Superintendent’s Spotlight: Middle School Student Senate


Superintendent’s Spotlight: Middle School Student Senate

October 2, 2023

The Student Senate is one of the many ways students work on their leadership skills at Warwick Valley Middle School. These young leaders, often referred to as senators, are elected by the student body each year. The senate provides a platform for students to voice their ideas, concerns, and suggestions. They work diligently to make the Middle School community more vibrant, inclusive, and academically enriching. 

This year’s recently elected Student Senate leadership is made up of eighth-graders Denis McAteer, president; Olivia Conklin, vice president;  Lily Kalil, secretary; and Jadalynn Acosta, treasurer. There are also representatives from all grade levels.

The senate organizes and leads events to support the community, such as Pink Out Day for breast cancer awareness, selling items and raising funds for the American Cancer Society; promoting and gathering donations for the Thanksgiving Food Drive to benefit the Warwick Food Pantry; promoting and facilitating a toy drive for kids in need during the holidays; and funding the school’s Valentines for Vets Breakfast.

Becoming a senator allows students to build skills that reflect the Warwick Valley Central School District’s Portrait of a Graduate. They learn how to be a Collaborator. Collaborators hear, acknowledge, and appreciate a diversity of perspectives in conversation. They practice being a Communicator. Communicators connect with people who are both like and unlike them. And, they apply their knowledge and skills into being Ethical and Global Citizens, which are neighbors to the world, exhibiting empathy, compassion, and respect for others.

“Student Senate has always been a club that has looked to better the community, make the school a little better, and really, in the big picture, make the world a better place,” said Mark Botta, mathematics teacher and advisor to the senate.

Denis, who plays tennis, soccer and basketball, ran for office because he wanted to make a difference in the school and improve involvement in the school’s clubs. “I feel like we have the resources but students aren’t confident enough to join the clubs and I’d like to encourage them to join.”

Olivia, who does cheer as well as track, is looking forward to taking charge of activities, promoting events and communicating with others. “I thought it’d be a good idea to run,” she said. “I want to be more involved and be a leader.”

Lily, who is on the cheer and track teams and also does competition cheer, said she wanted to connect more with the school. “I want to take on more responsibility, learn more about school government and what it means to be a part of it.” 

Jadalynn wants to get students more involved and aware of how to get more involved with their school and make the organization and running of activities easier. “The legacy I am hoping for is to make everything easier for the next senate to run. Personally, I ran for treasurer because I wanted to be more involved with the school and I want to be more involved with the community.” 

She said her experience on the Orange County Youth Advisory Board and Warwick’s Summer Youth Leadership Academy will be helpful in her role as treasurer. 

“As we move forward, we anticipate a year filled with positive changes, exciting events, and student-led initiatives, all thanks to the diligent work of our Student Senate,” said Principal Jared Yapkowitz. “It’s a reminder that even in the middle school years, democracy thrives, and the future is in the capable hands of our young leaders.”

Eighth-graders Olivia Conklin, vice president; Lily Kalil, secretary; Jadalynn Acosta, treasurer; and Denis McAteer, president.

Student Senate leadership: Olivia Conklin, vice president; Lily Kalil, secretary; Jadalynn Acosta, treasurer; and Denis McAteer, president.


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