The Morans

Steph (Statz) Moran and all of her five daughters, Kelly (from left), Erin, Martha and Aoife have all served as president of the Waunakee student council.

When Aoife Moran entered Waunakee High School as freshman, she knew she wanted to serve on the student council. Her older sister, Martha Moran, a sophomore at UW-La Crosse, had been student council president in 2020. So had Erin Moran in 2015, and Erin’s oldest sister Kelly Moran in 2013.

And a generation before, their mother Steph (Statz) Moran was president in 1988.

“When I was in elementary school, I was helping them,” Aoife Moran said about her older sisters. “It just became natural in high school…I was volunteering to be an officer when I was a freshman, and everyone was like, what?”

All five contributed to their high schools, rounding up volunteers for projects and supporting student efforts.

The student council president sets the direction for the class and the projects to be completed. Over the years, those projects’ scopes and those affected have changed.

When Steph Moran was student council president, their “greatest joy was getting a soda machine,” she said, noting that today, the projects are more focused on helping the community and philanthropy.

Kelly Moran noted that some projects her council began have become annual traditions, including collecting Coats for Kids, the Trick-or-Can Halloween collection for the Waunakee Food Pantry, a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation basketball fundraiser and others.

“Things come up in the community, and you’re like, how can we help? You have this awesome position that you’re in where you have eager high school students who want to do something. And you can kind of incorporate something like volleyball night,” Kelly Moran said.

Anyone on the council can lead a project and their fellow members will support it. One year, it was a shoe drive to collect rubber for playgrounds.

“We just put boxes out, we advertised it,” Kelly Moran said.

“There were shoes on our porch, like crazy, shoes,” Steph Moran remembered.

The vending machine, her council’s achievement, remains at the school, raising funds for the organization, although filling it is one of the least desired tasks for the members, Erin Moran said.

Martha Moran, who is two years older than Aoife Moran, is five years younger than Erin Moran.

So Martha Moran and Aoife Moran are repeating their older sisters’ tradition of serving together on student council although all of the Moran sisters note they each had their own separate interests in sports and other co-curriculars.

Erin Moran said the student council presidents and the officers have the flexibility to make student council what they want it to be and they learn leadership skills.

They gain the school administration’s trust and work closely with the faculty advisors, Martha Moran added.

Martha Moran remembers being called to escort students or to show new students around. To welcome new students at the beginning of each semester, the council dedicates lunches to eat with them and get to know them. New students generally serve on the student council, Martha Moran said.

Aoife Moran remembered the past school year, the student council president found planning anything in person impossible because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We never actually met anyone in person until the last month of school, and so this year, the officers just had a bonfire at my house, and we called it student council’s comeback. We brainstormed hundreds idea that we’re going to get as many as we can approved and we’re going to plan them all,” Aoife Moran said.

She acknowledged some plans may not pan out, but the general idea is to get the council back on track.

“The beautiful thing is everyone is so eager to help out now, and everyone has been sitting at home,” she added. “I’m excited for this year.”

The pandemic also affected Martha Moran’s presidency. The president delivers a speech at the high school graduation, and Martha Moran’s was prerecorded for the virtual ceremony in 2020.

All of the Moran women say the administrative staff supported their projects, and administrative assistants in the main office “become your best friends,” Kelly Moran said.

“They trust you enough to generate your own ideas, but also they have a lot of say in school, and they can make your small ideas great,” Martha Moran said.

The administrators also understand the school’s needs and can approach student council members with ideas, Erin Moran added.

“My junior, senior year, they were planning the intermediate school, and student council was like a focus group,” she said. The students had a chance to weigh in on the new school layout and grade configuration, Erin Moran said, and the council also helped with teacher appreciation and administrative professionals’ day events.

The sisters reflected on a number of student council-led activities such as American Red Cross blood drives, winter dances and fundraisers for Waunakee community causes. The projects keep student council members busy all the time and talking with fellow students.

Their experiences have developed leadership skills in them all. Steph Moran still plans all of her class reunions and keeps classmates in touch.

“If something happens in our class, they always look to me to find out what’s happening. I kind of keep track and tabs on all my classmates,” Steph Moran said.

Kelly Moran, a nurse with Meriter, is currently in a leadership position at work in the mobile-unit counsel. Martha Moran was captain of her soccer teams all four years, and Erin Moran is a Waunakee Village Board trustee.

Steph Moran said she has always encouraged her daughters to be welcoming and inclusive to all. She remembered when Martha Moran was a freshman playing soccer, sitting in stands the and listening to other parents talk about whether their children were going out to dinner before the prom. Realizing freshmen who could not drive would be left out, she decided then to organize a dinner for the younger students, she said.

“I always feel, I never want to not include everyone,” Steph Moran said.

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