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Senior representative to Greencastle-Antrim school board dreams of political career

October 24, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. Looking at a map, the trek from Greencastle to Capitol Hill might seem easy.

But the road that Greencastle-Antrim High School senior T.J. Bard hopes to one day take is a bit longer.

Bard got a head start on his journey earlier this month when he attended his first Greencastle-Antrim school board meeting in the newly-created capacity of student representative to the board of directors.

Bard, 17, is the senior representative while Ashley Frankenfield represents the junior class.

"I wanted to be involved in politics, so it was a foot in the door," Bard said. "I want to have a career, but I'd want to start off locally because I really want to make a difference in the community. One day, I would love to be a representative or in the Senate, but I know it takes a lot of hard work to get to that point."

Bard was selected as a student rep after submitting a résumé and letter of intent to high school administrators. The idea was spearheaded by assistant principal Christine Reiber, who helped shuffle through the documents to find the best candidates.

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Bard said his résumé included a list of his extracurricular activities, clubs and leadership roles. His letter might have won him the opportunity.

"In the letter, I just listed my goals and that I wanted to represent the student body," Bard said. "Anyone that came to me with any issues, I would be more than willing to take them in front of the board for discussion."

Bard and Frankenfield attended the Oct. 2 meeting and were greeted kindly by school district officials. Bard said the students were treated like any other board member, complete with their own nameplates, microphones and laptop computers.

It finally sunk in when Bard heard his name during roll call.

"It was very intimidating at first because we were sitting down with some of the most important people in the community," Bard said. "But they involved us right off the bat. The school board really focused on getting us settled into the whole thing. I was a lot more comfortable after that."

It wasn't much longer that Bard realized the detail involved in a school board meeting.

"They handle a lot more things than I knew they handled, like they talked for a long time about bus stops," he said. "It's the kind of stuff I just assumed they took care of, but never really thought about it."

Those types of discussions will seem quite ordinary as Bard serves out his term, which will lead up until his graduation in the spring.

Until then, Bard gets to witness some of the most interesting times in politics - locally and nationally.

"I definitely follow the drama that goes on with (Antrim) Township and everything. I like to read about it," Bard said. "Then there's going to be a new president on Capitol Hill. It's exciting and it's going to be a time for change."

He is uncertain, though, of the kind of change.

"Both candidates (John McCain and Barack Obama) have a lot of good qualities, but they both have a lot of things that I don't agree with," Bard said. "There have been other times when who I would vote for is pretty cut and dry. This year, I just don't know."

He isn't the only one.

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