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School board student rep ends tenure with accomplishments

July 14, 2013|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com
  • Amanda Krehbiel, the immediate past student representative to the Washington County Board of Education, participates in a board meeting at the school system's central office complex on Commonwealth Avenue in Hagerstown.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Amanda Krehbiel’s year as student representative for the Washington County Board of Education has made a lasting impact on the school system’s students.

Krehbiel, 17, successfully led an effort to modernize the school system’s student dress code, which was last updated 10 years ago.

In doing so, she has not only gotten yoga pants worked into the dress code and made it easier for students to understand the appropriate length of shorts or skirts, but earned kudos from school board members.

Now a graduate of North Hagerstown High School, Krehbiel said she thought her year with the school board went well.

“I had a lot of fun doing it and I learned a lot, and I feel like I accomplished a lot,” said Krehbiel, who lives north of Hagerstown.

Krehbiel started off her year thinking she would tackle the dress code and pursue getting at least partial voting rights for the student representative.

But after talking to board members, teachers and advisers, she said, she decided to “prove to the board that we can do more than just fight for voting rights.”

Board member Wayne Ridenour, who was board president when Krehbiel started her year as student rep, said he thought she did a wonderful job.

“She was always prepared,” Ridenour said.

Ridenour said he mentioned to several student representatives in recent years that they should take a look at the student dress code, but usually they focused on voting rights for the representative.

“If you want to promote student voting rights, you’ve got to show you can get something done,” Ridenour said.

That’s what Krehbiel did with the dress code — getting other students involved and keeping the school board updated, he said.

“When she speaks, it was well worth listening to,” Ridenour said.
Krehbiel didn’t stop with the dress code.

As she wrapped up her term on the board, the school system’s student government representatives were considering an idea she proposed to elect the student representative a year earlier so that person can spend his or her junior year as an intern, learning how the school board works before being on the board, she said.

“I didn’t feel completely comfortable, like I really knew what was going on as a student member, until January, which is halfway through my term,” Krehbiel said.

The Washington County Association of Student Councils liked the idea, and its executive committee helped her refine her proposal, Krehbiel said.

She said she’s hopeful the student government will change the student constitution next year so the student representative can be elected earlier and get familiar with the job before actually sitting on the board.

Krehbiel said she didn’t get to visit as many schools as she would have liked this past school year, but she did talk to student representatives from other schools.

“(What) impresses me is the sense of community that Washington County schools have,” she said.

Despite rivalries, such as North High vs. South High, whenever a school’s athletic team went to state championships, “everyone is right there rallying behind them” as they compete against teams from other counties, she said.

Krehbiel will start Gettysburg (Pa.) College later this summer with plans to study history, economics and probably a foreign language, she said.

Krehbiel said it was “fantastic” working with school board members, whom she described as “really nice people,” “intelligent” and “more than willing to help me.”

At her final meeting in June, Board President Justin Hartings thanked Krehbiel on behalf of the community for her service.

“The position of the student representative really is what you make of it, and you’ve made quite a bit out of it, and you’ve really set an example for what a student in just one year is able to do and really have an impact on the school system for years to come,” Hartings said.

“I hope you’re proud of what you’ve done,” he said.

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