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News

January 7, 2016

 

For the second straight year, Newton County School System students have a voice in public education through State School Superintendent Richard Woods’ Student Advisory Council. Over 1,500 middle and high school students in Georgia applied to serve on the superintendent’s prestigious council and Eastside High School sophomore Sahra Draper was one of only 110 to make the final cut.

Draper applied because she thought it would be a fun experience. She was also intrigued by the opportunity to have a voice in what happens in Georgia’s public schools.

“Students don’t really have much say in what schools do and the schools are for the students,” said Draper. “If I can be of some help for students to have a voice, that’s important to me.”

She noted that all applicants for the State School Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council were required to provide suggestions on how public education and their own educational experience could be improved. Her suggestions included remembering that not all learners are visual learners—some learn through music and other means. She also stressed that “standardized testing should be less dramatized.”

“It was refreshing and valuable to hear feedback from these students, as well as their ideas for education in Georgia,” said Superintendent Woods. “This is a great group of students with smart, varied ideas for the future of our educational system.”

Draper and her fellow Advisory Council members have and will continue to meet with State Superintendent Woods throughout the school year, both in person and in virtual meetings to discuss hard-hitting subjects such as the school dropout rate, student leadership, testing, school climate, and more.

Although she was selected to serve on such a prestigious, statewide committee, Draper said she doesn’t see herself using that opportunity as a springboard to make the foray into student government at Eastside. She keeps busy enough focusing on her academics, with both Advanced Placement and Quest (Gifted) courses on her schedule. She’s also on the swim team, serves on the marching band and sings in the school chorus, too.

Even with two more years of high school still ahead of her, Draper has already mapped out her future plans, which include college and ultimately pursuing a career as a forensic scientist.

“Sahra is an extremely intelligent and articulate young lady,” said Jeff Cher, principal of Eastside High School. “I am proud that she is representing Eastside High School and Newton County in this forum.”

“I commend Sahra for taking the initiative to apply for the State Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council,” said NCSS Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey. “I think it’s extremely important for students to be given the opportunity to voice their opinions and provide feedback on public education and how it can be improved or enhanced. That is exactly why I have a similar program in our school system. I know Sahra will find serving on Superintendent Wood’s Student Advisory Council a rewarding experience and I’m sure she will represent our school system well.”

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