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Busy student rep has many pursuits

Keli Dofflemyer will add Board of Education representative to her growing list of activities.

Keli Dofflemyer will add Board of Education representative to her growing list of activities.

May 10, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Keli Dofflemyer, who will serve as the next student representative on the Washington County Board of Education, is not a typical student.

If anything, Keli, 16, secretary of the South Hagerstown High School Student Government Association for this school year and last, is involved in too many activities, she said.

The tasks are helping her learn to manage time, Keli, a junior, said Thursday.

Her school board term starts July 1.

Keli plays on the varsity softball and volleyball teams, and plays on nonschool teams, she said. She also participates in a mentoring program.

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She is a volunteer for the Halfway and Clear Spring rescue companies. She worked last summer as an intern for Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, and she coordinates the school's annual Prom Promise program that tells students about the dangers of drunken driving, she said.

"She gets herself committed to three or four things at a time, time-consuming activities that require a lot of involvement," South High Principal Mike Shockey said Thursday.

Even if something doesn't go as planned, she handles it well, he said.

"She can evaluate in hindsight. She is not one to lament and be discouraged," Shockey said. "Her leadership skills are obvious."

Keli plans to run for student government president in the school's upcoming election. As long as she is focused, she can work as student government president and the student representative on the board, and the two jobs can complement each other, she said Sunday.

The work she is focusing on most now is being the student representative on the school board, she said.

"I am honored to be the student voice to speak for 20,000 people," she said.

At an April 28 meeting of the Washington County Association of Student Councils, Brian Williamson, 17, the current student representative on the Board of Education, nominated Keli to succeed him. The nomination was approved.

Brian, one of two finalists for student representative on the Maryland Board of Education, is waiting to learn if Gov. Robert Ehrlich chooses him for the position.

Keli said she has much respect for Brian and hopes the governor will select him.

"It would be awesome," she said.

She is impressed with how Brian has served as the student representative, she said.

"I think he has done an excellent job. I am going to have some big shoes to fill," she said.

At his first business meeting, in July 2003, Brian asked the school board to acknowledge his opinion on voted items even if it doesn't alter the board's vote. Since then, his vote hasn't affected the outcome of any issue, but his position is regularly noted.

When Keli takes office, she is going to ask the Board of Education to grant voting rights to the student representative, she said. She does not expect the board to approve the suggestion, but thinks it would be valuable for them to consider it.

"If they contemplate it, that's a step," she said.

One of Keli's priorities will be explaining to students the meaning and impact of the No Child Left Behind Act, she said.

In preparation for the job, Keli met schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan last week and thinks they can work well together.

"She is very laid-back in some ways. We are going to have a good time working together," Keli said.

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