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News Maryland Anne Arundel County

Elected Anne Arundel student board member to spend summer honing leadership skills

Old Mill High School junior Nick Lefavor was elected several months ago as the next student member of the Anne Arundel County school board. And though he says he's familiar with the issues affecting county students, he's taking a couple of summer programs to fine-tune his leadership skills.

Through the programs, Lefavor said, he hopes to learn much about board decorum.

"I hope to learn about how to compose myself and handle myself in a professional manner," he said. "I hope to learn some more ways to relate to all people. I view myself as a relatable person, but it never hurts to get an extra push or polish up on a few things."

Lefavor, 16, of Crownsville was elected in March by the Chesapeake Regional Association of Student Councils and his name will be forwarded to Gov. Martin O'Malley, who makes the formal appointment. If appointed, Lefavor would assume his seat July 1.

Lefavor, who would be the fourth Old Mill High student to serve, would succeed Jillian Buck of South River High School. He said he became interested in the office after watching Buck's run for the position.

Fefavor is"very passionate about everything he's involved in," said Carrie Klimes, Old Mill High's counselor. "He's really unique in that his interests are so varied. Nick volunteers for everything."

Lefavor said that since being elected, he has attended board meetings and versed himself on issues that lie ahead.

"Some of it has to do with redistricting," Lefavor said. "Another issue is that we have to re-elect a new president of the board. I've been informing myself on the different members' backgrounds so I can make an educated decision with my vote."

In July, Lefavor will take part in the weeklong Senior High Workshop at Washington College in Chestertown. The weeklong session helps teens develop leadership skills for diverse environments.

The Senior High Workshop is for rising ninth- through 12th-graders and is sponsored by the Gaithersburg-based Maryland Leadership Workshops, a nonprofit educational organization founded in 1956 to give leadership training and education to Maryland high school and middle school students.

He is also attending the Military Child Education Coalition's 14th National Training Seminar in June in Grapevine, Texas. The conference is held in conjunction with the coalition's national Student 2 Student program, which trains civilian and military-connected high school students to establish peer-based programs for transient students in their schools.

"In December, I received training to start the Student 2 Student program here at school," said Lefavor, who said he does not have a military background. "Because of the progress our program has made, we've been selected as one of the top four programs in the country. We are going to present our program at this conference so other schools can model their programs after our program or get some ideas."

Klimes said that when the school initially considered students to implement Student 2 Student, Lefavor was among the first who came to mind.

"Two weeks ago, we were speaking with U.S. senators in D.C. ... about the program," said Klimes.

Earlier this year, Lefavor served as Old Mill's representative on the Superintendent's Teen Advisory Council.

"I think our big accomplishment this year was that we successfully got honey mustard back in all the school cafeterias," said Lefavor. "That was a very big issue that a lot of students felt very strongly about. Our group even started a petition which over 800 students signed."

Upon appointment, Lefavor would become the 39th student board member. Anne Arundel school officials say that the county school board is the only one in the nation that grants the student member full voting rights.

joseph.burris@baltsun.com

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