Shane Sellers’ campaign trail to victory

L’Anse Creuse North and LCN North Star alumni wins position on the school district’s Board of Education at only 18-years-old.

Sellers+with+his+campaign+sign.+Photo+credit%3A+Sellers%27+campaign

Sellers with his campaign sign. Photo credit: Sellers’ campaign

 On November 3rd 2020, one of the two candidates who triumphed during the district-wide election to receive a spot on the L’Anse Creuse school district’s Board of Education- was none other than 18-year-old class of 2020 grad (and North Star staff alumni) Shane Sellers. Sellers, who is fresh out L’Anse Creuse North High School, has, like many of his fellow classmates in the class of 2020, had an unprecedented last seven months. The difference for Sellers, as opposed to other students in his grade, is that his past seven months have led to him to taking up a political career fresh out of high school- and winning a spot on the school Board of Education. To those that know Sellers from his time in high school, the situation did not come as a surprise. “I had always thought about potentially going into politics in some fashion. Since my freshman year I had watched every single board meeting whether it be in-person or online”, began Sellers. 

  But Sellers had not always been so concrete with his ambition to legitimately run for a position on the Board of Education. Seven months ago, Sellers had accepted a position into Central Michigan University, and was set on shipping off to major in Sports Management. Midway through March, the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic flipped the L’Anse Creuse school district (as well as just about every other school district) into chaos and confusion, with classes from March-June being cancelled and held online, with no real preparation or work around plan. For Sellers, he was at the forefront of the “virtual schooling” mess, and as he observed the situation through his own outlook, the gears that would spark a political campaign began to turn.  Thinking back to the chain of events that began back in March, Sellers explained his timeline. “I was fully set on going to CMU and moving away. It was the actions of the district between when we went virtual and the whole graduation debacle. I thought I could put myself in a better situation than the other board members were in, and I thought that my perspective was desperately needed in the district, so that the incoming class of seniors did not have to go through what I had to go through.” 

   As Sellers, who was already glued to the school district’s politics prior to the pandemic, watched every district board meeting live on the L’Anse Creuse YouTube channel, he began to feel his potential worth on the school board forming. As the months ticked on, so did the deliberation about how and when students would return to school. Once May arrived however, deliberation was no longer needed for Sellers. Throughout the two previous months, he had seen enough. “In the beginning of May, I chose to withdraw my acceptance from Central Michigan University and apply at Macomb Community College, to be able to attend school and be a board member at the same time”, explained Sellers, on the beginning of his campaign. 

  Throughout the summer, although his campaign had started, Sellers felt that he was a drastic underdog on the ballot. Feeling as if he was running a losing campaign, Sellers felt the need to push for the win even more. As the election drew closer, so did the incoming 2020-2021 school year and start of the Fall semester for L’Anse Creuse. The district board meetings leading into this new semester proved to Sellers that despite many months to set a concrete plan in motion, he felt that the board could still strive to do better. “I watched the board meetings where for hours and hours deliberations were held over whether to go in person or online. I watched people pour out their emotions and I thought that I could be a valuable perspective on that board. So, while I had announced my candidacy back in June, the August board meetings coincided with me really ramping up my campaign and going for the win.” Stated Sellers.  

  Now with a newfound urgency to push his campaign in the final 2-month stretch, Sellers stepped on the gas around Labor Day. Campaign signs were printed out, interviews with media outlets were scheduled, and digital advertising even including a campaign logo plastered on the I-94 billboard, were all pursued by Sellers. “Beginning with Labor Day weekend is when I really started to ramp up my campaign. I put out about 150 [campaign] signs Labor Day weekend. After that, every single Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I was out checking signs, replacing them, and adding new ones. My uncle and I put in some serious hours making sure that my signs looked good. As it got closer to Election Day, I started focusing on the digital advertising and reaching out to media contacts to secure interviews.” 

   Despite all of his efforts throughout his campaign, Sellers still felt the grind of an uphill battle, running for the board as only an 18-year-old. He was up against many prominent individuals and community activists in the L’Anse Creuse district such as retired Marine Jeff Cyprus and Board treasurer Adam Lipski. “I thought I was going to finish three out of five. I needed to be in the top two… On Election Day, I had ten wonderful volunteers work the polls to try and secure more votes. It was because of their hard work that we crushed the vote total on Election Day.” Stated Sellers, on his triumph.  

When everything was said and done on the morning of Wednesday November fourth, Sellers had finished second in the district-wide election with 9,704 votes. Sellers beat out Jeff Cyprus and Jason Harmes who both gained 8,425 and 8,038 votes, respectively. Sellers also triumphed over Todd Berdan, who earned 5,334 votes, and trailed Adam Lipski who won overall with 12,545 votes. “Words cannot describe how I felt Wednesday morning when I woke up to see that the vote totals were at 100% and that I had won by over a thousand votes”, stated Sellers, on his victory

   While Sellers has been celebrating his victory and thanking his supporters, he is also ready to get to work. Sellers’ term begins January first 2021, and he already has a few main goals in mind. “First, I would like to make sure that the $4.3 million dollar enhancement millage goes towards students. We can all walk through the school and find things that need improving”, began Sellers.  

   Sellers continued, “Secondly, I would like to make sure that the district continues to hire and maintain high quality support staff and teachers. Thirdly, I would add more counselors to each of our high schools so that student’s concerns are reached immediately instead of having to wait weeks for an appointment.” 

  Sellers’ message clearly resonated with nearly 10,000 supporters throughout the district, and his support spreads especially to some of his former teachers. Ms. Macomber, Seller’s journalism teacher during his time at LCN, commented on why she believes Sellers will be a valuable board member. “What I think will be so great about Shane, is that he comes at things with an opinion, but an open mind to hear other opinions and a willingness to work with and hear out others,” Macomber explained.  

   Overall, the future and possibilities for the ambitious Sellers are vast, probably as vast as the responsibility Sellers now bears to deliberate and vote on policies within his district. Sellers will have to work to live up to a board of dutiful education officials. For Sellers however, he knows that his driving factor is something that they lack. When pressed on this suggestion, Sellers contemplated. “My number one duty as a board member is going to be being a face inside the schools that the students will recognize… As a student, I always felt as though the board felt so distant from the schools, and never truly knew what was actually going on inside the school walls. My hope is that no student or teacher feels the same about me.” 

 

  Sellers’ term begins on January first 2021. His North Star pieces can be found here: https://lcnnorthstar.com/staff_profile/shane-sellers/