Hayes High School senior Mackenzie Collett will take her oath as the student board member for the 2020-2021 school year during the July 13 meeting of the Delaware City Schools Board of Education.
Collett said Hayes Principal Ric Stranges made an announcement this past school year asking juniors interested in serving as the student board member to contact him.
It’s an opportunity Collett has been waiting years to pursue.
“Immediately upon him making the announcement, I rushed down to his office and asked how I could apply,” Collett said. Stranges told Collett that a meeting would be held later in the semester to discuss the application process, but the meeting was cancelled when school moved online as a result of COVID-19.
Instead, students were asked to send in an email explaining why they wanted the position.
“I quickly sent in my email and roughly five weeks later, I received an email from (Stranges) congratulating me on being chosen,” Collett said. “I am not sure who was involved in deciding or the exact number of others who applied, but I truly am honored to have been selected.”
Collett said she wants to be on the board to give students a voice in the district.
“The members of the school board are elected by the voters of Delaware to make decisions on their behalf, yet few of the voters are actually students within DCS due to the voting age being 18,” Collett said. “Thus, before the student school board representative position was created, it was really those without a voice that were affected by the choices made by the board. In being the student representative, I am able to ensure that when decisions are voted upon, a student’s perspective is voiced as in some way or another, every decision voted on affects the students of DCS.”
She said her representation on the board goes both ways.
“While I represent a voice of the students to the board, I also represent a voice of the board to the students,” Collett said. “A lot of the students within the district may not know what the board does or the impact the decisions they make have on their education, so the more I can represent the board and inform students on how they can be involved, such as attending meetings and speaking during the public participation portion, the more connected DCS can be.”
Collett said she has been at Delaware City Schools for her entire academic career and has grown up in the district. She is at the top of her class academically, and she takes part in a variety of extracurricular activities and organizations: Ohio Youth and Government, Mock Trial, National Honor Society, Key Club, and several golf programs, including having played on the varsity team and coached a team in the Special Olympics of Delaware County.
“However, what I believe makes me an ideal candidate for the position is the amount of participation and the diversity of my participation within Delaware City Schools,” Collett said. “My hope in serving as the representative is that students across all of the district’s school buildings, no matter their passion, will know that I am someone that they can express their thoughts and opinions to, and I will do everything to ensure that their voice is represented in the board’s votes. I have always valued and respected the work that occurs behind the scenes through the school board, PTOs, community partnerships, and more, to make certain that our schools can provide the best possible education to students, thus I will do everything in my power to be a positive part of that.”
As a member of the board, Collett will attend the board’s regular meetings and executive sessions, will update the board on student matters, and will have a symbolic vote on all board actions.
“I am looking forward to not only the meetings themselves in which I will get to work with an incredible group of individuals who truly are leaders within the community, but also all of the work that comes before and after the meetings, such as educating myself on the topics on the upcoming agendas and discussing with students throughout the district about how the topic at hand could affect them and their opinion on said topic,” she said.
Collett said she’s very thankful for the people at the district who helped her get to this position.
“I was so incredibly humbled to be chosen for this position, and I am so grateful for all of the DCS staff and administrators who fought to have this position created years ago and who encourage students like myself to be passionate enough about the things we care about so that we can step up and truly make a difference within our community,” Collett said. “I am looking forward to serving on the board for this 2020-2021 school year, and I encourage students to reach out to me if they ever have any questions about any of the items on the board’s agendas or if they ever wish to talk to me about an issue within DCS that they are passionate about.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.