Student reps bring voice to School Board

Student reps bringing voice to School Board
Posted on 09/16/2021

Five Tahoma High School students are serving as this year’s Student Representatives to the Tahoma School District Board of Directors. In 2017, the School Board adopted new policy and procedures calling for more student representation, instead of the prior system in which high school students voted on a representative as part of the annual ASB elections. This year's representatives include seniors Olivia Tamer and Mathieu Chabaud, who each served in this position last year, and three new representatives: junior Aditi Rana, junior Madison Bennett and senior Sanjana Sanjay.

2021 Student Board Representatives to Tahoma School Board

School Board Director Val Paganelli, who serves as the board’s liaison to the Student School Board Representatives, said that when the board interviewed applicants for the three openings, they had the chance to talk with 13 students who were interested in the positions. “We were very excited about each and every student who came forward wanting to serve,” Paganelli said. “We are really looking forward to the combination of students that will be working together to bring student voice to the board and back to the student body on a regular basis.”

Board policy states that the role of Student Board Representatives is to:   

*Provide student insight and perspectives to the board and district administrators  
*Serve as a liaison to the students of THS through the established student government and communications network.
*Report to students about the work of the district and the board.

To introduce this year’s Student Board Representatives, let’s hear from the students themselves:

Aditi Rana is involved in multiple clubs at THS, including Interact, HOSA, and Speech and Debate. She also plays tennis, volunteers with MultiCare and enjoys reading all types of works and writing poetry. Rana said “I'm most interested in learning more about how the board and the district overall is working to help support students, whether that be through equity work, social and emotional resources, or academic opportunities. I would also love to learn more about human resources and community partnerships, and feel like participating in discussions relating to these issues would be both beneficial and insightful.

Mathieu Chabaud is one of the debate captains on the Speech and Debate team, is a member of We the People team and is interested in helping to restart the student traffic court this year. He also volunteers at the Covington Library. Chabaud said “Having a chance to see the whole school board process, between work studies, committees, and School Board meetings has been the most helpful. Deciding on the schedule for the high school was the most impactful out of this; seeing the various forms of feedback given on different plans, and the end results of it, and having a chance to be involved in the process, was a great, if slightly overwhelming, introduction to the role.”

Olivia Tamer is a member of the National Honors Society, the THS fastpitch team, and Bear Crew. She said she loves many of her former and current classes, including fashion design, engineering, AP biology and more. Tamer said, “I believe student voice is crucial along with the voice of board and district members because it helps bring the community more together by including our students in discussions and decision making. Student voice also encourages kids to go out there and try to impact the community in a positive way. With students’ input, we can help the district be molded better for everybody in it.”    

Madison Benett is a running start student, and is interested in joining HOSA and the THS Sports Med club. She enjoys hanging out with family and friends, exercising for fun, traveling and exploring the community. Her favorite classes have been chemistry and math. Bennett said, “I am most interested in learning about and participating in conversations that regard our schools collective mental health, supporting any learning and social/emotional gaps due to COVID, and ways to integrate the community with new learning opportunities. 

Sanjana Sanjay is the club president of the high school’s WiSE club (Women in Science and Engineering), and is active in National Honor Society. She is also the programming lead for Tahoma Robotics Club (Bear Metal 2046), and a part of Bear Crew. Sanjay said, “As a student representative this year I want all students to feel comfortable coming to us for any concerns and hopefully, we can direct or help to answer any questions they have. I hope that our student representative group this year will reach many more students in hopes to make Tahoma a better place for all of us to feel comfortable and safe while we navigate and learn how to thrive after college." 
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