Centennial High School junior Josh Michael has been appointed by the governor's office to serve as the 2005-2006 student member on the Maryland State Board of Education.
"I was really excited," said Michael, 17, recalling the message left on his cell phone from Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s appointments office Friday. "It's a great opportunity for me to really make a difference for Maryland students."
Michael and Gabrielle Wyatt of Carver Center for Arts and Technology in Baltimore County were finalists for the position. Michael is the fifth Howard County student and first from his Ellicott City school to serve on the state board.
"I want to provide valuable input for the state Board of Education and to get other students involved in the educational process," said Michael, who is the president of the Student Government Association and Young Republicans Club at Centennial.
Michael's one-year term starts June 1. He said he will attend two-day board meetings once a month in Baltimore, give speeches throughout the state and go to meetings of the Maryland Association of Student Councils. The student member can vote on all issues except the budget, legal appeals and personnel issues.
Michael became interested in the position in November, when he realized that injuries to his back and knees would prevent him from continuing in athletics.
The field was cut to 12, then an interview process narrowed the candidates for the school board position to five. This month, the five semifinalists gave speeches and answered questions at the annual Association of Student Councils' legislative session at South River High School in Anne Arundel County. A vote by the student government leaders sent the names of Michael and Wyatt to the governor's office for the final selection.
"I really want to thank my campaign team and the people who have supported me though the process," Michael said.
Michael, whose father, Warren, teaches computer science at Centennial, said he wants to pursue education in college, possibly at St. Mary's College in Southern Maryland.
"Maybe as my career develops, I will go into administration," Michael said.