Jefferson City High School is hosting more than 1,000 people this weekend despite not being in session.
Rather than its normal JCHS freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors, the halls are filled with students from all across the state for the Missouri Association of Student Councils (MASC) State Convention.
Guests arrived after school Thursday for registration, a vendor fair featuring businesses and colleges, dinner, and the opening session.
Friday offered discussion groups, team-building activities, more speakers and an election. Afternoon activities included Zumba taught by a JCHS secretary, yard games and team-building activities. The day was capped with a dance and celebration.
The JCHS Student Council partnered with Special Olympics of Missouri for Friday's activities.
Among guest speakers were Abby Bax, a senior at Jefferson City High School, and John Moseley, president of Lincoln University.
Bax explained to students she is a Special Olympics Missouri athlete and member of the school's student council. She shared that she's been competing with the Special Olympics for three years, in softball, swimming and cheerleading. Last year, she represented Missouri at the U.S. Games in Orlando, Florida.
"I had a lot of fun and made so many friends," she said.
She said Special Olympics provides a place where she can be herself.
Moseley expanded on the importance of not only making friends, but of students introducing themselves to others.
"Your success is often not just dependent on yourself, but others," Moseley said. "You've got people sitting around you today. You're either going to contribute to their success, or you're going to miss a great opportunity."
He said he was fortunate to surround himself with people who had "success-driven attitudes." They were people who were willing to put the work in and do what it took to become successful.
As an assistant basketball coach in North Carolina, he introduced himself on a college team's bus one day to a stranger. He simply sat and talked to that stranger.
"You don't have any idea right now, while you're sitting in these seats ... you have no idea when you're going to meet somebody that's going to change your life," Moseley said.
That stranger he spoke with, he later learned, was Kevin Rome, who later became president of Lincoln University -- and eventually hired him to coach basketball there.
Rome later encouraged Moseley to pursue a doctorate, which he did. It took him four years to earn the degree, but two weeks after he defended his dissertation, then-Lincoln President Jerald Woolfolk resigned and Moseley was hired as interim president.
Jefferson City students led the planning of the event.
"As overall chairs, we're in charge of over 30 other people that are doing different tasks to help with state convention," said Emily Arounpradith, JCHS Student Council vice president. That involves a lot of communication and delegation, and that's on top of the 15 to 20 events the council oversees yearly within JCHS.
"A lot of our kids have had to communicate with people outside of our building, which we think is really important, whether it was when they started soliciting donations in the summer or talking to the officers, school advisors, or some of the speakers that are coming in, there's a lot of people outside of here," said Student Council Advisor Rhiannon McKee.
"And I was scared to make phone calls to other businesses before I joined StuCo," said Student Council President Cora Wood. "Now I'm kind of used to talking to people from different areas, and stuff like that."
There are committees overseeing each aspect of the convention: food, registration, speakers, set-up and tear-down, technology and stage management.
Wood said there's a lot of "manual labor" and "factory work, if you will" that goes into the weeks leading up to the event: decorations, refreshments and setup.
During the event lead-up, Jefferson City students stayed after school for several hours to work on decorations and other preparations for the "Come Home, MASC" theme of the event.
Former student council advisor and future Missouri Association of Student Councils Executive Director Chad Rizner said some parts of the planning began long ago. The request for school to be out on the Friday of the convention was put in a year and a half ago.
The students and advisors said that the school district, teachers and administration have been very supportive.
Throughout their time leading the preparations for the event and in student council, Wood and Arounpradith said they've learned vital skills.
Arounpradith said this year has given her a chance to exercise good time management. Between student council, schoolwork, four jobs and applying for scholarships, she said she's had to set priorities.
Her communication skills have improved each year she said, from a complete reluctance to pick up the phone and call someone as a freshman to a willingness to walk into a business to talk with someone face to face as a senior.
Wood said she has become a more "planning-oriented person."
The council is made up of different "leadership colors," similar to a personality quiz, which define each member's leadership style.
Wood said she's a silver -- a planner, detail-oriented, and lover of spreadsheets and lists.
"I just learned that side of myself from student council, and I think it's definitely going to take me through life in a better state of mind with organization and planning," Wood said.
"That's why Cora and I are kind of like peanut butter and jelly, because I'm a teal," Arounpradith said.
As a teal, she's emotional and fun-focused. It helps them make plans together that are enjoyable and inclusive.