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Freshman Koyuki Buckhold has a strong voice and a lot on her plate

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Imagine a freshman, and the minds of many jump to the image of a student steadily trying to grasp the ropes of their new high school experience. While some may be confused and trying to find their identity during their first year, freshman Koyuki Buckhold jumped into high school and quickly acclimated to her surroundings. As an avid band member, Koyuki’s connections to her older peers have allowed her to learn from her surroundings and gain confidence, rendering her vice president of the Class of 2021.

Koyuki joined student council as a general member while she was still in middle school. Upon entering high school, she realized that she had to hold an official position to still take part in student council. Due to changes in the organization of the freshmen student council, Koyuki went from no position at all, to trustee, to finally landing the position of vice president.

“As vice president, there’s no specified job,” Koyuki said. “We just work as a group together for Homecoming and Winterfest. Nobody really gives you that much information, so you just kind of learn as you go. Homecoming was kind of mass chaos; if you go outside, the banner is literally falling apart. Next year, we need people who are actually committed to helping us. We also need to start earlier.”

Though the freshmen struggled with their spirit challenges for this year, Koyuki and the rest of the group view it as a learning experience. In their eyes, these encounters prepare them for the events of the next year, just like how for Koyuki, being a part of student council prepares her for the future. The numerous benefits that student council brings her allow her to be more ready for her remaining high school years.

“I hope to stay in student council if I get elected,” Koyuki said. “I don’t plan on running for something that has a ton of opponents. I hope for our communication skills to be better; this year, a lot of people said that we didn’t communicate well. I also hope that more people will get involved in lip sync, banner, float, and all that.”

Along with student council, Koyuki also dedicates her time to both concert and marching band. She was drawn to the activity in middle school when she chose the clarinet as her instrument to pursue. Since joining, her expectations have been exceeded, and it’s been quite different from what she’s anticipated. Though she expected to love concert band, Koyuki found herself enthralled with marching band and its atmosphere.

“Everybody is laid back, I feel, but also really intense about band,” Koyuki said. “It’s everybody’s favorite thing. A lot of people who join band really love it. By the time they’re seniors, everybody knows everybody, and I feel like it’s a really tight-knit community.”

Band has also allowed her to find a new activity to put her energy into: the FHC walkout. Koyuki came across the idea during band camp, when she heard about the concept of the walkout forming from a fellow band member. Since, the group has added admins, created an Instagram page, and talked to the administration about their idea.

“Especially with band, I didn’t know if I wanted to do it or not,” Koyuki said. “ I thought that I was going to get to meet a lot of people, and I like to play. With band, I met a lot of people who are older than I am. [In terms of the FHC walkout], to be quite honest, I have a lot of people with me on this who are older than I am. I got to meet a bunch of people, and they’re older. I feel like a junior telling a junior about something is less conflicting than a freshman telling a junior, ‘hey, do this.’”

I think that the more I do, I feel like I want to make the world a better place. A lot of people don’t necessarily think that I’m doing that, but they can have their own opinion, and I have mine.””

It is harder for Koyuki personally to express her voice because a freshman’s voice for change often has far less reach than the voice of an upperclassman. But with an important event like the walkout on the line, now more than ever is not the time to give up. Along with her team, Koyuki is ensuring that she is putting in all that she has to promote an idea that she feels very strongly about.

“We’re just trying to come together as a community for safer schools,” Koyuki said. “It’s not necessarily ‘get rid of all guns’ or ‘get rid of the second amendment.’ We’re not at all promoting a single solution. We’re just throwing out the fact that we need safer schools, and we thought that everybody would be able to agree with that.”

With the walkout nearing, student council events continuing, and concert band season approaching, Koyuki has her hands very full. Though she’s just a freshman, Koyuki will ensure that her voice is heard, and it will not falter as she continues to advance through her years at FHC.

“I feel that this is a really important topic, and it’s a growing problem within our nation,” Koyuki said. “Mental illness is also a problem; other countries have the same number of people who are mentally ill, but don’t seem to have this problem. I thought this would be a good way to get involved, and I think that the more I do, I feel like I want to make the world a better place. A lot of people don’t necessarily think that I’m doing that, but they can have their own opinion, and I have mine.”

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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central
Freshman Koyuki Buckhold has a strong voice and a lot on her plate