Colchester High School senior Robbie Davis believes there’s a clear choice students can make: Either coast through high school or fully immerse oneself in what the district has to offer.
Saying he’s known for choosing the latter, Davis is adding another position to his résumé as the Colchester School Board’s newest student representative. Davis tacks this on to his past and present involvement in football, hockey, lacrosse, golf, mathletes, student government and more.
Davis said his new position would better connect him with the board and the school itself.
“I’m a very active person in this school,” he said. “I can really give my input on things all around.”
At his first board meeting last week, he said trustees welcomed him, inviting him into the conversation and encouraging him to ask questions.
Heading into the meeting, though, Davis wasn’t positive what his participation would look like.
On the agenda that night was a presentation on concussion law and district procedures — a good “ice-breaker” for him, he said. After enduring two concussions last year, Davis used personal experiences to engage in board discussion, reassuring him of the active role he’ll embody for the remainder of the year.
Superintendent Amy Minor, also Davis’ former principal, expressed confidence in the new rep.
“He’s always been very comfortable using his voice and interacting with adults,” she said. “I don’t think he’s going to hesitate to be that voice for all students in the district.”
Davis said he’s most looking forward to working closely with Minor and principal Heather Baron. Plus, he wants to be involved to ensure the Class of 2018 makes senior year count.
In his role as one of four senior class officers in student government, Davis helps organize pep rallies and set up elections for the younger class representatives, among other duties.
Having never been to a school board meeting prior to August 15, Davis said the formality surprised him but showed him how the student body’s own government could follow suit.
Toward the end of last school year, Davis said he and others received an email from the administration surveying interest in the school board position. After talking with last year’s student rep Jaclyn Cline about her experience, Davis decided it was a good fit for him.
Baron and a committee of high school employees named Davis the 16th student school board rep.
In an interview with the Sun back in June, Cline recapped her yearlong experience with some advice for her successor: Speak at every meeting. So far, Davis is following suit.
While the role will be a bonus for Davis’ college applications for pharmacy school, it’s a broader experience than that, he explained. The position will help him develop relationships with teachers and encourage his peers to network, since these connections inspired him to join school activities.
Communicating appreciation for teachers is part of this feat, he said. As a rep, Davis has three main responsibilities beyond participating in bi-weekly meetings, Minor explained. One of which is coordinating a district-wide thank you to employees during Teacher Appreciation Week.
At his first board meeting, Davis said trustees appreciated him sharing his opinions from the student perspective. Minor reiterated this, saying Davis must speak for all students and accurately represent the needs of each grade.
When an agenda item about a possible new solar project for the district arose, Davis actively took part. He also said he’s confident speaking about funding school activities come budget season. Then, he’ll be responsible for showing voters how spending impacts student learning.
Last year, Cline produced a video featuring student perspectives on the budget. Once this year’s budget talks begin, Minor said she and Davis will collectively decide what avenue he’ll take.
Davis’ third responsibility is serving a district-wide committee. Whether it’s a group dedicated to policy or a new capital improvement project for the elementary schools is yet to be determined, she said.
“I really like how I’m able to ask questions,” Davis said. “And I know that there’s a line between what I should ask, and what I shouldn’t ask.
“I feel comfortable in the position I sit in,” he added.