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Greencastle-Antrim school board to welcome student reps

September 05, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- In a little more than a month, the average age of a person seated behind a microphone at Greencastle-Antrim School District board meetings will drop dramatically.

As early as the Oct. 16 board meeting, Greencastle-Antrim will welcome a high school junior and a high school senior as student representatives to the board of directors.

The school district voted 7-0 to approve the initiative at its board meeting Thursday night.

"In previous years, school board members have humored the idea and talked about it," said high school assistant principal Christine Reiber, who is directing the search for the two student representatives. "We researched the Pennsylvania School Board Association and looked at surrounding school districts. We looked at all examples to see what worked best for us."

Reiber and administrators formed guidelines for potential student representatives -- both academic and disciplinary. Any junior or senior may apply, but they must have a grade-point average of at least 2.0 and cannot have any suspensions within a nine-month period.

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The initial proposal called for a 3.0 GPA before board member Kristy Faulkner raised the question, "Why hold these students to a higher standard?"

Board members held a discussion and decided to lower the figure to remain consistent with guidelines for other students pursuing extracurricular activities.

"I look at our eligibility," board president Daniel Fisher joked. "Nobody checked my GPA before I got on this board."

The official decision came Thursday, but Reiber began working on the program about three weeks ago. She said that at least seven students already have shown interest in becoming the representatives.

To be in the running, students must submit a letter of intent and turn in a petition with 33 signatures -- 30 students, two teachers and one administrator.

"The teacher signatures assure that the student is responsible enough," Reiber said. "The administrator will make sure the student meets the requirements -- the 2.0 GPA, that they're a junior or senior and haven't been suspended."

There is no limit to the number of candidates. Once all student applications have been accepted, the candidates will be posted throughout the school halls. An election will follow in which all grades may vote to determine the representatives.

Since the program is in its first year, the senior who is chosen will serve only one year -- the 2008-09 school year -- while the junior will serve two years. As the program continues, a new incoming junior will be selected to serve out his or her final two years, while the senior continues his or her term.

The selection process begins today for the current school year. Once the program is under way, elections are expected to be held in May or June, and the representatives will begin serving in July.

"We can officially get started (today) and the few students that I've talked to are excited about the opportunity," Reiber said.

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