Members of the Coupeville School District Board of Directors were faced with a tough decision last week: who to choose as the student board member to serve for the next year.
Two well-qualified applicants submitted cover letters, resumes and several letters of recommendation from staff and faculty members. They faced board members for a public job interview.
“I’m really interested in representing my fellow classmates,” said Heni Barnes, 17. “I enjoy helping other people.”
Barnes has spent her entire school career in Coupeville and has been involved in a number of activities, such as basketball in middle school, History Day throughout middle and high school, Jazz Band and the Science Olympiad.
She has been president of her class four times and has a long list of volunteer and community activities in which she’s been involved.
“I’m open-minded, I have fresh ideas and I can represent all students accurately and without bias,” said junior Briess Potter, who also applied for the position.
Potter also had a long list of activities and achievements on her resume, including involvement in the Associated Student Body for several years and serving as the youth liaison for the Impaired Driving Impact Panel of Island County.
She told board members she had always wanted to be a part of their panel.
“Since I made a presentation to the board in elementary school, I have always harbored the idea I could do this position,” Potter said. “I have the personality and the mindset for this position and I feel I can accurately represent the student body.”
“If students have suggestion I will try to bring those things that are important to the board,” said Barnes. “I’ve known student representatives before and they told me that by being on the board I can actually make a difference.”
“I am proud to be the superintendent of a district with students like you,” said Karen Koschak. “This is going to be a difficult choice because you both have a positive attitude and are well-spoken.”
“I’m amazed at what our young people today will do to put themselves forward,” board President Kathleen Anderson said. “You both kept your thoughts in order as public speakers.”
Board members took a five minute recess and adjourned to the hall outside the elementary school’s library to make their decision, which they reiterated was not an easy choice.
“Sometimes decisions are easy, sometimes they are difficult,” Anderson told the young women. “This is definitely one of those difficult decisions.”
In the end, board members chose Barnes to hold the position of student representative.
“Briess, your involvement in the superintendent selection process, your tie is extremely valuable,” Anderson said. “So we feel you are both in a position to contribute to the board and the district. Thank you for your willingness to serve.”
Outgoing student board member KT Wynn had wise words for the incoming Barnes, who will serve from December 2012 through November 2013.
“Get prepped now,” Wynn said. “Don’t procrastinate on getting stuff done.”
Wynn said her experience over the past year has been invaluable.
“It’s been interesting to see how the board works,” she said. “The fact that I was able to have a say in that is important. It gave me a lot of respect for what board members do.”
Barnes was pleased with the board’s decision.
“I’m excited about getting to represent my peers and being able to bring their opinions and views to the board,” she said with a smile. “I want to make a difference.”