School board welcomes new student reps; says thanks to Scott and Pineda


Rahma Gaye of Capitol High School and Christine Zhang of Olympia High School took the oath as student representatives to the Olympia School District Board for the 2022-2023 school year.

Darcy Huffman, OSD Board of Directors vice president said the board received 17 applications from Capital High School and Olympia High School. "It means that students really want to be involved. They want their voice heard. I think it is important for us as board members to offer them opportunities.”

She noted that Gaye and Zhang's interview skills were impressive. "I am looking forward to working with you."

Both Gaye and Zhang were thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the school board.

OSD Board of Directors president Maria Flores swore in the new student representatives during the board's meeting last night, replacing outgoing student representatives Matthew Scott and Michelle Pineda whose term ended June 23

On its statement, OSD is still waiting until August 21 for incoming junior and senior Avanti High School and Grade 11 and 12 Olympia Regional Learning Academy students to apply for the seats set aside for them on the board.

Thanks for Matthew and Michelle

Directors Justin McKaughan, Scott Clifthorne and Huffman thanked Matthew Scott and Michelle Pineda for their service, with Director Hilary Seidel describing both as exceptional students.

Scott will be studying at West Point Military Academy in the fall.

"Getting accepted to the West Point is remarkable and something to celebrate," Seidel told Scott. "Thank you for being such a good caretaker. It warms my heart to know that young people like you are joining the military, which is a vital role in our society."

"Thank you for your service and thank you for the service that you are getting ready to move on to," Murphy told Scott.

"My time as a student rep allowed me to learn about how our district works from the inside, and I have experienced the policymaking process in a hands-on environment,” said Scott.

“The opportunity to contribute to discussions, hear from students and community members, and advise members of the school board and district staff has been an incredibly rewarding experience."

Pineda has scholarship offers after applying to five or six colleges, Seidel said.

"Michelle joins our board halfway through what would normally be the student's terms. And right away, she's jumped into the rigorous dialogue and research and thinking about policy and its impact on students daily. She brought her fearless self to our board meeting," Seidel said of Pineda.

Pineda, according to Flores, is a "fierce advocate for justice."

Flores recounted Pineda was offered admission to a college, which asked her some discriminatory questions about her status based on the fact that she is a Latina.

"But [Pineda] wrote the most eloquent letter to that college explaining how they discriminated against her and how she is not going to attend that college because of the way they made a lot of assumptions and misunderstanding, and it was incredible,” Flores said.

“I hope that Michelle will become a lawyer or civil rights activist. She has a clear sense of justice and the ability to fight for it."

The board president refused to name the college institution.

On the OSD website, Pineda said the work as a student representative was fulfilling. "I am glad I was able to be proactive in our school system, witness firsthand the district's work, and be included in decisions that affect my peers and me."


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