Brandon Hensley Wins SoCal Presidency

Isiah Reyes

Five men entered, but only one could be named victorious.

That man, known simply before as El Vaquero sports editor Brandon Hensley, is now known as the SoCal Regional Student President of the Journalism Association of Community Colleges (JACC).

Hensley, along with other El Vaquero staff writers and photographers, attended JACC held at the Doubletree Hotel in Sacramento from March 26 to 28.

At the event, elections were held for the Board of Directors members for the 2008-09 fiscal year, with Hensley entering the competition.

The state organization is composed of two regional divisions: NorCal, representing colleges north of Fresno in the San Joaquin Valley and Santa Maria on the coast, and SoCal, representing community colleges south of those locales.

Hensley took the stage next to four other participants from SoCal regions who were all eager to win the competition.

When the showdown began, all five participants stood up front waiting for questions to be asked from the audience. At first glance, it appeared as if only Hensley, wearing a dress shirt and a tie, was running for president, as he was the only one dressed up for the part.

Later on, as the questions rolled in and the participants answered back, the competition seemed to be a tight one. All five of them seemed to be as equally qualified as the next. However, there was just something else about that Hensley guy that seemed to grab the audience’s attention.

What exactly was it?

According to Jessica Bourse, editor in chief of El Vaquero, it could have been attributed to many different things.

“Right off the bat, he did let people know why he was running, what he believed in,” Bourse said. “But he was himself and I think people really liked seeing someone with humor who didn’t seem so robotic.”

Personality seemed to a play an important role in Hensley’s campaign to the top. Troy Cornell, El Vaquero staff writer and Hensley’s campaign manager, made it clear that to become elected president he had to connect with his audience.

And so it was Hensley’s character that piqued interest among his constituents. While every other participant focused their attention on how well they’ll do their job if elected president, Hensley focused more on relating to his audience by showing his funny side.

But it wasn’t all just fun and games for Hensley. Only being able to prepare for approximately two hours before the competition, Bourse and Cornell had to smack the prep-talk hammer forcefully.

They each centered their spotlight on a different aspect for Hensley’s performance. Bourse reminded him of his past leadership experience as a sports coach for girl’s basketball, and Cornell focused his attention on new technology such as Youtube, blogging and Twittering to answer those questions about his future plans as president.

As the competition came to a close, and as the voting had concluded, ultimately it was Hensley who had won the competition.

At the end of that significant day, Hensley recalled going back to his hotel room and calling home to inform his family of the election. Although a bit confused at first, Hensley’s mom later understood and congratulated him on his victory.

The first order of business for SoCal President Hensley is to attend a meeting with NorCal President Anttwan Stanberry of Skyline College and State President Michelle Olson of Chabot College.

The president is responsible for all aspects of the conference, including handling the mail-in competition entries, the workshops, the speakers and securing the facilities. He must also attend all executive board meetings and be prepared to present regional reports at these meetings.

All things considered, Hensley is up to the challenges ahead, representing SoCal and GCC alike.