Student is representative to school board |

Student is representative to school board

by Merrie Leininger

Getting students interested in the workings of the school board can be a little difficult, but every year a student representative is assigned to sit on the school board.

This year it is Annie Gastelum, 18, a senior at Douglas High School. She said the position came to her as part of her duties as an officer of the Associated Student Body, the student council.

Douglas County School Superintendent Pendery Clark said the district attempts to get a student representative from both high schools every year, but because they, like Annie, are so involved in other activities, it is sometimes difficult.

“The primary purpose it to have a student perspective. Sometimes it is very difficult because they are always very active with practices after school and homework,” she said.

Clark meets with the student at the beginning of the school year and discusses the position with them. They also get the agendas sent to them before hand so the students know if their is anything of interest to students coming up.

“I let them know the board is interested in the student perspective. It gives them an opportunity to see how the district is governed and the process behind it all,” Clark said.

n Student leadership. Gastelum has been involved in student leadership since elementary school.

“It’s been a lot of fun, except for a few things, like the walkout,” she said.

In February, about 200 of the 1,951 Douglas High School students refused to go to classes Friday morning and gathered in the gym to protest the lack of support for athletics they said school administration showed.

Gastelum has trouble getting to the school board meetings because she is so involved in other activities.

“I’m going to go to more if I can make it. If they happen to be talking about something I’m interested in or that affects students, I’m sure I’ll speak up,” she said.

Running on the state championship cross country and track teams and dance lessons keep her pretty busy after school.

Now, she is preparing for college. She said the excitement is building as she has now been accepted to the school of choice, Santa Clara University, in California, has received the financial aid, and has been ensured a place on the cross country team.

She said she hasn’t decided for sure, but probably will study broadcast journalism.

Gastelum said she will also try to continue dancing after leaving the Ann Peters’ Dance Workshop, with whom she has been training since she could walk.

“I’ve always liked performing. Dancing is a way to express myself. I like jazz and tap the best. I just love it. I love trying new things and learning different techniques,” she said.

A highlight of her senior year, however, was winning zone and state championships in cross country.

“I love long distances and I like competing. My coach Ellen Lucas has given me so much inspiration,” she said.

Her family has also been an inspiration.

She is the youngest of the three children of Henry and Laura Gastelum, Jason, 28, Deanna, 27, and Annie.

“Both my parents really supported me. I never knew how much it ment to me that they came to every game and performance, but they’ve always been there,” she said.