Having a father in the United States Air Force has forced Cole Rosenberg to adjust to new surroundings. Moving eight times can do that.
"I've gotten good at making friends from the activities I'm involved in," said Rosenberg, a junior at Hammond High School in Columbia. "I remember the names and faces and build relationships from there."
Rosenberg wasted little time building relationships since moving into Howard County last summer. He became active in student government functions and in sports, and decided to run for the 2012-2013 position of student member on the Board of Education.
Being the "new kid" did not hinder Rosenberg's campaign. By attending events sponsored by the Howard County Association of Student Councils, setting up a Facebook page and putting up posters throughout schools in the county, Rosenberg gained the attention of his constituents.
Last month, students in grades 6 through 11 watched a campaign video from Rosenberg and his opponent, Jake Kotler of Atholton High School, then voted in their homerooms. A majority of 51% of the votes is needed to win, and Rosenberg achieved that.
As the newly elected student member, Rosenberg, 16, wants to make sure every student will be able to approach him to share their opinions or concerns.
"As a public servant, I am always here with an open ear and mind," he said. "I want to get out to all the schools make sure every student knows they have a voice."
The student member serves on the Board of Education from July 1 to June 30 and has all the powers of the other board members, except the ability to vote on budget or personnel issues and land acquisitions.
Seven students applied for the student member position. A five-member panel narrowed the applications to Rosenberg and Kotler.
"We were looking for someone who understands the role of the student member of the board," said Ronnie Bohn, the advisor of the Howard County Association of Student Councils. "Someone who has knowledge of issues, leadership experience, and [who] can apply skills and past experiences to the position."
Bohn believes Rosenberg, who participates in track and cross country and takes advanced placement classes, will make an effective student member.
"He is well-rounded in his interests and therefore will have the opportunity to connect with a lot of students," said Bohn. "He has impressed us."
While Rosenberg prepares for his upcoming responsibilities, his predecessor, River Hill High School senior Tomi Williams, is finishing up his term.
"It's been a great experience," said Williams, 17. "It was a lot of work, but I've learned so much and have gotten the opportunity to meet and work with so many great people that it has made it all worth it."
Williams said the "most challenging part about the job is making a decision. When it comes to education, the answer is never clear-cut, but you want to do what is right for every student."
Williams will be attending Amherst College, in Massachusetts, in the fall. He believes Rosenberg cares about the students he will be representing.
"[Rosenberg] wants to do what is right by [the students] and I think if he keeps that mentality he will be extremely successful," he said.