Senior wins MASC/MAHS Student of the Year Award at state conference

By Hannah Zalewski and Kourtney Walk

Senior and Student Association senator Nia Crutcher was glad to attend the 2020 Michigan Association of Student Councils and Honor Societies State Conference held Feb. 29 through March 2. There, she won the MASC/MAHS Student of the Year Award.

According to Crutcher, students must be nominated by the other members of the councils at their school to be eligible for the award. Then, those students complete the application and the top three individuals will be chosen by the board of delegates of the state council. Those top three will then be recognized at the conference before the winner is announced.

Class of 2020 President Emily Widgren said she was not surprised when Crutcher won because of her extensive involvement and dedication to the school. 

“She’s really involved… it’s a really big honor. She definitely worked really hard and deserves it,” Widgren said. 

Award winners are chosen based on their involvement within their school communities, according to Crutcher. Crutcher is on the Blood Drive Committee and helped plan homecoming through the float and stairwell decorations for SA. She is the Co-founder of the Black Student Alliance, a Link Crew officer and a first chair cellist in the symphony orchestra. 

Outside of school, Crutcher is an ambassador for Crescendo Detroit, which is a nonprofit organization designed to build youth character through music and the arts in underprivileged communities. 

Crutcher said she was not expecting the award. However, on the night of the award ceremony, while talking to friends from other schools she realized the possibility of her win. 

“Some girls in the bathroom, they calm me down because I was freaking out so bad that my heart was beating. I couldn’t eat. I was so nervous. It’s 2,100 kids,” Crutcher said. “I had to go on stage in front of where (the announcer) was and I’m like, ‘Oh my god, what do I do? What if I fall?’ But when I found out, it was just kind of like, ‘Whoa.”

Along with Crutcher’s recognition, the SA committees took home the Award of Excellence and Star School. English teacher and Student Association advisor Jonathan Byrne said it is great to know that Crutcher’s work and the council’s work is recognized at the state level. 

“I was really excited for her,” Byrne said. “She has been such a great leader at North, not just in the student association but in starting BSA and in so many other ways.”

Crutcher said that her success at the state level is due to the support system within the Student Association. Specifically, she accredits Byrne and Director for Student Activities, Peggy Bonbrisco, for their guidance and her SA peers for encouraging her. 

Although Crutcher admits that students cannot have a say in their eligibility because they have to be nominated by their peers, she suggests all students get involved in school activities. 

“Just be involved, take advantage of being involved in different clubs and groups,” Crutcher said. “You know, I mean, as long as you’re having fun. Don’t just do it (just) because, actually do it because you’re interested. And then you never know, you might be nominated as the person.”

Photo credit: Nia Crutcher
Senior Nia Crutcher walks towards the stage to accept the Student of the Year Award while receiving applause from her peers. Crutcher said when she first heard her name called, she experienced a mix of emotions because she didn’t know how to respond. “It’s still a feeling of like ‘oh my gosh’ I won, (or) like ‘What the heck?” Crutcher said. “I get awkward and I don’t like necessarily being the center of attention. So, it’s kind of weird to be recognized like that.”
Photo credit: Nia Crutcher
Student Association members pose in painted jackets that match the 60s theme from the MASC/MAHS state conference. According to senior class president Emily Widgren, the jackets were painted by Crutcher, who she believes deserves the award due to her substantial commitment to the school. “(Nia) helps to plan events, come up with themes for things, set up fundraisers… I think she just works really hard,” Widgren said. “She’s done a lot for student council and a lot for the school.”