New Student Senate Back at Work with New Officials
Members of the 2013-2014 Student Senate in a working session with their Program Coordinator, Kally Moquete, include (from left to right) Kreshawn Rismay, grade 9 from Renzulli Gifted & Talented Academy, Rose Sliva, grade 9 from Journalism & Media Academy Magnet School, Toby Sznaj, grade 10 and Bethany Brown, senior, both from University High School of Science & Engineering, Luke Powers and Richard Hamilton, both from Great Path Academy, Shamar Mahon and T.J. Noel-Sullivan, both grade 10 from Classical Magnet, Everton James and Farhiyo Abdirizak, both seniors from Bulkeley Upper School.
The new Hartford Public Schools Student Senate has elected Kim Williams of Capital Preparatory Magnet and Luke Powers of Great Path Academy at Manchester Community College to serve as the non-voting student representatives on the Hartford Board of Education for the remainder of the school year. The Senate delegates chose from candidates who put their names in nomination for the positions Each candidate was required to deliver a campaign speech before the entire Senate explaining why he or she should be elected.
"The Senate members were eager to get things moving so they voted to hold elections at their first meeting so the BOE reps could start. This is a group that truly takes the Senate seriously and wants to make a difference," said Amy Bryda, Exectuive Assistant of Operations, who helps to give guidance to the Senators.
Other new officers include Jocelyn Arroyo, grade 11 at Pathways Academy of Technology & Design, as President (she was a Board Delegate last year,) Bethany Brown a senior at University High School of Science & Engineering as Vice-President (she was last year's Treasurer,) T.J. Noel-Sullivan, a 10th grader from Classical Magnet as Treasurer, and Richard Hamilton from Great Path as Secretary.
Ms. Arroyo, a 16-year-old, who said she loves politics and public service, expressed, “Students should have a say in what goes on in Hartford Public Schools. You can’t always leave decisions up to adults. Times change and there are things that only we the students know.”
Student representation on the Board of Education and the creation of a Student Senate were part of a larger policy revision that was approved by the board, with the support of Superintendent Christina M. Kishimoto, in December of 2011. The revised measure also required that each high school develop a student council.
Although they will be non-voting members, Ms.Williams and Mr. Powers will be able to speak on any item on the agenda of the monthly board meetings. They can also serve on any board committee.
“I am so looking forward to seeing the influence that a student voice can have on our decision making,” said Superintendent Kishimoto. “Their presence at board meetings cannot be taken lightly.”
“Having students participate will undoubtedly improve the governance of the district and help them build the skills they will need as adult leaders in the community,” said Matthew K. Poland, the Chairman of the Hartford Board of Education.
The Senate consists of two delegates from each of the district’s neighborhood and magnet high schools.
All of the delegates are receiving leadership training through their advisor, Kally Moquete, a former program assistant at Hartford Public High School, now at M.D. Fox School. Ms. Williams and Mr. Powers will be receiving additional training related to their duties as student representatives on the board. The Senate is also mentored by Donald Slater, Hartford Public Schools' Chief Operating Officer, and Amy Bryda, Exectuive Assistant of Operations.
Some of the 2013-2014 Student Senate with Amy Bryda, Executive Assistant of Operations (second from left) and Kally Moquete, Program Coordinator (second from right.)
For more information on the Student Senate, click here.