Four Wilson County students are a part of the Wilson County Schools Board of Education, serving in the role of Student Board Member. The students, Lauren Allen, Isabella Beene, Donna Evins and Isabelle Leonard, represent their school and give an update of events taking place in their school.
“The student board member program has been around for quite a while, going back to the early 2000s,” WCS spokesman Bart Barker said. “Its purpose is to allow students from our high schools to have an opportunity to share news and information happening at their schools. It also serves as another voice from a student’s point-of-view to provide insight on new policy introductions and, when called upon, provide feedback on a policy issue that needs attention.”
Allen, who is a senior at Mt. Juliet High School, is serving in her second year on the board.
She said that at MJHS, student board members are “chosen through a panel interview process. I interviewed for the position and was so happy to have been chosen.”
Allen added that she wanted to remain a board member again, “because I really liked being able to form personal relationships with some of the board members my first year. The two big issues that faced the board during my first year as a student board member were exam exemptions and vouchers. I really enjoyed being able to be a part of these conversations.
Allen noted that she’s formed relationships with board members such as Chad Karl, “who understand the importance of having the input of students. Before meetings, I like to talk to him about the items on the agenda, so he knows how I feel about it. It allows me to have a say without technically being a voting member.
“I’m not sure exactly what I’ll do, but I’m really interested in education and immigration policy as well as anthropology,” she said. “I have applied to 17 colleges, but my top choice is either Tulane or the University of Chicago. I’ll probably end up going wherever gives me the most scholarships. I’d like to major in cultural anthropology and political science.
Beene is a senior at Lebanon High School, where she is the student body president.
She said she likes being on the student board because, “I think it’s an honor to be able to watch how the school system works from behind the scenes. I have never seen anything like it before.”
Beene said that, “I mostly update the school board on any accomplishments my school has had, or any outstanding students. I try to focus on what the clubs are doing for the school and the whole student body.”
She gathers the information from the school principal, as well as club sponsors.
“The very first time I presented to the school board I winged it; however, I definitely think I will be having some speaking notes with me next time,” she added.
Her focus at LHS is science, technology, engineering and math.
“I am looking towards the medical field as my career path,” she said, adding she hopes to attend the University of Mississippi, where she will major in biomedical sciences. She wants to be a doctor or a physician’s assistant.
Donna Marie Evins
Evans, a senior at Watertown High School, said that her school’s principal and guidance counselor chose her to represent the school
“(I like being on the board) because it helps improve my public speaking skills,” she said. “I keep myself informed the entire month on what is happening in my school by going to the sporting events and club meetings so that I am able to inform others at the aboard meetings.”
Evins’ focus at WHS is STEM, “because I have a passion for mathematics,” she said.
Evins said she wants to be accepted into a United States service academy and “would like to find a position that caters to my love for mathematics. The majors I am currently looking into are operations analysis, physics, or electrical engineering.”
Leonard, who is a senior at Wilson Central High School said, “my principal reached out to me and asked if I’d like to be a board member, and I was like, ‘Of course,’ ” she said.
Leonard’s focus is fine arts and humanities, but “I really should be in the Career Technical Education focus because of Audio-Visual Production,” she said.
“I want to be a director of films one day. I think the board position will help me in the future by allowing me to have insight into the inner workings of how boards work and how meetings run. I also think I could build some valuable connections.”
To help with her career, she has participated in multiple plays and musicals, including “Pride and Prejudice”, “Grease”, “Shrek the Musical” and “Mamma Mia!”.
“I am also involved in Audio Visual Production and attended the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts for filmmaking this past year. I am in student council as current Student Body President, Mental Outreach Club, Kindness Club, National Honor Society, and Beta Club,” she said.
She said she hopes “to be a director in the future, of either TV or film. Some of my top schools include Chapman University, University of Southern California and Florida State University. my major will be film and television production.”