called by the council, administrative personnel or teachers were not permitted to attend.

“The purpose of the council is to give students what they yearn for,” Ohan said in an interview. “They want to be recognized as human beings and have the common sense, based on morals and values, and principles that have come from their households, that we endorse in the school, that we promote, as they move on to post-secondary expectation.”

Ohan said people should understand the brand of Hancock, because of “what we push out; it’s not a product, it’s a person.” He said for people to evolve, they need latitude, as well as a trust.

“You have to get rid of disconnect, and stop being a spectator,” said Ohan. “Start being a participator.”

During the discussion between him and Lancour after the assembly, Ohan told the him that he was the only only student in the state of Michigan with the power to stop instructional time.

Colton Salani, council vice president, is taking the student council experience very seriously, Ohan said.

“He was the initiator for this assembly,” Ohan said. “He was the first. He said: ‘I consulted with my cabinet and my cabinet thought…’ et cetera. It makes it easier for people in a position, such as myself, to place that amount of trust in a student body, and to have that held by people who have (good) character traits, those that are not appointed, but that are elected by their peers.”

Ohan said the council’s first assembly just proved that the democratic process works.

When the Student Body Council was organized at the beginning of the school year, it was designed to give the students a legitimate voice through the council, and give the council real authority and power beyond just planning a prom, Ohan had said earlier. Giving the council a seat at the table of the board would allow the entire student body to participate in the democratic process, and learn how government works through participation, not just through class studies.