Over the course of the past week or so, I have been working extensively on a project that I feel is important to youth rights. It may be considered one of the first stepping stones to gaining increased rights, but it is a step in the right direction – a gradual process.
As a lot of you know, I like to keep atop of current events and being informed of anything going on with the organizations I am involved in or the governments that affect my life.
So, anyway, last week I got the idea of working to propose a student representative position to my county’s school board. I knew it would be a hard, long and drawn out process, but I also knew it would be worth it. I immediately began to work on the project, and to do so, I sought help from one of NYRA’s members, Jess Campbell, of Oregon. Campbell is serving as a youth advisor to her city’s council. So, I figured who else would be better to ask than her?
She gave me all sorts of guidance and ideas on how to go about this proposal to the school board. After working with her for a couple of days, I got the gist of what I needed to do. I began collecting my thoughts onto a basic outline, and over the next day or so, that evolved into a well-thought out letter explaining the need for a student representative on the school board.
At the start of the week, I went around to my teachers’ classrooms asking for their support. I also went around to teachers that I had never spoken to before that day. It was a thrilling process, and every time I got a new signature, I beamed with delight.
I proceeded to present the idea to one of the school’s student council advisors, and she made some suggestions. (I am a member of the student council, by the way). She told me that I should present my idea to the executive committee (such as the student council president, class presidents, and other officers). I thought this was a good idea, so that was to be undertaken next.
The next morning, I explained my ideas for the position, and they all seemed to be in favor. Well, of course they were. They all voted to support my plan – there was not a single “no” vote. This was a great delight.
Right after this, I went with the advisor to my principal’s office. My principal and I get along very well, so I was not worried. I told her my ideas, and she was very impressed. She signed her support right away.
That night, Alex Koroknay-Palicz and I worked on a press release describing the day’s events. Later that night, I faxed a copy of the release to my local television news station. Koroknay-Palicz said he would call my city’s newspaper the next morning.
I went to sleep that night not really expecting any new events at all for the next day. But, boy, was I ever wrong.
The day started out just like any other day – getting up early and going to school. During my first period class that morning, an assistant principal came to inform me that a news team was on its way to the school. I was shocked beyond belief!
It was a surprise, and I was not really prepared to talk with the press, but I gathered my thoughts and what not. The reporter came, and the camera operator took shots of me working at the computer. After about 10 minutes of this, the reporter started asking me questions about the proposal, why I was doing it, how I was going about doing it, and etc.
When the reporter finished, she told me that it would be on the news at noon and on that afternoon at 5 o’clock. “Dang!” I thought.
I went through the rest of the day in a great mood, and after school, I submitted the items to the board in order to speak at next Thursday’s meeting.
When I got home, I watched the news, and it was the very first story to come on! The story went well, and I thought that it was leaning toward my side, so I was thankful for that. I later learned that not only was it the first story at 5, it was the first story at noon. It later came on at 6:00, and at 5:30 the next morning.
Being interviewed on the news is a first for me, and I admit that I slipped up a time or two, but that’s okay. I am anxiously awaiting this Thursday’s meeting to see how my proposal goes.
I have heard from a lot of people that this proposal has a lot of support from teachers, parents, and students. We’ll just have to see, and when I get some idea of my success, I will let you know.
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