The LAPS School Board’s student liaisons include (top row, left to right): Willow Chartrand, Lizeth Garcia and Samatha Kranthijanya; (middle row, left to right): Alea Kretz, Quintin Madsen, Emily McLaughlin; and (bottom row, left to right): Fayrouz Mourad, Max Posada and Arianne Terrones. Photo Courtesy LAPS
LAPS NEWS RELEASE
The Los Alamos School Board recently appointed four new student liaisons for the 2022-2023 school year. Juniors Willow Chartrand, Emily McLaughlin, Max Posada and Arianne Terrones joined seniors Lizeth Garcia, Quintin Madsen and Fayrouz Mourad to serve as liaisons. This is the seventh year that there have been student liaisons and the first time the board has had seven Los Alamos High School students as student liaisons at one time.
In addition, the School Board appointed two representatives from Los Alamos Middle School: eighth graders Samatha Kranthijanya and Alea Kretz. School Board Vice President Christine Bernstein and member Ellen Specter had suggested that the School Board add representatives from the middle school, saying that “middle school students need a voice on the board.”
“The student liaisons play a vital role in communicating the concerns, needs, and opinions of the students,” said School Board President Melanie Colgan. “The School Board uses this information to make decisions about policies that ultimately affect the students.”
School board student liaisons serve in an advisory capacity on the board. They are expected to attend a monthly school board meeting where they have an opportunity to express student views on the agenda topics. In addition, student liaisons and school board members meet for lunch once a month to review agenda topics and discuss timely issues relevant to the schools.
“As a student liaison, I ask my friend groups what are the problems they have faced in high school so far,” said Emily. “I then take these problems and present them at the liaison luncheons so that I can get the best advice from some board members on how to handle and resolve that problem.”
At the start of the new school year, interested Los Alamos High School juniors are encouraged to apply to become a student liaison. The Student Liaison Selection Committee reviews the applications, and selects a diverse group of students who participate in different activities and classes to join the seniors who were liaisons last year. This year, middle school students followed the same process.
“I first applied to be a liaison because the position simply sounded like an interesting opportunity to me,” explained Arianne. “I was not familiar with much about the school board and I believed there was quite a lot I would be able to learn from the experience. As I got further into the application process, I became more passionate about the possible position seeing as by applying for this position and receiving it, I would have a voice. From what I see, there are very few students at this school who get their voice heard and I wanted to change that. I believe everyone has value and a story to tell, and I want those voices to be heard.”
Arianne continued, “I see my role as a student liaison to listen to the student voice and report it back to the board so that changes the students need can be made. As liaisons we are messengers and representatives for the student body and the board.”
“For me, what has been most interesting so far, has been attending the school board meetings,” she said. “Not only do I understand more about the district and all the decisions that go into making the schools run, but I can voice my opinions and ask questions. This position has given me the opportunity to learn and to speak.”
Emily added, “Being able to see a lot of the little things that need to be done to run the school district has been really interesting to observe, as well as providing my own opinions on topics that I might have not previously known to exist. Our Online Learning Academy is one example, which I didn’t even know was an opportunity, but believe that it can have a lasting benefit on the community.”
The idea for student involvement on the school board began in the fall of 2015. Since the board makes many policy decisions that directly affect students, having student representation on the board in a liaison role enables the board to gain input from students and find out their thoughts on issues that relate directly to them. In accordance with state statutes, the students may not be members of the board and have voting rights.