Hawkins BOE meets its new student representatives

Jeff Bobo • Sep 10, 2018 at 9:00 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Six Hawkins County high school seniors will have an opportunity to help shape school board policy throughout the 2018-19 school year as student representatives to the Board of Education.

In 2011-12, the BOE student representative program was launched by board Vice Chairman Debbie Shedden, who introduced the newest class of student reps to her fellow board members during the Sept. 6 meeting.

"The Hawkins County Board of Education recognizes the importance of student input and views on issues and concerns that affect our schools," Shedden said. "To aid in communication and involvement between the Board of Education and the schools, we have developed positions known as student board representatives. The student board representative will serve as advisory, nonvoting representatives, but may express themselves on issues concerning their schools."

In order to be a student representative to the BOE, students must be a senior, have a score of 19 or better on the ACT, a minimum 3.0 GPA, no discipline referrals, five days or fewer absences for the last school year, a petition signed by at least 15 fellow students, and three faculty recommendations.

"I think you can see we set a high standard, and these are certainly exemplary young people," Shedden said.

This year's BOE student reps are:

Clinch High School

— Taylor Kinsler, who was selected last school year to serve during the summer as part of the Tennessee Washington Youth Tour sponsored by Powell Valley Electric. Her plans are to pursue an associate degree in ether architectural design and drafting or business administration.

— Katie Nichols currently serves as the captain of the Lady Wildcats basketball team, as well as being a member of AmeriCorps program at River Place on the River in Kyles Ford. This past summer she was also a member of the Tennessee Washington Youth Tour sponsored by Powell Valley Electric. She plans on attending ETSU seeking a degree in math with the goal of being a high school teacher in Hawkins County.

Volunteer High School

— Evan Mays is entering his fourth year as a member of student government, and he currently serves on the executive board. He has won two state competitions in mock trial, placed third in a national competition in business procedure, played varsity soccer and varsity tennis, and wrote and produced a play in the theater program. He plans to attend the University of Tennessee and major in journalism and electronic media with a minor in political science.

— Neisha French is the president of the TSA and Beta Club, as well as a member of the SGA. Her goal for her senior year is to bring students together and show them how working together will help them obtain better results. She hopes to set an example for others on how to be an active member in the school and community while maintaining great academics and a part time job.

Cherokee High School

— LeeAnna Blackburn is trumpet section leader for the band, a tennis player, secretary of HOSA and a member of the Beta Club. With band, she has had the experience of attending two Tennessee All-East Honors Clinics, as well as various collegiate clinics. She has attended the SkillsUSA Tennessee competition twice, medaling in medical terminology and the Health Knowledge Bowl, and  she has participated in the SkillsUSA national competition. She plans on attending the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga and majoring in nursing.

— Maria Howard is senior class president and Student Council president and was nominated as the Student of the Year for three consecutive years. She participates in clubs such as Future Business Leaders of America, Book Riot, Beta Club, Sustainability Society, and Heritage Lites Youth Service Organization. She competes athletically in varsity soccer, cross country and tennis. After graduation she plans to attend a university and major in public policy or international relations with hopes of working for a nonprofit.

Other BOE recognitions

Wayne Absher was introduced to the board as the new technology supervisor, replacing Adrian Smith, who accepted a teaching position at Volunteer High School.

The board also recognized the Rogersville Middle School football team and Coach Jeremy Bailey for receiving a Riddell sports equipment grant worth more than $10,000, which included all new uniforms, pads and InSite "smart" helmets. The equipment was delivered on Aug. 24 by Peyton Manning, who also worked out with the team for about 90 minutes.

The board also heard a report form Director Dr. Reba Bailey that BAE Systems had recently donated more than 1,000 florescent light bulbs to the school system because the Holston Army Ammunition Plant received a new lighting system.

BOE officers elected

Bob Larkins was elected unopposed and unanimously to his second term as chairman of the BOE. Debbie Shedden was elected unopposed as vice chairman of the BOE by a vote of 6-0 with board member Tecky Hicks abstaining. Holly Helton was approved chairman pro-tem unopposed by a vote of 6-0 with Hicks abstaining. Shedden was approved unopposed to be the board representative to the Tennessee Legislative Network by a vote of 6-0 with Hicks abstaining.

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