Progress: ‘I definitely found my passion:’ Trichelle Cross is West’s SGA president
Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 20, 2023
It may have taken Trichelle Cross a year or so to find her footing as a student at West Forsyth High School.
But once she discovered the Student Government Association and became involved, it didn’t take her long to make an impact.
Cross, a senior and the president of West’s SGA for the 2022-23 school year, recalled her struggle find things she could be an active participant in when she stepped onto the campus at West as a freshman.
“I was looking for ways I could get more involved at schools but hadn’t quite found my group or my niche for most of my freshman year,” Cross said. “I had looked at some clubs and went to a few introductory meetings for them but just didn’t think any of them were for me at that time.”
Towards the end of the school year, she discovered SGA and thought that might be her ticket.
“I’ve always had a passion for helping others,” Cross said. “It’s something that my parents instilled in me from a very young age. And I saw some things around school that I felt like needed to be addressed and wanted to help try and change, and I wanted to be a part of that. So, I felt like getting involved with SGA might be the thing for me.”
Her hunch turned out to be correct.
Cross became a sophomore class representative and a junior class representative last year.
“I ran for SGA vice president as a junior but lost,” she said. “But that didn’t stop me.”
Cross decided that she wanted to run for president going into her senior year and began the process of campaigning for the position.
“I had a lot of support from family and friends and people around school,” Cross said. “We made a pretty neat video we could show people of what I wanted to do. We hung posters up all over school. I gave out candy. A lot of candy. I just wanted everyone at school to know that I was someone who wanted to make a difference at West Forsyth, someone that they knew they could all come and talk to.”
Cross was sitting in her international relations class during fourth period towards the end of the of the 2021-22 school year when announcements started being read.
“I heard my name called as being the next SGA president and I literally just started shaking,” Cross said. “I was in shock. My class erupted with applause. I could hear other classes down the hall screaming with excitement. It was an amazing feeling and I think I was just frozen at my desk for about five minutes afterwards. I guess all that candy I gave out helped.”
Cross said she wasted no time in diving into her new role. She had already heard from plenty of students on some things they asked her to try and help with.
“First thing I wanted to do was set up a meeting with (West Forsyth principal) Mr. (Kevin) Spainhour to go over some things with him and find out what was realistic,” Cross said. “One of the main things I wanted to do, and I had heard about trying to do this from a lot of people, was to bring back the Powder Puff football game, which we haven’t been able to have for a few years because of COVID. He gave me his blessing for that. We also decided that we could do a Senior Sunrise event, which we had a great turnout for and was a really cool event.”
It was also at the meeting with Spainhour when Cross learned that the SGA would be involved with a new initiative at the school, the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy, a national high school leadership program focused on making an impact through action.
The SGA had to come up with an impact project that would help make a difference in the community and attend regular meetings that were structured to offer support and advice on ways they could all become community-driven leaders.
“We raised 2,737 dollars from the Powder Puff game and donated that money to the Second Harvest Food Bank,” Cross said. “That was the first part of our project. We wanted the money to be able to help a lot of people. We did a lot of research online for food pantries and food banks in the area and we decided that Second Harvest was a great option.”
SGA also provided 525 treat bags to students at Forest Park Elementary School.
“Forest Park is a lower income school, and my godmother is a teacher there,” Cross said. “I had been in contact with her about doing something and we got approval from the principal. We stuffed bags full of candy and snacks. We set up tables in the cafeteria at West for students and teachers to make donations or write encouraging messages to the Forest Park students. The day we delivered the treat bags to the school was a really special day. Just seeing their reactions was everything.”
SGA also organized a dodgeball tournament on the last day before Spring Break and raised close to $4,000 from that. That money will go towards several projects that will benefit West Forsyth, such as a teacher supply closet, paying off student lunch debts, and campus beautification.
“We wanted to be sure we were making an impact in the community and also making an impact at West Forsyth, and I think we were able to do that,” Cross said. “The experience with Chick-fil-A Leader Academy was invaluable. I learned that leadership isn’t just about telling people to do things. Leadership comes from your actions and having people around you who want to follow your lead to shine a light on something and try to make it a little better.”
Cross is still in the process of deciding where she wants to attend college. UNC, N.C. State and UNC Charlotte are her top options.
“I want to go into the medical field and I’m looking forward to making a difference in the future and continuing to grow as a person and as a leader. I think my biggest growth area from my freshman year to now is that I’m not afraid to speak up for what I think is right. I’ve always been socially outgoing, but I was just a little more hesitant as a freshman. But once I got into student government, I found my people. I definitely found my passion. West Forsyth has really helped me with that.”