Humans of Rochester

Student Council president: Eden McCullough

Photo Courtesy of Taylor Simon

Photo Courtesy of Taylor Simon

Brice Boggan, Staff Writer

Growing up, we all have accomplishments that we are proud of. Senior Eden McCullough has many noteworthy accomplishments within just the past few years.

McCullough is a strong worker, earning the titles of StuGo President and founder of the RUBY podcast. McCullough strives to be a role model for many young women. When she is interviewing live, she is constantly learning and growing. With goals in mind, McCullough navigates through the challenges as she grows and changes. As Rochester’s student council president, she is a familiar face to many. 

“I’m trying to be different from other presidents in the way that they use their position for power,” said McCullough.

McCullough has been in student council since the 6th grade. For seven years, she has worked hard to improve her leadership skills and be more involved in her community. She’s done jobs such as appreciation committee, vice president, Leaders of Tomorrow, and this year she’s president for the senior class, and of Eboard. Board of Delegate (BoD) as known as Masc-Mahs (Michigan Association of Student Council/Honor Societies) is a group of 30-40 student leaders around Michigan that talks about issues you don’t normally talk about in school, for example LGBTQ+ and racism. Eden wanted to be a part of BoD for her junior year in student council. She did not make it. This year, her mentors pushed her to try out again, and she made it in.

“There are student leaders everywhere and they are a high achieving group,” said McCullough. “Which sometimes is very fun to be with and sometimes it’s hard because everyone is fighting for their voice to be heard.”

Mrs. Cusmano, the teacher overseeing student council, notices McCullough’s specialty. Mrs. Cusmano has high expectations for McCullough, and she meets them everytime. Both McCullough and Mrs. Cusmano mentioned the role that the president carries of ‘being a shoulder to cry on’ and making sure everyone’s health is good. McCullough says she likes using her empathy to hear out what the other person is saying. That is one of her goals and being president is helping her get better at it.

“She has a way of making each student council member feel that their voice is valued and important,” said Mrs. Cusmano. “She wants to make the world a better place and has a keen sense of her impact on the world.”

Over coffee with a friend from school, Sam Tandy, and an old friend and influencer on Instagram, Taylor Kanigowski, they decided to launch RUBY. RUBY is a blog/podcast that interviews young women live and touches on different topics each episode. With the target audience being from middle school to college, different topics include embracing feminine energy, wellness and finding worth. The podcast even goes to little things like fueling cars. RUBY’s current achievements consist of 30 episodes out, 600 followers on Instagram, and over 1,000 downloads for the podcast.

“Authenticity is one of my big things,” said McCullough. “[It is important] to try and encourage people into their own work and not conform to what everyone else is saying.”

A question frequently asked on their podcast is ‘If you could go back to your 16 year old self, what would you tell her?’ Processing that questions makes the guest emotional as it is a very thought provoking question. It is a question that rewards unique answers from each individual.

”It’s just an emotional question because you’re looking back at your younger self,” said McCullough.

Like most people when starting something new, McCullough felt nervous during her first interview. However, she still felt prepared enough to go on with it. Feeling timid as well, sometimes forgetting or completely disregarding questions. Now being more used to it, she’s confident in her interviewing skills.

“I felt prepared [during her first interview], but also it’s kinda scary because it is live and is all being recorded,” said McCulllough.

A common issue with interviewing or just with conversations in general is that there are often awkward silences. Interviewing live in person adds on to that silence. However, the more McCullough interviewed, she learned to not be afraid of the weird silence, and to take that time to process what the person is saying. Being both the interviewee and the interviewer helped her grow as a person and with her conversational skills.  

 “Something I’m learning is amplifying other people’s stories,” said McCullough. “To sit in stillness and just soak in what they are saying.”

McCullough made Tandy excited for RUBY. Like McCullough, Tandy started off nervous about the interviews, but as they did it more, they both grew as interviewers as the podcast grew. McCullough motivated Tandy from the very beginning. The stuff McCullough says during podcasts and in casual life, is very inspiring to Tandy, leaving her feeling powerful. Tandy also mentions that without McCullough’s organization and vision, she would not have the clarity that she has today.

“When Eden and I started RUBY, we knew that this was the thing both of us had been searching for so long,” Tandy said.

To Tandy, McCullough is like a sister. McCullough has helped Tandy grow as a person and makes her feel seen when they are together. McCullough takes the time to invest in the friendship, giving Tandy advice when she needs it. Tandy feels blessed to have the friendship she has with McCullough, stating ‘being friends with McCullough feels like freedom and light.’ Their friendship is not based on just their similarities, but also the things that set them apart. To Sam, she is all things power and love.

“She emits a feeling of wonder and delight,” said Tandy. “Her presence fills me with courage, as well as a sense of grounding.”

Kanigowski has nothing but many great things to say about McCullough. She has known McCullough and Tandy since they were in elementary school. When they all met up, they noticed that they all shared similar passions, which established the idea of RUBY.

“She is a woman of integrity,” said Kanigowski. “She is wildly talented and creative.”

McCullough is mostly busy in the day, so when she has free time, she tries to be productive. She is working on letting herself rest by doing hobbies away from her phone, such as yoga. She also enjoys reading and baking.

“One thing that’s hard for me is that when I do have free time I feel like I need to be productive,” said McCullough. “So I’m working on letting myself rest.”

McCullough loves to watch shows and movies. A possible dream job for McCullough is to be a screenwriter or creative director. She loves seeing the set and the different roles everyone plays in making movies/shows. She doesn’t know much about film but she likes the aesthetic behind it.

“I like the fact that it can twist your emotions,” said McCullough. “Like how horror movies make you scared, I think that’s cool.”

McCullough is a dedicated worker. She brings joy to those in and out of school. Bringing delight to those doing RUBY with her, along with those in the student council. Growing as a person through RUBY, and a leader through student council, McCullough will continue to show kindness to the people she meets.