Why school board elections matter- a high school student’s perspective

imagesAt Mesa Ridge High School students are actively encouraged  to look beyond the campus for opportunities to be an involved citizen. One way teachers do this is to get students thinking about  the implications of elections at the local, state, and federal level.  From this discussion, the students wrote an essay that reflected their views on this important subject. So often we adults ask each other, what is best for the students? Now, instead, we are asking the students what they think is best for them. 

With the school board elections in mind, students were asked to think about the school board as an institution. They were prompted  to think about the role a school board plays. Who are they working for? To what end? Who’s interests should they serve?

Chirstoper Varano teaches 10th and 11th grade English and Speech classes at Mesa Ridge High School. He selected the following essay to represent this class assignment.

By: Terra Vigil

School boards are a big part of the community and help how schools are able to function and run properly. School boards have many responsibilities tied to their job in taking care of our schools and making sure that our students are successful in having a stable school year.

My name is Terra Vigil, and I am a senior at Mesa Ridge High School. A part of the
school board is being accountable for the performance of their schools and how the schools are being run. Now everyone is knowledgeable that not every student’s family has a ton of money to be able to pay for the taxes the school requires. It is the school board that makes sure that every student gets the same opportunities regardless of their wages. As a student in Widefield School District 3, I can tell you that students just like me and  parents have things to say from our Elections Matter 2015 9p4 logoperspective. School board members are our everyday people, they’re our neighbors, friends, parents, people selected from the community. The superintendent is the chief executive and is responsible for the policies and achieving their goals as a school board. All these people are working to try and make school achievable and easier for the students attending.

During the four years being in high school and even before that, I have seen tremendous changes in the policies and the different rules being made. Our lunch system has changed tremendously, as well as policies on our work and our education period. Being here I tend to see and hear other students claims on the school system, and we all have our dislikes for the things we do not agree with. But with our school, there’s other things to care about more than the little things. We can’t always love every teacher in our classes, but we do need help time-to-time with stuff we do not understand. So far this year I haven’t had any problems with teachers personally, but I have in the past. When a student and teacher do not get along and it has been addressed that they are not compatible, I think it’s up to the school board to allow parents to attend meetings and other gatherings. Our parents, as well as us, should be allowed to attend to meetings so we can understand ourselves what can be done and what should not be done if a problem that is not being taking care of is happening. I personally have had the school not try to do anything about complaints that I had about a teacher that was rude to me when I had asked for help. This process took forever for the school to address the teacher and I do not think that is how it should work. If a student is being bothered by actions a teacher is committing, then something should be done about it in a reasonable amount of time. School is all about us kids getting ready for the world and teachers that are rude or just not good teachers can affect that a lot which can lead to students failing a class. It is up to the school board to help make this less of a problem.

As a student I do look for traits in the school board candidates. I think there should be guidelines and boundaries for them. The traits that I look for in one is that they are a caring person, they take their job seriously, they understand what they are dealing with, and that the person knows how to handle situations that are out of hand. Their first concern is the students and their first priority is to make sure their students are getting the help they need. The school board should care about what the kids are being fed and how they are treated as well. The kids should be well nourished and looked after, if a child wants to eat the regular school lunch, then they should be allowed to. If the child and their parents want the nutrition that is now given to our schools then it will be available also. I think the candidate should be the type of person that always thinks of the kids first and not the money or what the other districts are doing. I think the school board thinks too much about what the other districts are doing, our education is not a competition to where the boards make their decision based off of the other districts. This is based on our education, not competition between districts unless it’s sports related.
images (2)As students we don’t and can’t ask for a lot from our school boards, but we want to help them see that this is our education on the line not theirs. We should eat what we want, and drink what we want, we shouldn’t be a competition for which district gives in first for a snow day or not, and most importantly we want to be appreciated that we are working to get to where people are and to where we start our own lives. Working our way to college and our degrees is a lot harder than it was for the people running our schools with our  unnecessary tests and more classes to graduate.So we think it shouldn’t be hard for them to try and make it easier on us while we are trying to make it in life and not fail. Students just want people to care about us and how we are doing, not someone who cares about other districts and other things that can’t affect us, we want something to help us not make it harder for us. We already have parents for our food and what we drink, we need help in our schooling and it should only be school that matters, the best for us nobody else. So now that everyone has heard a student’s perspective maybe school boards can look at things a little different.

VIDEO: Citizens Project Vision for the Future, 2015


This video was featured at the June 2015 Creating Community Breakfast. Featuring interviews from Jody Alyn, Don DeAngelis, Alison Garscadden, Bernie Herpin, Rosemary Lytle, Mary Lou Makepeace, Jan Martin, and Jariah Walker. Citizens Project is excited to be a vital part of the future of the Pikes Peak region!

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Creating Community Breakfast Raises over $51,000

DSC_1912More than 500 community members gathered to create community and celebrate diversity at Citizens Project’s tenth annual Creating Community Breakfast.  The breakfast highlighted the work Citizens Project is doing in the Pikes Peak region to promote equal rights, diversity, and religious freedom through separation of church and state, and civic engagement.

This event raised over $51,000 in general operating support for Citizens Project’s many programs including: candidate survey voter guides, its monthly publication Citizens Project Online News, and the Citizens Project Activist Network, which currently serves over 1,500 subscribers. Corporate and in-kind sponsorship for the event was provided by Cascade Investment Group, Platinum Relations, and The Colorado Springs Independent.

The Creating Community Breakfast featured a diverse array of speakers including: Heather Zambrano, Kristy Milligan, Lionel Washington, Emma Brachtenbach, Sarah Musick, and Siri Everett, with featured musical performance by Russ Ware, Crystal Lardy, Ryan Flores, and Yemi Mobolade.

The Creating Community Breakfast celebrated the role Citizens Project has played in creating a community which values diversity, equality and religious freedom. Citizens Project has worked tirelessly to combat extremism and promote respect for diversity in the Pikes Peak region seen since its inception in 1992.