Giselle Randall didn’t come to Severna Park with a goal to fit in. The eighth-grader and student government president at Severna Park Middle School wanted to stand out.
“Sometimes fitting in isn’t the best way to make a difference,” Giselle said.
The former District Heights, Maryland, resident moved to Severna Park with her family in October 2021, following her older brother’s recruitment and acceptance into Severn School to play basketball. Giselle knew transitioning to Severna Park Middle during the school year would present challenges, but she set out to make her mark. She was elected student government president less than a year later.
Although she’s thrilled with her school and the educational and social opportunities it offers, Giselle feels the school system hasn’t completely returned to pre-COVID-19 normalcy.
“Since COVID, school has been a little boring,” Giselle said. “My platform was for more opportunities for students.”
Giselle noted that eighth-graders hadn’t gone on a field trip since fifth grade, and there were no dances or pep rallies. Additionally, she said laptops had replaced paper, and apps replaced individual time with teachers.
“I think everyone took school for granted, and now so many things have changed,” Giselle said. “I want to make it better.”
Giselle said making friends was difficult when her family moved to Severna Park as school was being held virtually. When she entered her final year of middle school, she joined a leadership club that is responsible for introducing new students and making them feel welcome. She then decided to run for student government president.
Candidates submitted a three-minute video that was shown throughout the school during morning announcements. Giselle was determined to stand out and made a video set to music that showed her in what she called “real life.” Her approach helped earn her the most votes.
“Giselle is a very social and well-liked student at Severna Park Middle School,” said guidance counselor Shari Endo. “That translates into great leadership skills and potential to grow even more.”
Endo said Giselle and fellow board members oversee putting together agendas for student government meetings.
“She does that with ease, skillfulness and creativity,” Endo said. “There has not been a task that has gone undone or not done. She’s very thorough with her work.”
Severna Park Middle School’s student government meets biweekly, and the sessions are open to the student body. Students are encouraged to bring their ideas or concerns to the meetings for discussion, and the student leaders determine the best way to bring issues to the school administration.
“It has been a pleasure working with Gisele so far, and I look forward to a great year,” Endo said. “I wish we had her for more than just her eighth-grade year. I am very proud to be working with her.”
Giselle is active in music theater and is a member of Theater in the Park. She enjoys the recognition that comes with student leadership.
“People point at me, and I can hear them say, ‘That’s the president,’” Giselle said.
Giselle aims to campaign for student government when she reaches the high school ranks.
“I think people should always try something new,” Giselle said. “Two years ago, I would have thought [student government] was boring, but it’s a lot of fun, and I’ve learned a lot about government.”
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