North County student wins school board post

March 18, 1994|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Sun Staff Writer

Terry Gilleland, a junior at North County High School, edged past two opponents yesterday to win election to a yearlong term as student member of the Anne Arundel County school board.

Terry, 16, beat Severna Park High School junior Jennifer Robey 132-129, with 15 abstentions.

Bridget Carmichael, a junior at Arundel High School, was eliminated in a first-round ballot that did not produce a candidate with a simple majority of votes. The vote tally from that round was not made public.

Student delegates from the county's secondary schools voted yesterday at North County High School during the general assembly of the Chesapeake Regional Association of Student Councils.

As a member of the school board, Terry, who lives in Glen Burnie, will have full voting privileges when he assumes office July 1 after confirmation by Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

Anne Arundel County is the only school district in the nation with a student member who has full voting privileges, said Stephen Barry, the school district's student affairs specialist.

Terry said his main concerns are the same as his opponents': violence, sexual harassment and drug abuse. Students should be taught starting in sixth grade that all three are criminal offenses that bring certain consequences, he said, adding that the two-day and three-day detentions meted out now "are not working."

"I'm a strong believer that students who are posing a threat to another person . . . do not belong there," he said.

He also said a student member can offer a helpful perspective at budget time by letting other board members know what materials students need.

"Too many students are using older textbooks," he said. "When they read their textbooks, they're learning about the Soviet Union. That needs to change."

The student member is in a good position to support funding for extracurricular activities, he said. Another goal is to use a town meeting format to reach out to parents, he said.

After two months working the phones and campaigning around the county, Terry said he will celebrate his victory by "sleeping."

"I don't think it's going to hit me until tomorrow morning when I wake up and think, 'What have I done?' " he said.

Terry, an Eagle Scout, was president of his freshman, sophomore and junior classes. He has a grade point average of 3.8.

He co-founded the Political Awareness Youth Group of Anne Arundel County, campaigned for Republican George Bush for president in 1988 and 1992 and is supporting the gubernatorial bid of Republican Rep. Helen Delich Bentley of the 2nd District.

He does not limit his support to Republicans. He is backing H. Erle Schafer, a Democrat, for county executive.

Terry said he plans to attend college and law school with an eye toward politics.

He has not selected a school but said, "I believe in shooting high. I believe in trying for the Ivy League. . . . I enjoy challenges."

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