Graduation this week brought with it not just the end of Devanshi Mistry’s high school career at Liberty High School, but also an end to her term as student representative on the Carroll County Board of Education.
The student representative is a nonvoting position, giving the board a student’s voice on drafting policies that affect the 25,054 students in the school system.
Emilie Tedeschi, a rising senior at Century High School, will serve as the student representative for the 2022-2023 school year and will be introduced during the June 8 meeting, school board President Ken Kiler said.
She has a resume full of student government and extracurricular accomplishments, including being a member of the Carroll County Student Government Association, Century High School Student Government Association, and Community Advisory Council of the Carroll County Board of Education. She is also involved with the Local Advisory Council of the Career and Technology Center, where she offers recommendations for improving the program.
Tedeschi says she plans to focus on listening to students’ voices during her term.
“The students’ voice is so imperative, and I know how quickly it can get diluted with the SROB’S lack of voting rights,” Tedeschi said. “I’m not somebody who likes to just sit back and listen in that sense, I like to go do and I know that as students we can make the changes. … We just need to push for them.”
The county’s Student Government Association holds an election each February to choose a student who will fill the role one year later, to allow for a shadowing period. Tedeschi was elected in February 2021 by student government representatives from middle and high schools. She ran unopposed for the seat, according to Ryan Melhorn, a Carroll County Public Schools employee who supervises the elections.
Tedeschi will be the 47th student member of the board. She will receive a $3,500 scholarship for the college of her choice, according to Carey Gaddis, communications officer with the school system.
“I will never be able to express how excited and honored I am to take on this position,” Tedeschi said. “My student government experience has long built up for this.”
Sahithya Sudhakar, a rising junior at Liberty High School, was selected this year as the student representative-elect. She will shadow Tedeschi next school year before serving for the 2023-2024 school year. The representative-elect does not receive any compensation, according to Gaddis.
“I look forward to seeing how the meetings work and how things go. I have been watching the Board of Education meetings for a long time now,” Sudhakar said. “It’s going to be a lot to handle, but my focus will be on attending the meetings and keeping up with Emilie.”
Melhorn said the representative-elect position allows a student to understand “the inner-workings of the board’s policies” before becoming a member.
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“We found that when the SROB-elect spends time shadowing before taking on the seat that they are more effective as a student representative on the board,” he said, adding that ninth or 10th graders can apply for the role.
Sudhakar is involved with several organizations and clubs at Liberty High, including student government, Debate Club and the Multicultural Club. She is also a member of Liberty High’s Mock Trial Team.
Sudhakar said fellow Liberty High student Mistry inspired her to pursue the position.
“Devanshi has made such an incredible impact on the students of Carroll County. I definitely looked up to her a lot, she was a very amazing student representative,” Sudhakar said. “I would like to do the same, in fact, I would like to go even further than she has, although that is such a big shoe to fill. ... I really want to... make sure students recognize that their voice is within the student representative.”
Mistry said she is excited for Tedeschi and Sudhakar to represent Carroll County students on the board over the next two years.
“I’ve worked very closely with Emilie over the past year when she shadowed me and we have a very nice mentor relationship and it’s been really nice to see her grow,” Mistry said.