Monday marked the last Delaware City Schools Board of Education meeting for student board member Caroline Binkley, who graduated from Hayes High School last month and will be passing the position to another student this summer.
Binkley was sworn in last June and for the last year has attended board meetings, updated the board about the goings-on at Hayes, and had a symbolic vote on all board actions.
Superintendent Paul Craft and the board thanked Binkley for her service and perspective at the meeting Monday, and they presented her with a gift card as she heads to college.
“I just wanted to thank everyone,” Binkley told the board. “I truly appreciate it. It’s been such an amazing year. This has truly opened up many doors for me.”
Binkley said after the meeting that the board position taught her so much about how the district works.
“There’s so much that I’ve learned,” she said. “I could probably write a book. The most important thing I’ve learned (about) is the quality of education that our administrators try to give. How much work they put in off the clock was surprising to me.”
Binkley said as a regular student, it’s easy to not feel any connection to the district’s administration, but her time on the board opened her eyes to the administration.
“When I’m here and at my desk looking through the agenda, I’m seeing the passion on their faces as they explain all these great new ideas they have for the district.” Binkley said. “How much time they are putting in when they are in bed at home or making dinner and having those ideas and bringing them and making it a better place for students to grow up in … it really shows with the success of our students.”
Binkley said forming relationships with the members of the board and the district’s administration had been one of her favorite parts of the job.
“I’ve really enjoyed getting close to our staff and learning how friendly they truly can be,” Binkley said. “As a student, it’s easy to be intimidated by the superintendent, but you really get to know them and they really care about you just as much as your parents.”
Binkley will be studying business at Baldwin Wallace University this fall and will be passing the position of student board member to Mary Grace Duffy, an incoming senior at Hayes.
Binkley said she’s already given advice to Duffy.
“She has advice coming out of her ears,” Binkley joked. “(My advice is:) keep your eyes and ears open and always be open to a new argument and being okay with change. Notice what you can put into the district.”
Craft said Tuesday that the ability to hear from Binkley and get the perspective of students at meetings is invaluable.
“It’s always helpful, every year,” Craft said. “She’s been one of my favorite student board members.”
Board President Jayna McDaniel-Browning said Binkley will be missed on the board.
“Caroline was an outstanding student board member and demonstrated at every meeting the best of our Hayes students,” McDaniel-Browning said. “Not only was she a great representative for the student body, but she also offered a candid student perspective to our board on topics as wide-ranging as events to curriculum. Caroline will be greatly missed, but we are all excited to watch as she steps into the wider world. She is incredibly talented and has a very bright future ahead!”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.