This is a guest post by SMSU teacher candidate, Miss Wilson Ebner, who is currently the president of the SMSU Education MN Student Program (EMSP) Club. Wilson was recently elected to the National Education Association’s (NEA) Student Board of Directors. Below is her story of her intense and emotional election process that took place in Washington, DC last week. You can find and follow Wilson on Twitter @smsuEMSP.
“Hello Everyone! I am Wilson Ebner, a current senior at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, MN. I have been reading Wendy and Sonya’s blog for years now but not in 100 years would I have imagined I would be a guest blogger…so here it goes!
In November 2015, I decided to run for the position of NEA Student Board of Director. The many months following were slow and my campaign just consisted of me posting on social media about my views and myself until I flew to Washington DC on Tuesday June 28, 2016. On Wednesday, June 29, 2016 I was provided 1/2 of a table to decorate for people to see who I am and why they should vote for me. I was one of six students running for three spots.
The amount of students I met during this time was so overwhelming…so many questions to answer from the students who came to meet me at my table! I was able to create so many connections with students from other states during this time, many connections which I am so happy to say have turned into great friendships.
Later that night, I also had the opportunity to speak in front of the attendees at this Student Leadership Conference. This happened in three different steps.
The first step was nomination acceptance speeches. These were simple! I had a good friend of mine, Kane, stand in front of everyone and say that he nominates me for the board of directors. I then stood up and said I accept the nomination.
After all the candidates were finished being announced, the election speeches began. I was given 2 minutes to speak to the attendees on why they should vote for me. After my speech I was asked the question “How do you ensure your voice as a board of director adequately reflects the views of all student program members?” Little did I know, that the speech would be the least emotional part of this entire process.
The next day was voting! To win the election, you have to have majority vote. Majority vote is getting 50% + 1 vote. The first round of voting started at 11:45am and concluded at 1pm. The results were announced at 2:30pm that day. With the first round of results, two of the three Board of Directors positions were filled. This left four of us to battle it out for the remaining position. One student decided to drop out of the race early on so it dropped the number to three of us for the remaining round.
Round 2 and 3 happened again with no change. None of us were getting the majority vote. After the 3rd round the election committee decided to have each candidate speak again for one minute. I was freaking out by this time. This round-after-round situation really played with my emotions. Excitement when I moved closer and closer to the majority vote line, but also pure terror that someone would get there before me.
After the 4th round of votes, all the delegates were brought together to put a suspension on the rules. This suspension was to drop the candidate with the lowest amount of votes. It was down to only two students left! I knew this was my chance to pull ahead and get the majority votes.
We then voted again…round 5. The ballots took longer than usual to count. I had a bad feeling that something was wrong. Luckily that wasn’t the case. Majority votes were 32 during round 5. My competitor had 29, and I had 36!!!!!!!!
I DID IT!!!! All of the emotions I had felt that day all rushed out of me and I just started sobbing tears of joy. I am super excited for the upcoming year.
I want to say thank you for the support of all the Minnesota students who attended the conference with me and standing by my side during the insane voting process. I want to thank NEA for the amazing opportunities, my family and friends for standing with me since November.
Most of all I want to thank Sara Hard, the competitor who pushed me until the 5th round. From the first moment of meeting each other, we have had nothing but support and respect for each other. The process Sara and I went through is the most emotional experience I have been through. Through the entire process, I found myself always giving Sara hugs and exchanging words of encouragement. In such a heated campaign, that was not expected, but Sara is the most amazing person, and I know Illinois is the luckiest state to have her.”
Congratulations, Wilson. We salute you on your newly elected position. Serve it, and SMSU, well. You’ve worked hard for your dream and you’ve succeeded! You matter…to all of us! 🙂
SMSU Representation at the NEA SLC Conference