Student finishes first in race for school board

November 21, 1993|By Suzanne Loudermilk | Suzanne Loudermilk,Staff Writer

Erin Fitzgerald knows about going the distance. She's the No. 1 woman cross-country runner at Harford Technical High School and, in another contest, recently beat out six students to be named to the 1994-1995 Harford County school board.

Not bad for an 11th-grader, who's at ease whether she's helping people in Honduras with her church group, playing oboe and English horn in the school band, working part-time in a jewelry store or amiably offering a reporter some Reese's peanut butter cups.

As president of Harford Technical's student government association, she is a member of the Harford County Regional Association of Student Councils (HCRASC), which chooses a student each year to serve on the school board.

The nominees are selected by their schools.

Erin, who is studying engineering and drafting, was selected for her leadership ability, said Stanley J. DeCusatis, student government adviser at Harford Technical.

"It has been one of Erin's goals since she came to the school," he said. "She had her mind set on it."

Candidates were required to address the HCRASC and answer questions such as how they will let Harford students know about school board activities.

Erin's answer: "I plan to give updates on each meeting with written reports on what was discussed and the outcome."

BTC The vote was in her favor, and now she'll have to live up to her promise -- but not until July 1994, when her term begins.

"The student is picked in November, so they will have plenty of time to learn about the school board," said Donald R. Morrison, school spokesman.

In addition to relaying student concerns and opinions to the board, the student member has a "preferential vote" on issues; that is, he or she can vote, but it doesn't officially count.

"But we pay attention to what she says," school board president Percy V. Williams said.

"If this person [the new representative] is like the others, they will add tremendously to most of the decisions we make," Dr. Williams said. "They bring flavor and help us think [like] teen-agers."

The current student school board member is Helen Z. Thompson, a senior at Joppatowne High School.

Erin, who lives in Joppa, is already planning on how she's going to fit this added duty into her busy schedule of school, work and play.

"One of the questions I was asked [at the HCRASC meeting] was what my priorities would be," said the petite 16-year-old. "I plan to drop SGA and rearrange my work schedule, but I can't give up my friends and running and the things I really enjoy because then it wouldn't be fun."

According to her mother, Rebecca, Erin will make it work. "She has her ways of relieving stress," she said, adding with a laugh, "There's chocolate."

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