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Board's new student rep wants a vote

July 19, 2009|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Chelsey Baturin said her dedication to education makes her committed to fixing the problems that could hinder her education and that of the more than 21,000 other students enrolled in Washington County Public Schools.

Chelsey, a 17-year-old senior at Williamsport High School, said she hopes to help fix some of those problems as the newly elected student representative on the Washington County Board of Education.

Chelsey will serve a one-year term, and replaces Scoti Dodson, a Boonsboro High School graduate.

Chelsey was elected to the position by other members of the Washington County Association of Student Councils. She also is president of the student council at her school.

Student representatives don't get a vote during school board business meetings, but are asked to offer their opinion while members vote.

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However, as with past student representatives, Chelsey said one of her goals is to change that rule.

She will advocate for partial voting rights for student members, meaning that students would vote on some items, but not others. Chelsey said the proposal is not finalized, but she believes students would vote on items that matter to students, but steer clear of offering an official position on personnel matters.

One other item that Chelsey says she will work to fix is cheating and other ethical violations she says are common among Washington County students.

"I think it goes on all the time, and I don't think a lot of board members realize that," Chelsey said.

Chelsey said students copy other students' homework and class assignments, and said she would like to see more "respect for academic integrity" in the county's schools.

In addition to her new role on the county's school board, Chelsey also played varsity soccer at Williamsport High, and is a member of the National Honor Society.

She also has been chosen for a national leadership program, and recently participated in the Congressional Academy for American History and Civics in Washington, D.C., where she participated in a rigorous educational program to earn three college credits.

Chelsey said she hopes to enroll at Wellesley College in Massachusetts and study political science and international affairs.

Chelsey said she is considering working in Africa, and perhaps teaching, but has not decided.

"I just want to help out directly, not stuck in a cubicle," she said.

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