Seniors Lexie Finkelstein and Kiersten McCollum have been selected as the first ever student interns on the district’s Board of Education. This new pilot program will allow increased representation of the student body by gathering student feedback and voicing student concerns.
On behalf of the school board, an email was sent calling all juniors and seniors interested in applying for the new role of the student intern. From there, applicable students with a 3.0 GPA or higher sent an email or letter to the school board that included a resume and parent or guardian permission to commit to this time consuming-position.
To ensure the top applicants were considered and selected, the school board reviewed the applications as a collective group and consulted high school administration. The school board sought the following criteria in their candidates: confident public speaking skills, active involvement within the school community, and willing to train for the duties and responsibilities to support the district.
The selected applicants were interviewed by Paul Kolin, the district board president, and a member of the central office administrative team. As many students applied for the student intern position, it was ultimately decided to split the job between two students and form a council to assist them.
“Since the job is more comprehensive than we anticipated and we want students to focus first and foremost on their class work, having co-interns and a council seemed like a reasonable fix,” said Kolin. “We have a diverse student body and each candidate had a unique connection to a different part of our student population that we thought was important.”
Out of the seven finalists, Lexie Finkelstein and Kiersten McCollum were selected as the co-interns. They will work together and receive help from the advisory board made up of seniors Eeshika Dadheech, Bryce Gutowsky, and juniors Maggie Eisenberg, Cassie English, and Paul Silaghi. Together, they will incorporate student perspective in district policy, student planning, and decision-making.
McCollum originally applied for the internship to step up and take action on school issues that she feels passionate about.
“All the decisions made district-wide are by adults. But adults aren’t the ones who are supposed to be benefiting from the system; it’s all about the kids. My hopes with this role is mainly to produce opportunity not just for me, but for the years to come. Since this is the first year this position is in action, I feel a personal responsibility for both Lexie and me to pave the way for the future.”
Kolin echoes McCollum’s thoughts on involving student voice and choice on the school board.
“In the future, we hope that the role of [the] student interns evolves into an important channel of communication and representation of the student body voice and a conduit to making sure all our decisions are made with student perspective considered,” said Kolin. “We hope our interns, with the input and team work of their council, become part of that collaborative process and play a significant role in the decision-making of the board, starting with the selection of a superintendent and preliminary facilities restructuring.”