WESTMINSTER — She's a straight-A student. She plays on the varsity soccer and tennis teams. And she's involved in a variety of other extracurricular activities.
By all accounts, Becky Duex is a model student -- one who impresses educators with her ability to do well academically while remaining involved in an abundance of activities, including her current one-year stint as student representative to the Board of Education.
But ask the Westminster High School senior what kind of career she wants to pursue and her answer will surprise you. She doesn't know.
Go figure. This is a student who maintains a 4.0 grade-point average. She has served as the treasurer of her class. She is a National Honor Society officer and she is a member of the Camping and Conservation, Latin and German clubs, among others.
Her plans for college and career, though, remain uncertain. Her immediate plans are to pursue a liberal arts education. She doesn't know where. A scholarship will decide that.
"I want to start out in liberal arts," the 17-year-old said. "I've thought about education a lot. My experience with the school board has made me think more about it."
She talks like a veteran board member, but her experience as the student representative amounts to just a mere five months. Even so, she has astonished board members and educators with her candor and her willingness to participate in discussions.
Take, for instance, a meeting last fall when the five-member board sat down to consider graduation requirements under consideration by the Maryland State Board of Education.
Becky came to the session prepared. She had perused the board's inch-thick packet of information and offered her opinions on a variety of state proposals, ranging from mandatory community service to increasing the number of credits needed for a diploma.
"I really think that Becky is an outstanding student representative to the board," said board President Cheryl A. McFalls. "I know that we've had good ones in the past, but Becky brings a real commitment and dedication to her position."
McFalls said Becky, the daughter of Steve and Kathy Duex ofWestminster, is "very active and involved," providing the board the necessary input from students.
And, "She is not timid about voting," McFalls said. "She makes herself aware of the issues. She's knowledgeable and willing to give some feedback to the board."
Becky hasfound the role to be a "wonderful experience."
"I've learned so much this year, and it's not even over yet," she said. "I enjoy being the voice for students. I enjoy attending board meetings."
Her activism began her freshman year when she joined the Carroll County Student Government Association. She has served as treasurer and as president in that organization. Her interest in serving as the board's student representative was sparked last year when as CCSGA president, sheworked closely with her predecessor on the board.
"It just seemedlike the next logical step," she said. "It's a lot more responsibility than the CCSGA."
Becky said she reads the board's packet, whichincludes proclamations, lists of students and staff awards, reports and background on various issues before every meeting. She highlightsissues of concern to students to discuss with the board and to alerther peers.
"She is very willing to speak at the board meetings," said Peter B. McDowell, Carroll's director of secondary schools. "Shecertainly speaks in an intelligent and well-organized fashion on topics that are pertinent."
McDowell, who serves as a liaison betweenthe superintendent and the board and the various school governments,works regularly with Becky.
"She is atypically confident in dealing with adults for a senior in high school," McDowell said. "I respect her for her willingness to say what she feels from a student point of view, though it's not always what other people might want to hear."
When Becky is not involved with school activities or sports, shelikes roller-blading, reading, listening to music and spending her time outdoors.
Recently, she spent a week as a camp counselor for sixth-graders at the Hashawha Environmental Appreciation Center, a nature retreat outside Westminster.
"It's been fun," she said during an interview at the camp. "The kids are kind of a challenge. They've been rowdy. We've had a hard time keeping them quiet. They're starting to settle down . . . but it's almost the end of the week."
She spent the week chaperoning them on day and night hikes through the surrounding countryside and helping them with arts and crafts in the afternoon.
"This is something I've wanted to do since I was in sixth grade," she said. "I remember my camp counselor."
The counselor role fits her, just like her student government posts.
"It's not that I like elections or being political," she said. "I enjoy having theresponsibility. I like to think that I'm helping to make a difference in some way."