Viera High student government achieves national excellence

Viera High School's Student Government Association (SGA) has been recognized as a 2021 National Gold Council of Excellence by the National Student Council. Pictured are SGA members Mason Spira, left, Devin Fox, Dawson Leary, Zoe Griffin and Rachel Moore.

It’s been a challenging year to say the least, but the Viera High School Student Government Association has been recognized for excellence once again.

The group was notified last month that it has been honored as a 2021 National Gold Council of Excellence by the National Student Council. It’s the fourth consecutive year the Viera SGA has received such recognition.

“It’s a pretty big deal getting this national recognition,” said Gaby Torres, a Viera High math teacher and the school’s SGA advisor.

“Not many schools nationally get this recognition. I can’t tell you the number of schools in Florida this year that received this, but I want to say it was less than five last year from the entire state.”

The award is based on an exemplary record of leadership, service and activities that serve to improve the school and its surrounding community. A number of checkmarks have to be met to qualify.

“We have to have our minutes from all of our meetings, whether that be executive board meetings, officer meetings or just general session meetings,” junior Zoe Griffin said. “We also have to document all of the projects we do — homecoming court, voter registration drives, freshmen orientation videos … lots of projects that are community and school (related).”

In a year where the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of dances, pep rallies and other events, the SGA has had to get creative.

One of its most popular projects was from junior Dawson Leary, who came up with a virtual scavenger hunt that included those on campus and eLearners at home.

“I was trying to think of different ideas that we could do that could get everybody involved but still be easy for us to control,” Leary said. “We made it a competition between classes. We tried to see who could escape the fastest.

“The idea … I don’t know. It just came to me one day. One of the previous years, I went to an escape room for my birthday party. I was like, hey, this would be cool to do in a virtual event.”

A community-based project focused on getting seniors registered to vote.

“We worked with our principal (Sarah Robinson), and we also worked with the School Board on trying to get eligible seniors registered to vote from Viera,” Griffin said. “We had an infographic on our Viera homepage for a while, and we tried to get the word out to all of our students here.

“We ended up making it a national project. (Viera student) Luke (Carter) also brought it to Tennessee and Kentucky. He used the same letter that we used over here to get the word out to other high schools in those two states.”

Sophomore Mason Spira enjoys seeing the impact of SGA projects.

“It’s really cool to see how people react to something creative we managed to create or something that helps them in their long-term life,” he said.