Bringing choice to the students
“I want the students to have a say in these major decisions,” says Patty Andersen (‘19), the new School Board Student Representative.
On Friday the 16th of March, Patty Andersen (‘19) was elected to be the new Student Representative to the school board. After running against Lucas Hamilton (’20), Andersen was taken aback by the amount of people who came up to her in the hall to tell her she had their support and that they had voted for her.
The position of Student Representative is one that is special to Oyster River High School. Every year, or every two years depending on what grade the previous Student Representative started in, there is an election for the next Student Representative. The duty of the Student Representative is to attend the school board meetings every other Wednesday night and inform the school board of student opinions of certain coming changes. The Student Representative also has the ability to inspire new changes at the school making it a very important position.
There are many characteristics that seem to be really important to being a successful Student Representative. “I believe Patty really does have those characteristics that will make her successful,” says Derek Cangello, a Social Studies teacher at ORHS and advisor in charge of the Student Representative part of student government. Cangello feels a successful Student Representative should have dedication, self-motivation, and of course a drive to work hard.
The position of Student Representative was previously held by Hannah Jane Wilson (‘18). Wilson agreed on many of these characteristics as well as adding a couple of her own such as having the ability to talk to a variety of students from different parts of the student body. A really important skill to have according to Wilson is being able to talk to the school board in a way that does not offend anyone while also not letting their opinions offend you as the Student Representative. “I am very excited for her to be Student Representative; she really has some really good traits and the right mindset,” says Wilson (‘18).
“[Patty] is very passionate about what she believes in, which is really something you need to have on the school board,” says Wilson. One of the traits that Andersen feels sets her apart as a new Student Representative is her connections to a wider range of the student body as well as a natural want to improve the school and to involve students more in major decisions that will affect them and future students. “As the school says, I’m a ‘very effective communicator,’ I can express my opinions in a controlled way really well,” states Andersen. A big part of the role of Student Representative is that even without an actual vote on the school board the Student Representative has a lot of power to affect change since the school board takes the Student Representative’s opinion very seriously.
“I think it’s super important that I am actually able to change things,” says Andersen. There are many issues Andersen hopes to either fix or at least change which includes things ranging from improving student’s role in school decisions all the way to making the school more sustainable and energy efficient. “It’s a great opinion for the school to have and it’s great that the school board wants to hear the student’s perspective,” says Cangello.