The new Gateway Community College (GCC) Student Government Association (SGA) leaders were sworn into office at a May 7 ceremony at Café Vincenzo: Maria Praeli as President; Spenta Meherban as Vice President; and Katy Barnett as Treasurer. Matthew Long, director of GCC’s Office of Student Development, administered the oath of office, reminding the students of the importance of their positions.
“Throughout history students have fought for the right to have a voice at the table and that’s really what you have now…you have a seat at the governance table,” Long said. “Make sure you let folks know that you are here.”
Praeli said she looks forward to her role as president for the upcoming school year.
“I have quite a few goals for next year. I would have to say that my biggest goal is to get the students involved,” she said. “When a student graduates, I don't want to them to just walk out with a diploma, but with memories and experiences that influenced the time they spent at Gateway. I hope that students know they can come to me with ideas, questions or just if they need someone to talk to. I'm ready to give Gateway my all.”
She is particularly proud to be leading at GCC. “Education is so valuable and feel very fortunate to have the ability to pursue higher education,” she said. “Aside from Gateway being a beautiful new building located in downtown, I love how much it has to offer to its students.”
Roberta Prior, director of Student Leadership Programs and Activities and advisor to the SGA,said she looks forward to working with the new leaders. She said Praeli brings a wealth of experience from her time as a student leader in high school; Meherban brings very high energy and enthusiasm, and Barnett brings a voice of wisdom and life experience. “They are an excellent group and should work very well together,” she said.
Prior also praised the four outgoing leaders, President Symphany Joseph, Vice President Kyle Rogers, Treasure Brittany Perry and Secretary Tom Burwell. “They have been a terrific group of students and I thank them for their dedication to Gateway,” Prior said. “I think they were very proud to be part of the move downtown, to be part of the excitement of this inaugural year.”
SGA Co-advisor Advisor Anne Williams, associate professor of business, presented each with a parting gift and said the GCC student body and Gateway community are grateful for their work on behalf of all of Gateway’s students.
Joseph said she enjoyed every minute of her time as SGA president. “I learned so much about leadership, time management, and communicating with everyone. During my presidential journey I found happiness in helping others,” Joseph said. “Most days I was just extending a helping hand to others who needed it. So many doors were open to me before and during my time as president and I have been so grateful for this opportunity. I hope that the president after me embraces all the greatness that there is to gain being Student Government President and representing this wonderful college.”