Posted in Colchester High School, Community, General, Malletts Bay School, Student Spotlight

Supporting Student Leadership

Did you know that the Colchester School Board benefits from student representation?

Colchester High School senior Jordan Isham

Colchester High School senior Jordan Isham, who is acutely interested in politics and in the Colchester community, earned his position on the school board after a competitive selection process. “I am a non-voting member; my position is purely to offer insight and perspective,” Jordan said. That insight and perspective includes that which pertains to policies, budgets, and the general pulse of the school community. “I feel it’s my responsibility to present to the board anything I see that isn’t going well. In the world of compromise, radical ideas don’t happen; it’s all about finding compromises and solutions.”

Jordan is also a member of the National Honor Society (NHS) (you can read more about what is involved with NHS membership here), an active volunteer at Malletts Bay School and with Special Olympics Vermont (he is coordinating CHS’s team for the upcoming Penguin Plunge) and a former volunteer with Burnham Memorial Library, a member of the National Guard (having already completed basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri), a competitive athlete, and he has worked part time for years on a family farm in Williston. He has also already taken thirteen college credits—two years of Arabic and a course in counterterrorism at the University of Vermont and a course in criminal law at Champlain College.

“I hope to learn the political aspect of what it takes to be presented with a problem and then overcome the obstacles through my service to the school board. I want to be a part of that, and I want to gain a better of understanding of how that works,” he said. “I think policymaking is a much longer process than most people think. It’s easy to criticize the process or what gets done, but policy making is a lot harder than it seems.”

Jordan also expressed concern about some of the challenges facing the school board. “Colchester doesn’t always pass budgets the first time, and from my perspective, we get the most out of our money; we have to end up cutting when we shouldn’t be cutting. There are infrastructure problems in the buildings. We know we don’t have as much interest as we should. We’re competing with the best schools in the state, and yet we don’t have a consistently supportive community; for our district to continue to prosper, we need to be backed by our citizens. I see my role as being a link to the students and teachers, the citizens, and the board, and I hope to strengthen the bridge between the three.”

Students all across our district step up to make positive contributions. Megan Scheck, a fourth grader in Mrs. Chittenden’s class who, inspired by her special relationship with a rescued chocolate lab, organized an extensive, creative project she named “Paws for Caring” to benefit animals at Northern Greyhound Adoptions (NGA) and the Humane Society of Chittenden County (HSCC).

Malletts Bay School fourth grader Megan Scheck

Megan recruited over forty fellow classmates to make and sell handmade animal-themed items—bookmarks, foam animal figures, greeting cards, and dog biscuits—and extensively marketed the effort through posters, handouts, and announcements using MBS’s intercom. Megan and her invested classmates met regularly throughout the three-week effort, raising $49.25 for HCSS and $41.56 for NGA—a total of $90.81. It was an excellent demonstration of her ability to inspire and lead others with a common goal to support an important and meaningful cause. “Megan was remarkably poised, independent, and focused on her project, and she independently ran the entire thing,” said Principal Julie Benay, who, with Assistant Principal Carolyn Millham, actively supports the growth of student voice, leadership, and citizenship at Malletts Bay School. “She remembered when to come make announcements, met with students who wanted to help, and organized the sale all without any adult at school helping her at all. It was remarkable!”

Megan—who enjoys the company of goldfish, birds, and the new family kitten named Mr. Mittens—feels very strongly about animal welfare efforts. “It is important to protect them so that they don’t go extinct like the dinosaurs,” she said. “And if you can, you should at least consider adopting them.” She says she loves all animals … except tarantulas. “If I knew I wouldn’t have to touch a tarantula, I’d definitely be a veterinarian!” she declared. “I still might be, anyway. I also want to build a dragon emporium.” Most importantly, Megan said of her project, “I learned that it was a lot of work, but it was worth it. Doing something you know is good makes you feel better.”

In our October 4 article, we discussed another CHS student who is actively involved in leadership development, the political process, and civic engagement—and has hobnobbed at the White House in the process.

And in case you missed our November 9 article about nearly a dozen other examples of young people in our community giving of themselves for the greater good, you can read it here. As we’ve said before, when our community members see young people making substantial efforts, they are more likely to support them … and when students feel supported, they are more likely to give back to the community. Everyone benefits from making ongoing positive contributions.

We really have remarkable citizens in our community.

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