My co-worker and fellow blogger shared this article with me in which the columnist challenged people, in the new year and the new decade, to look at a few things through fresh eyes. The writer listed 52 suggestions, one for every week of the year. This week’s topic is forests.

When I hear “forest” I think of Forrest Collier.

Forrest Collier is the reason I became student council president my senior year of high school. Forrest was popular, an athlete, and all around good guy. We both decided in tenth grade to run for president-elect of student council. Forest was a shoo-in.

But Forrest and several others in my class were disciplined for breaking several Christian-school rules, and as part of that punishment he was disqualified from running for office. It was already past the deadline for others to run, so I therefore won by default.

It was actually quite a disappointing way to win. There’s no way I would have won if he had ran. But to win by not really competing doesn’t feel like much of a “win.” I felt unworthy of the role — and felt that others felt me unworthy — because I wasn’t actually elected. I felt like I struggled to be respected in the role because no one had chose me to be their leader. They were stuck with me.

But I did the job anyhow and to the best of my ability. I served my year as president-elect, in the shadow of the outgoing president, learning how to do the job. And my senior year I was president, running the student council meetings and taking lead in the all the student council projects. The experience was good for me. It looked great on my high school resume, of course. Parts of it were fun. It helped me be more outgoing, and more social outside of my usual circle of friends. It gave me a taste of leadership and made me more confident in speaking up and sharing my ideas.

It was potentially one of the highlights of high school in terms of lasting effects. I always felt bad, though, that Forrest was robbed of that opportunity. He changed schools and I have no idea what happened to him. I hope not being student council president turned out to be as good for him as being student council president turned out to be for me.


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