February 22, 2006
Director of Communications
Public Information Officer
The 2005-2006 Student Advisory Committee has selected peer mediation, student recognition, and "real world" experiences as its topics for study and shared those at the February meeting of the Board of Education. The committee will report its findings and recommendations at a later board meeting. The committee works with the assistance of board members Isis Castro and Eleanor Saslaw and will make its final recommendations in April.
"I am excited to be working with this talented group of students," said board member Isis Castro. "Their enthusiasm for educational issues is infectious."
"The insight these students bring is appreciated by the board," said board member Eleanor Saslaw. "Their perspective allows us additional input as we make decisions."
The Student Advisory Committee members are as follows:
- Victoria Artis, 8th Grade, Daniel Morgan Middle School in Winchester . Victoria has lived in Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Georgia, and Virginia. She is currently treasurer of her school's Spanish club, and enjoys playing volleyball, reading, dancing, and socializing.
- Christina Azimi, 12th Grade, James W. Robinson Jr. Secondary School in Fairfax. Christina is co-editor of the yearbook and senior class president. She was the only student to serve on the Fairfax County School Board panel to hire a division assistant superintendent. Christina is a member of the varsity crew and active in Girl Scouts.
- Michael Burt, 12th Grade, Hidden Valley High School in Roanoke County. Michael is senior class president and co-chair of the Roanoke County School Board's student advisory council. He plays trumpet in the school band and is active in Boy Scouts. Last summer Michael spent a month participating in the National Outdoor Leadership School in Alaska.
- Taikein Cooper, 12th Grade, Prince Edward County High School in Prince Edward County. In addition to being a peer mediator, Taikein is a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and the National Honor Society. He plays varsity basketball and serves as team chaplain. Taikein attends Southside Virginia Community College and hopes to become the first in his school division to earn an associate's degree prior to high school graduation.
- Jennifer Deskins, 12th Grade, Bruton High School in York County. Jennifer is a member of the Key Club, Future Business Leaders of America, and Students against Destructive Decisions. Active in student government, she is currently senior class president. Jennifer works on the school newspaper staff and is also on basketball, cross country and swim teams.
- Vincent Feucht, 11th Grade, West Point High School in West Point. Vincent is junior class president, varsity soccer captain and section leader in the marching band. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Foreign Language Club, Key Club, Students without Drugs, and the forensics team. Vincent is also active in a number of other musical groups and sports.
- Carlie Fogleman, 11th Grade, Lebanon High School in Russell County . In addition to being on the yearbook staff, Carlie is a member of the National Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America, Interact Club, and Senior Hi-Y. She has participated in the Model General Assembly, academic team and mock trial.
- Stacey LaRiviere, 8th Grade, Bailey Bridge Middle School in Chesterfield County. Stacey is vice president of the National Junior Honor Society, parliamentarian of the Student Council Association, and first chair violinist of the school orchestra. She has participated in the Virginia Student Council Association Summer Leadership Camp.
- Adrian Lehnen, 8th Grade, George Washington Middle School in Alexandria. Adrian was b orn in Germany, and moved to the United States when he was seven. Adrian is the current president of his school's National Junior Honor Society and a member of the symphonic band. Outside of school, he has played lacrosse and is a Boy Scout.
- Dion Quick, 8th Grade, Hugo Owens Middle School in Chesapeake. In addition to serving as the news anchor for his school's daily televised student information production, Dion created, produces, and stars in a special segment that addresses student concerns. He is a member of the Student Council Association and plays football and basketball.
- Franklin "Tre" Tennyson III, 12th Grade, Hermitage High School in Henrico County. Tre is a student in the Center for Humanities, one of nine specialty centers in his school division. He is president of the student council and active in SPACE, a superintendent's advisory group. Last year Tre represented his school at the Hague International Model United Nations.
- Alexandra Whitehead, 12th Grade, Staunton River High School in Bedford County. Alexandra is president of her senior class, the Student Council Association, and the Virginia Student Councils Association. She is captain of the varsity cheerleaders, president of the Latin Club, and a member of the National Honor Society, Foreign Languages National Society, tennis team and forensics team.
At the April board meeting, the Student Advisory Committee will present its findings and final recommendations on the following topics:
- The availability of conflict resolution and peer mediation programs in every middle school and high school
- Increasing students' awareness of the "real world" through internship and job-shadowing opportunities and financial management exploration
- Establishment of a "Spirit of the Commonwealth" award to recognize and honor well-rounded students.
The Student Advisory Committee was established by the board in 2000 as a way for students to offer the board advice and raise issues affecting Virginia public school students. The committee is selected from nominations received from high schools, middle schools, and statewide student organizations and is comprised of one high school student from each of the Department of Education's eight administrative regions and four middle school students selected at large. Nominees submit application packets demonstrating solid academic performance, strong communication and leadership skills, involvement in a variety of school and community activities, and an interest in learning about and contributing to state policies related to public education.
Since creating the committee, the board has acted on a number of its recommendations including one made by the 2003-2004 Student Advisory Committee. Following that suggestion, the board established a quarterly Leadership in Cultural Diversity Education Award to recognize schools and school divisions that promote an understanding and responsiveness to cultural diversity.