Public, students make a difference when they get involved in service

Aditi Mangal, Managing Editor

The Spring-Ford School Board embraces the epitome of the ideals of leadership and service, as well as diversity and possibility. The value of each board member’s insight is invaluable, and their dedication to stay late hours must be commended.

The School Board truly reflects how collaboration produces some of the greatest ideas, representative of the possibilities that exist when great minds think together, united by one mission, one common goal: the betterment of the school, community, and beyond. The School Board represents the possibilities for change, where the people themselves serve as the catalyst.

At the same time, those participating in School Board meetings, whether tuning into Zoom meetings or making the extra effort to arrive in-person, truly represent the power of the people. The diversity of the paths of life the audience members come from is unique and remarkable, and their perspectives make a difference when presented in the public comments.

Over time, as a Student Representative myself, I have come to see the same participants seated at board meetings. I can recount the excitement present in the Board when we have a student-centric agenda, where the students fill the seats. Truly, the difference in the environment is visible, and this contrast led me to question why we no longer had as many students in the audience, especially given that students represent the voice of the generations to come. Students can provide valuable points of view given our school community focuses on education, a stage students are currently undergoing.

In the past, students have engaged in the School Board meetings due to government and politics classes as a requirement. Students also tended to come during meetings deciding the fate of highly controversial topics.

My favorite example of an instance student participation served a pivotal impact was with the school calendar amendment to add the holiday observances of Diwali and Eid.

Students from all stages of education — from kindergarten to high school  — were present. Even undergraduates reflecting on their experiences after having become alumni participated to share their voice. The result was a resounding support with an inclusion of the two holidays for the 2022-23 school year and beyond. With student participation and representation, a change was introduced to Spring-Ford Area School District, one never seen before.

Apart from the benefit of achieving success for change, speaking in board meetings can provide students with increased opportunities to use a public platform. This can provide intrinsic benefits such as enhanced levels of confidence and public speaking skills. Additionally, student participation can provide opportunities for forming a stronger sense of Spring-Ford community, one where students themselves can work together and find ways to connect through common ideals and values.

Thus, regardless of the method of participation, students are encouraged to be more involved and provide their perspectives and share their voice in School Board meetings. Age or background doesn’t matter. All that matters is that we support each other and form a strong community.