It was a year ago this month when I first started my project to add a student adviser onto the Buncombe County Board of Education.  Although the board did not listen to all of the supporters, here are just a few of the positive things that came out of my project:

Media exposure for the idea on WLOS, the Asheville Citizen-Times, the radio, and other local newspapers

The idea received a lot of support due to the thorough coverage of the project by the local media.  I learned many things about how the media operates and how they are not always going to get everything about the story correct.  I also gained the knowledge of how to write press releases and communicate effectively with reporters.  Until February 2006, I had not been in the paper, on television, or a guest on a morning radio show.

Personal recognition in the school, community, and area

Partially due to the coverage by the media, but also because of other factors, many people recognize me at school and in the community.  Most of the teachers and students are familiar with who I am, and I am now a member of the School Improvement Team, a committee composed of mostly faculty department chairs.

Selection as the top leader of the sophomore class/HOBY

The teachers of my school selected me as the student with the best leadership skills in the 10th grade; and therefore, I will be participating in the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership session at North Carolina State University in Raleigh this June.

Knowledge of how the local school board works

While my experience with the Buncombe County Board of Education and the majority of the school board members serving during 2006 has been a largely negative one, I have learned many things about the board.  I have a greater understanding of how it operates.  Before I started my project, I did not know the name of any school board member by memory, but I now know all of them by name and face.

Involvement with local and state government officials

When I was conducting my campaign, I asked for support from the Buncombe County Commissioners, the Asheville City Council, and members of the N.C. General Assembly.  The majority of them responded to my letters, and most of them were supportive of my project.  When I have the chance, I am going to work with the Commissioners to possibly establish a youth adviser position on their board.

Possible appointment to the N.C. State Board of Education

Due to my experience of working with the media and government officials, I have a strong chance of becoming appointed as a student adviser to the state’s BoE.  Although my project would not be completed, I would be satisfied with serving in this position.

Personal improvement

Since last year, I have improved in many ways.  I have become more involved in the community and politics, and I have also matured in a variety of areas.  Although the project was not an initial success, many things came out of it that have proved beneficial to me.  I am glad that I started this project, and one day, whether it is I or someone else, the original goal of adding a student adviser to the Buncombe County Board of Education will be accomplished.

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