2020-2021 SBP Interview

Leading responsibly, empowering students, and making a positive impact are just a few of the ways our new SBP plans to lead the students.

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Ben Reichard, BreAnna Winters, and Heidi Johnson. WL's New SBP!

The Burger Gazette Staff

Recently the Burger Gazette Staff had the opportunity to interview Ben Reichard, BreAnna Winters, and Heidi Johnson, the winners of this year’s Student Body Presidency elections. We asked them questions concerning why they ran, what their first step will be, how they feel about this new leadership position, and much more. From these inquiries we uncovered how rich in school spirit our new presidency is, how much they care about the students, how ready they are to take on the exciting adventures next year will bring, and our school’s secret (but basically proven) favorite flavor of ice cream 😉

Their passion and love for this school shines through during their interview. Read on to find out the epic, inspiring truth about your 2020-2021 Student Body Presidency!

The Burger Gazette Staff interviewing Ben, BreAnna, and Heidi.

Stephanie: Welcome! Our first question is, why did you run for Student Body Presidency? What inspired you to run?

Ben: The reason I personally decided to run for student body president was because I not only felt like I have what it takes, but also because I really wanted to make a difference in the school. I knew I could do it, and so I just decided to give it a go. And the main person who really influenced me upfront was my brother Evan, who’s obviously the current student body president. He’s been a great example and a great person to learn from.

BreAnna: I’d never thought about it until Ben texted me one day. He’s like, “Hey, here’s an idea: how about we run for student body presidency together!” I’m like, “Okay, yeah, why not?” But part of the reason why I agreed to it is because I’m a huge advocate of pushing yourself to do things you’re uncomfortable with and putting yourself outside your comfort zone. So this will be a really, really great way for me to continue to push myself and grow. That was probably my main motivation. And plus, I love the school, and everyone in it is absolutely amazing. I’d love to be able to make a small difference or a large difference.

Heidi: Oh gosh, there’s a couple of reasons. Like BreAnna, I actually never thought about this until someone messaged me saying like, “Hey, do you want to run? This would be a cool thing to do.” And I thought about it and realized that I really care a lot about the people in the school. I never thought I could learn to love people that I don’t even know in real life, but the leadership has definitely taught me otherwise. And because other people have taught me that and shown me through their examples just how meaningful the connections can be here, I want to give that back.

Stephanie: What was it like for you running alongside so many awesome burgers?

Ben: Honestly, it was an honor. Everyone who ran had such a great campaign, and they really did a fantastic job of planning out their vision and their goals. And literally, I would have been happy with any of the candidates leading the student body next school year.

BreAnna: Yeah, same here. Personally, I had quite a few friends that were running against me. I was like, “Oh, that’s so sad cause I would vote for every single one of them if I could!” Sadly, that isn’t how it works though. But, yes, it was an honor to run against them and be able to participate with them. I’ve said multiple times that I wish we could just have like a 16-person presidency–I think that’s how many candidates we had. I don’t know how well that would have worked, but we will get to work with all of them in the student body leadership group next year, which should be so amazing and fun. It’ll be a really great year.

Heidi: I guess the same as what Ben and BreAnna have been saying: it really was such an honor to run with and against so many Burgers who were capable and ready to step up to that leadership position and give all they had to give. I definitely agree with what BreAnna was saying, that any of them I know would do an amazing job. And I’m so excited that we get to work with them next year.

Stephanie: What was your first reaction when you heard that you won the election?

Ben: Okay, so I wasn’t in class. I was just up here in my room doing school when I got a Hangouts notification from the group chat we have. And it was an image. I hadn’t opened it yet, but I just knew–that was the results right there. And I had to open it. So I opened it, and it was a screenshot of something that somebody had pasted in the chat (because BreAnna was in class when it was announced). So somebody had pasted it in the chat, and I saw my name on there and literally screamed. I literally yelled “NO WAY!” We were all like, “What the heck!!” I honestly wasn’t completely expecting that at all, so it was a big surprise.

BreAnna: Yeah, I was. I was in American Literature when we found out. Heidi and I were both in class. I’m going to go back and watch that recording because I just want to see that again. So yeah, we were both in American Literature, and Maddy [Wayman] said, “Guys, it was just announced!” She put it in the chat, and I stared at it and just froze. I didn’t know what to think at the time, but I’m super excited now!

Heidi: So yeah, I was also in American Literature. BreAnna and I have that same class. I had looked away from the chat for a bit. (I was like, listening for once.) And then I looked over at the chat and it had just exploded, and I looked up and I saw my name. I was so shocked you guys–like I can’t. Like Mrs. Williams was saying, I bet my face just…yeah. I think I forgot how to function for a couple of seconds and then I was just super excited.

Stephanie: What is your first step now that you’ve been elected?

Ben: Obviously, we’re not the student body presidency yet. Evan and Maddie and Tanner and Barry are still the current SBP. But the first thing that we plan on doing next school year will be immediately continuing Student Body Presidency Hour–before we even begin working on any of our other campaign goals at all. I think it’s really a great idea, and I feel like we can really improve upon it a lot and make it even better. So that’s the first thing we’re gonna start doing.

Esther: What is your motto as a presidency for this upcoming year?

BreAnna: It is: Leading Responsibly, Empowering Students, and Making a Positive Impact.

Esther: Why did you choose that motto?

Ben: I was actually the one who came up with that, and it has three main parts. When I was making it, of course, I discussed it with BreAnna and my campaign people to make sure it was a good idea. But when I was coming up with the idea, I just thought about the three main things that I wanted to do and leave behind. So, obviously, the first is leading responsibility, like doing an actual good job leading inspiration hour for instance. Empowering students, which, in my mind, pretty much means being there for students and being their friend and connecting them and helping them. And then just overall making a positive impact on everything that we do for the school.

Esther: What is your biggest goal as a presidency? Or in what way do you plan to lead the students at Williamsburg?

Ben: So our biggest goal as a presidency is pretty much to connect with as many students as possible and really make them included: continuing to put a huge focus on making really meaningful individual connections. Throughout our whole campaign, we have been talking to and getting to know so many students, and it’s been so fun. I just love how everybody’s different; everybody’s unique, and I love meeting all the different students and getting to know them. And I think while starting cool new programs and stuff is cool, honestly just making friends–I feel like that’s one of the most important things you can do.

BreAnna: Like Ben said, making a positive impact more on a personal level with the students. That’s one thing I really, really enjoy doing. We did this when we were campaigning (and I’m still doing this now too), and it’s so much fun–just reaching out to students, making connections with them individually, and really getting to know them. I’ve gotten to know so many really amazing Williamsburgers, and I plan to continue doing that throughout this next school year because honestly, it’s totally made a huge difference for me. It’s so cool to actually see how different this semester was versus last semester. It’s been really cool to be able to connect with people individually. It’s so much fun, and I absolutely love it.

Esther: What is your biggest personal goal for next year?

Ben: So as you guys know, I’m a musician. I love to play music; that’s my thing (I got my guitar back there). So personally, my biggest goal is to really step it up with my music. I want to start putting more practice time in–a lot more practice time–and do more covers, original songs, and hopefully, some really cool videos will start showing up on my YouTube channel. (So get excited for that!) I just love music, and that’s my biggest personal goal: to work on it more.

BreAnna: My personal goal is more like a self-improvement type of thing. And also, as I said earlier, I will continue reaching out to students next year as well; that’s also a goal I have. And just continuing to improve and push myself to be better–reaching outside of my comfort zone.

Heidi: I also really love music. It’s a big part of my life. So, my biggest personal goal is to dive more into guitar theory; I just started learning a couple of months ago. I really want to dive into that and make sure I understand the instrument really, really well. And then I also want to work really hard on technique.

Esther: The next question is–we’re going back to asking questions for your campaign as a whole–are you planning on using ideas from other nominees during your term as a presidency?

BreAnna: Currently, we are planning to. There are a ton of really great ideas and a lot of really cool things that can be added to Williamsburg. And we’re also going to have the opportunity to work with the other candidates like I said–to be able to bring their ideas to Williamsburg. So I would definitely say yes, we do plan on using some of their ideas. But, of course, making sure they’re fine with it (because maybe some people aren’t alright with that). But I know Kenny Mears had a few really good ideas, as he mentioned possibly working together to achieve one of his main goals. So yes, we plan on doing that.

Ben: Everybody had so many great ideas. I feel like we definitely don’t have to just stick to the things that we initially came up with within our own campaign; we’re always going to be open to new ideas. If we come up with something randomly next year, we might carry it out and make it happen. So it’s not just the things we came up with on our campaign page. We are definitely going to incorporate ideas from other candidates.

Esther: Are you going to keep your social media account active during your term?

Ben: Yep, definitely. 

Esther: What are some things that you are planning to do with it?

Ben: I’m hoping to post maybe once a month or every-other-week, just posting reminders to “head over to SBP hour this week,” for instance. Or if there’s like some really cool in-person event that happened, we can post pictures of that (obviously once the coronavirus isn’t a thing anymore), but pretty much any super cool Williamsburg-related content that we think deserves to be put on the official SBP Instagram. 

Liliana: On a scale of 1 to 10, how overwhelming is this new leadership position for you?

Ben: I would say 2. I’m a low-stress kind of guy. I know I can do a good job, and if any big challenges come along, I know I have a great team to work with to figure them out.

BreAnna: Right now, it’s probably a 2. But knowing me, it’s probably going to go up to like an 8. I’m excited, but I am kind of scared of the unknown. That’s the main thing because obviously, no one knows what’s going to happen in certain situations–there are so many possible outcomes. So I would say that’s one thing that kind of scares me a little bit, but I’m excited and nervous at the same time.

Heidi: I’m kind of like BreAnna. I’m super-duper excited just to like be working with so many amazing people and to really be serving all of you guys next semester, but I’m also a little bit overwhelmed because there are so many amazing things to do–and kind of like what BreAnna was saying–the fear of the unknown and having to step into that. Well, the unknown is not a bad thing. It just makes you kind of vulnerable, which is okay. So I would say, I’m probably a 2 as well right now, just because it’s okay at the moment. We’re excited and planning for the future, but it’ll probably change. 

Liliana: How do you plan to manage your time with this additional commitment?   

Ben: Okay, so I know I’m going to be having a lot going on in my life next school year, especially with this additional commitment, which is why I decided to let go of some other kind of less-important commitments. For instance, I used to work in my martial arts studio on Fridays, but I’m not going to be doing that anymore next school year to make more time for things like the student body presidency.

BreAnna: The Best Self Journal is my best friend. I plan everything out with it. I finished it about a week ago, and it’s crazy how much of a difference it makes! Using the BSJ is how I plan to schedule out my crazy life. And putting in order what I need to focus on–and focusing on those things. 

Heidi: *Holding up her Best Self Journal* So this beautiful thing right here. It’s called the Best Self Journal. It’s a lifesaver. I definitely will be using that a lot, just like I’ve been using it this semester, I promise. I’ll be using it to plan out every day and to make sure that I have my priorities straight, that I’m focusing on what’s meaningful to me.

Stephanie: I just have a follow-up question. So you both are obviously Best Self Journal fans. I know personally a lot of students who hate the Best Self Journal and don’t use it. I love that you guys are super passionate about it. What would you say to students who don’t want to use it? Could you tell me why you think it’s so great?

BreAnna: Okay, I totally related to that last year. Using the Best Self Journal was a major struggle for me, and I didn’t use it well at all. But this last semester, I decided I’m just going to do it. Mr. Gilbert, my leadership mentor, changed up the system, and I actually really love it. It’s made it a lot easier for me for whatever reason, so it’s really just a mindset shift. Personally, that’s made a big difference, and just telling myself this will eventually help me as long as I’m doing it. When I can get myself to do it 4-5 times a week, then it makes a huge impact. Making sure I’m doing it every day and every night (and I’ve had to set alarms for myself because otherwise I just forget) has made a great difference. Also, just keeping it in a space where I can constantly see it–it’s just like a constant reminder to be like, “Okay, this is what I’ve got scheduled for today, and this is what my goal for today is.” It gets to the point where you know exactly what you’re doing, and it helps a lot.

Heidi: Once upon a time, I actually hated the Best Self Journal. Back in freshman year, it was a drag to get myself to do it. I thought it was kind of just for the grades and personal leadership. But then at the beginning of last semester, I really thought about the goals I wanted to make. I realized that a big difference is in the goals you set because the whole Best Self Journal is centered around goals that are super exciting and meaningful to you. So if you set goals that make you excited to get up in the morning, they make you want to get out and do them. They get you motivated to finish your other things, so you can work on them. Then, the whole Best Self Journal kind of falls into place. And another big thing is keeping that motivation at the front of your focus, which is really hard to do. I struggle with that sometimes.

Liliana: What advice do you have for people who are interested in campaigning for student body presidency next school year?  

Ben: I actually have a lot of advice I could give, but just to keep it short, I would say the most important thing is that you HAVE to campaign for yourself. Whether that’s just simply talking to people or announcing during student share, you have to get the word out so people know who you are and also that you’re running. Making a strong campaign with a great page (maybe a website and social media as well) is super important. But if you just leave it at that, your chances of winning are pretty small.

BreAnna: I don’t remember who came up with the idea of making individual connections. (It was probably Ben.) But with the individual connections we made, we were able to get to know a lot of really great students and create a genuine connection with a lot of them. It creates a kind of bond–helping those students that we reached out to feel comfortable with us as a possible presidency. So, be extremely friendly and outgoing. Share a lot during student share. In class, the things you do make a huge impact because those people in our classes are the people watching you and eventually they’re going to be voting for you as their SBP. It really just depends on if the students can trust you. That is a huge thing! If they are not able to trust you that’s a huge issue. 🙂

Heidi: I personally feel like I did this all wrong. You should listen to what Ben and BreAnna are saying because their campaign was so amazing! I remember looking at it, and I was like, “Oh, that’s so cool! I can tell they really care about what they’re campaigning for.” One thing I would definitely recommend is to plan in advance. Plan before the deadline for submitting your application is due. That’s certainly helpful. Don’t decide to run the day applications are due; plan in advance. Make a vision. Talk to people who are excited for you and want to help you and campaign for you. 

Amira: What is your favorite aspect of Williamsburg schools? Why do you love this school?

Ben: I love Williamsburg not just because of the amazing people I’ve met here, but also because this school literally teaches us how to become amazing people. 

BreAnna: We have some of the most amazing mentors and students here at Williamsburg. I used to go to the local high school, and you can tell there is a huge difference between the people in Williamsburg versus the people in public school. The culture is like 1000 TIMES DIFFERENT. There’s something about it that I just absolutely love, and I’m positive that it’s the culture of belonging. That is such a huge thing. So that’s something that I absolutely love about Williamsburg: its culture of belonging. And also the people here at Williamsburg are amazing.

Heidi: I completely agree with that. Seriously, the mentors and the students here are amazing, and everyone here is really focused on seeking a higher learning opportunity. The people here all really care about what we’re learning! We’re going to this amazing school, and it’s just such an incredible experience.

Amira: What are you most excited about next year?

Ben: Next year, I am easily most excited to begin serving the student body as the student body president.

BreAnna: I’m also very excited about that. It’s going to be really, really awesome to be able to push myself and grow and be able to serve the students. I’m really excited about that as well.

Heidi: I’m super excited about serving in SBP too. I know that serving as secretary will bring me so many new learning opportunities that I haven’t experienced before. I’m super excited!

Amira: When you were young, what did you want to be when you grow up?

Ben: This one’s pretty funny! First of all, I’m still young. Also, I swear I come up with a new idea of what I want to do when I grow up at least once a week. But when I was probably seven, maybe six, (don’t ask me why) but I wanted to be a mover–like the guys who help you move. I thought that was the coolest thing. Probably because we were moving a lot back then and these movers were the nicest dudes. We literally would play hide and seek with these guys. They’d pack us in boxes, move us around, and stack us on other boxes. We were these little kids, you know, and it was just the coolest thing to me, so I wanted to be a mover back then.

BreAnna: I didn’t see that coming. I don’t even remember what I wanted to be as a young child. I’m pretty sure it had something to do with music because all my life music has been a huge part of growing up for me. Currently, I want to eventually start teaching violin lessons because I play the violin. I absolutely love it. I don’t actually remember what I wanted to be when I was younger–I don’t know that I necessarily had something specific in mind.

Heidi: Okay, I think that changed daily for me. I can think of so many careers that I’ve thought about getting into and really being excited about all of them–and then hating having to choose just one to pursue. That made me so heartbroken. But one big one I remember that I stuck with for a long time, like months, was I really wanted to be a marine biologist. I grew up living five minutes from the beach. So the ocean really fascinated me, and I thought it’d be cool at that point in my life. 

Amira: What’s your favorite subject or class?

Ben: This one’s easy. It’s leadership, no question. I’ll just leave it at that.

BreAnna: I think we’re all gonna have the exact same answers, but 100% leadership. I absolutely love the leadership classes here at Williamsburg. They’re just amazing. We have so many good discussions, and we get to learn so many amazing things that you don’t get to normally learn outside of Williamsburg. There are a few other places, but honestly, I’m pretty sure we have some of the best classes here, and leadership is by far my favorite.

Heidi: Leadership. Definitely. I can’t even begin to list the ways that it’s changed my life. It’s literally the best class.

Amira: My dad (Mr. Gilbert) would love hearing that. Next question, do you visit The Burger Gazette often?

Ben: Before we started running for SBP, I didn’t actually check it out much. But after we started running, I’ve definitely stopped by and read an article or two at least a few times. So yes, I have.

BreAnna: I’m the same as Ben, except I had checked it out before because Stephanie was really great, and she plugged it during student body leadership. So I went and read a couple of articles. And I’ve checked it out here and there during the campaigning and whatnot. I do check it out once in a while.

Heidi: Yeah, I checked it out a couple of times because I’ve known people that have done articles or ran the journalism class. Running and campaigning and learning about more people and getting more involved with the school has definitely pushed me to go look at it more and to read the amazing articles that are up.

Amira: Do you have any plans for after high school? What is your dream job or career?

Ben: After high school, I want to go to college. Not sure which one yet, but I’m going to figure that out soon. I plan on probably studying finance and music. After that, my dream career is to just be a musician. I love music. It’s what I’m good at. It’s what I’d like to do. So whether that’s being an artist or a teacher or both, I definitely want to be a musician.

BreAnna: As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to go to BYU Idaho. I don’t know why that’s just kind of been something I’ve wanted to do. And I plan to study music.

Heidi: Okay, well, this is one thing that’s funny about this presidency: we all really love music. I also want to study music, specifically music education at BYU Provo because there are some people in my life that have really influenced my interest in music who’ve also gone to BYU Provo. That’s how they’ve started their music careers, and they’re amazing musicians. I hope I will get into that school to study music as well.

Stephanie: This has been so awesome! We have two more questions for you. You’ve heard the Burger Swag Shop went up, I hope. Have you bought anything from it and will you guys be promoting it next year?

Ben: That’s a great idea! We should definitely promote it. I haven’t bought anything from it, but BreAnna has. I’ve definitely checked it out though, and I know what it is. I’m thinking about maybe going for a Burger sweatshirt or something. That’d be cool.

BreAnna: Yes, I bought something, and I’m so excited for it to come. I can’t wait. So, yes, we will definitely try to get people to go check it out. I have already been saying that in half of my classes. I’m like, “Guys, go check out The Burger Swag Shop!”

Heidi: The Burger Swag Shop is so cool. I was looking at it and dreaming about which one to get. As soon as quarantine ends and I can make some money, I will get something! And yes, I will be promoting it–saying things like, “Have you seen the stuff on there? It’s so cool!”

Stephanie: Last question, what is your favorite flavor of ice cream?  

Ben: Okay, so my favorite flavor of ice cream is coffee ice cream–all the way. I don’t drink coffee, but I love coffee ice cream.

BreAnna: My favorite is raspberry cheesecake ice cream. It’s really great. The most specific flavor ever, but it’s really good and you guys should all try it if you haven’t yet.

Heidi: BreAnna actually told us about her favorite ice cream the other day, and I got really curious and so I went and tried the raspberry cheesecake. And you guys, it’s so good! I think that’s definitely up there in my favorites. It’s so good. Go try it!

Stephanie: Wow. Okay, so we have our school’s favorite flavor of ice cream right here: raspberry cheesecake! Love that. As we wrap up do you guys have any last words that you’d like to say before we end this interview?

Ben: I’ll just say I’m so grateful to have been elected with BreAnna and Heidi, and I absolutely cannot wait for next school year. It’s going to be a ton of fun. And thank you so much for the interview!

Aren’t you stoked for next year! It is going to be incredible! There will be amazing things happening so make sure you are doing what it takes to prepare NOW for next semester of learning, growing, changing, and becoming the next generation and world leaders here at Williamsburg Learning. (Oh, and if you really love our school, tell your friends who don’t go here what they are missing out on! Get them enrolled and embark on this learning experience with all your besties!) Go, Burger Llamas! We are all about connection, leadership, and empowering each other. 🙂