Elevating the Student Voice

At the StriveTogether convening last week, we heard about the importance of young people sitting at the leadership table co-creating a future where all students are succeeding from cradle to career. In the past, students’ perspectives have been largely unrepresented in the decisions and discussions that shape their lives. We know that students, as the recipients of education, are perfectly positioned to see problems and solutions. By harnessing the student voice, our county networks Reach Higher Shasta, Expect More Tehama, Advancing Modoc Youth, Trinity Together Cradle to Career Partnership, and Cradle to Careers for Siskiyou can achieve their goals while simultaneously creating young leaders.
Reach Higher Shasta recently announced the addition of a student representative to their executive table. Carly Tawney, pictured, is also a Student Board Member on the Shasta County Board of Education. A senior at Foothill High School, she has experience as the ASB Secretary and Junior Class President. Carly shared with the Shasta County Board of Education in her application the following:

“If I was awarded the honor of serving on the Board, I believe I would gain a better understanding of how I could serve my school, and my community, as well as valuable experience in the workings of local government. I have always been intrigued by how solutions and ideas are put into practical action, and how change can be made from the bottom up, rather than always from the top down. That is one of the biggest motivations behind me applying, as I believe that the best and most informed decisions can be made when you intentionally listen and involve those who will be affected by those decisions. When I heard that SCOE had Student Board Member positions, the existence of the position alone made me feel more represented in the decisions being made about my education and that of those around me.”

In Carly’s interview with the Shasta County Board, one of the questions asked was which program that the Shasta County Office of Education is involved in was she interested in learning more about. Carly’s response was Reach Higher Shasta. She wanted to better understand how Reach Higher Shasta was supporting high schools and high school students as they make decisions about their future. After this interview, Judy Flores, Superintendent of Schools for the Shasta County Office of Education shared Carly’s request with the Reach Higher Shasta Executive Committee who had discussed adding a student representative. Carly is the first to bring a student’s voice to Reach Higher Shasta Executive Committee, and will be followed with a recruitment process this spring for identifying a student annually to bring this critically important perspective to our work. Carly joins a cross-sector Executive Committee that includes leaders from industry, public health, K-College education, health and human services, First 5, and workforce and economic development. Welcome, Carly, your voice is the most important!