In her first run for office, Allison Cole set her sights realistically: She wanted to be the student representative on the Anne Arundel County school board.
Instead, she quickly found herself in the race to be the voice for all Maryland students on the State Board of Education.
Yesterday, she became the first student from her county to achieve that distinction.
"I'm excited. I can't wait to get to work," the 16-year-old junior from Severna Park High School said.
Jane Doyle, a county school board spokeswoman, said an Anne Arundel student was a finalist for the nonvoting state post three years ago, "but we've never had a representative from this county make the final cut. She's quite an accomplished student."
The appointment must still be confirmed formally by the state Senate.
Allison, who ran for the position because someone simply asked, "Have you thought about the State Board of Education?" already knows the issues she wants to bring before the state school board.
"Multi-cultural education is important. in Anne Arundel County, it hasn't been too widely spread," she said. "I think it's an important issue because it can be a solution to a lot of [social] problems."
She also believes the state school board must show leadership in preventing violence in schools.
"Most students in Anne Arundel County don't see as much violence as students in other counties, but we're still very concerned about it," she said.
"Something definitely needs to be done about teen pregnancy, too," she added.
Allison said she hopes to give something back to the school system that she says has helped her immensely.
"I've learned leadership and communication skills . . . This is an important position, because it's one student representing all the students in Maryland."