"I've always been
attracted to government and politics. It's too early to say what
will happen, but this is my first time being actually involved
and I expect to learn a lot. We'll see where that takes me,"
said Sharon Greenbaum, 17, a senior at Concord High School who
will serve during this academic year as the non-voting student
representative on the school board.
That she was serious about wanting the job is evidenced by the
fact she won it in May after losing in the election held a year
earlier. During the intervening time, she kept in touch with
Lauren Mineo, of Brandywine High School, who beat her out
in the first try. The two because
friends and Greenbaum credits with Mineo with giving her a
running start by filling her in on how the board functions.
The main piece of advice she said she intends to follow:
"Speak up and be yourself."
Based on her experience at her first meeting in July,
Greenbaum said she expects that the other members of the
board will make it comfortable for her to do so. "They
were all very warm and friendly. I think they want to hear
what the student representative has to say."
She said what she said will depend on what her schoolmates
and those attending
Brandywine and Mount Pleasant want her
to say. "It's not all just what I think. I am representing the
high schools so I have to follow what the high school [students]
Getting a feel for that may be
the biggest challenge she faces. Student representative is a
position that has yet to catch on with the majority of boys and
girls in the schools although the Brandywine district has had
one for several years. "A lot of us didn't even know we have a
student representative. There isn't much talk about it or about
what's happening with the school board.," she said.
Greenbaum is not sure she can change that entirely, but she is
going to make an effort -- at least with those students savvy
enough to recognize that there are matters where their
viewpoints are important. She is going to use Concord's Web site
to communicate about those things and e.mail to get input.
"I'll definitely speak up when they're (the board) is talking
about things that directly affect the high schools," she said.
One current issue that comes to mind is use of weighted grades
to determine class rank. Although present seniors and probably
juniors will not be affected by the proposed revision in the
Brandywine system, it will impact underclassmen and their
successors, she noted.
More than just
the prestige of high standing, relative rank in the graduating
class can have an impact on college admissions, especially for
those who want to attend prestige and out-of-state schools, she
said. "It does matter whether you're in the upper 10% [of the
class] or not."
The issue involves
rewarding, or penalizing, students who take honors and
advanced-placement classes. Under a weighted system, a 'B' in a
more difficult class would count for more than an 'A' in a less
difficult one class. Without weighting, the result would be
Another issue with great future
impact, Greenbaum said, is what the district decides to do about
implementing the state Neighborhood Schools Act. Having come
through the Brandywine district system since her family moved to
Delaware when she was in second grade, except for two years in
Wilmington Montessori School, she said the present attendance
arrangement works just fine.
"I went to Burnett [Intermediate School], which is in the city,
and it was no problem. It was safe," she said. "Most people
don't want it to change. I don't see why we have to go through
with it when we don't want it."