Student board member ‘thankful’ for term


After completing his year as the student board member for Delaware City Schools, Eric Gitson said the position gave him insight into the inner workings of the district and helped defined how he sees public service.

Gitson, who recently graduated from Hayes High School, joined the board in August 2023. Throughout the school year, he attended board meetings, provided the board with a student perspective, and had a ceremonial vote on all board action.

Gitson said he first attended a board meeting in fifth grade and that’s when he learned of the student board member position, which started him down the path to eventually becoming the student board member himself.

“I thought it was very exciting that a student was invited to participate in making school district decisions and to bring the students’ perspective,” Gitson said. “I believed that I could be a good fit for the role. I attended a few meetings my junior year; Meg Wolf did a fantastic job as a student representative, and she inspired me to apply.”

Gitson said he learned that “very few” school districts in Ohio and other states have a student member on their boards of education.

“I was proud of how much our administrators value a connection with students,” Gitson said. “I really enjoyed my time on the board. It was fascinating to learn more about the inner workings of this district that I’ve been a part of for 13 years.”

Gitson said the experience was “even more educational” than he anticipated.

“Being student representative gives you a view of everything that’s happening in our schools, and our students are always excelling, whether in music, athletics, academics or performing arts,” he said. “Updating the board on student accomplishments was an aspect of the role that was more exciting than I’d anticipated.”

Gitson said he was “especially impressed” by the elected board members and said they “lead with principle and dedication” to the district.

“Their positions demand extra time beyond work hours, knowledge in many areas of expertise, balancing different priorities, and researching related issues; and they accomplish all of that very well,” he said.

A year on the board taught Gitson “quite a bit” about the “complex balancing act that funding a school district requires” and how curriculums are chosen, he said.

“(Funding) is something that is always a priority at meetings, a never-ending process,” Gitson said. “In Delaware, every dollar is accounted for and spent to benefit students and staff. I believe that most taxpayers would be pleased if they saw the hard work that our administration does on their behalf. I also learned a lot about how curriculum and materials are selected, and I was glad to see teachers being involved, sharing insight, and testing new materials with their classes to provide the best possible education.”

At his final board meeting last month, Gitson said he plans to study at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., to study political science on a pre-law track and said his time on the board inspired him, in part, to pursue a career in public service.

“I’ve always been interested in politics and government, so I’ll be studying political science for my undergraduate degree,” Gitson said. “I plan on attending law school after. Our society has been going through a time of division and distrust in government. We need steady leadership to bring us back together. This is what I saw from our school board members, who are focused on steering the school district through challenges, while listening to people’s concerns and seeking to unify. They helped me define how I see public service today, and I hope to bring what I’ve learned to a career in government in the future, potentially in a federal agency or as a judge.”

Gitson said at his last meeting that it had been “a great honor” to represent the students on the board during the past year.

“I am thankful for the opportunity to serve as student board member, and I am grateful to the teachers and administrators who’ve supported me along the way,” he said last month.

The new student board member, Greta Walraven, will be sworn in next month.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903.

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