Jennifer Johnson didn't know it at the time, but a major obstacle in being elected student body president of her high school was hurdled one night years earlier as a 13-year-old.
It happened during an innocent end-of-season 7th grade volleyball sleep over. To her dismay, the other girls on the team began smoking cigars that had been collected during a scavenger hunt earlier that evening. Jennifer and her LDS teammate, Lindsay James, refused.
Incessant chiding followed. Jennifer feared that the girls whose friendship she envied would certainly exclude her. Six years later, however, those same non-member girls were instrumental in her election.
Along with Jennifer, two of her friends in her Laurel class in the Dallas 4th Ward, Richardson Texas Stake, were elected to office. Hilarie Turley and Brittany Poulsen complete the trio that will serve in three of the five student body offices this coming school year. They are among 12 members of the Church in a school of 1,600 students.
In each case, maintaining Church standards during moments of compromise earned them the respect and trust of their peers. Hilarie, who will serve as vice president, lives by the creed that great leaders are just ordinary people with extraordinary determination.
During a party at a friend's home while in ninth-grade, the liquor cabinet was opened and alcohol began flowing; Hilarie called for her mother to pick her up. Now four years later, Hilarie's friends say she was elected because she is respected.
Brittany, treasurer, realizes she is setting standards not only for herself, but also other friends and families as well.
One night Brittany called a girlfriend to invite her to a particular event. During the call, Brittany overheard the girl's mother tell her that she couldn't go. The daughter announced that Brittany and Hilarie were going, to which the mother then said, "Well, in that case, it must be O.K., so you can go."
These three have learned that sometimes the most resounding sermon is the one taught in the thundering silence of action.
Another in a series of "Shining Moments."
Illustration by John Clark.