Student member of school board favors teamwork

Leadership: The South Carroll High senior is described as `very articulate' by a board member.

Education Beat

News from Carroll County schools and colleges

September 04, 2005|By Jill Stone | Jill Stone,SUN STAFF

Asked which reality television show he would choose to be on, Brendan J. Schlauch answered: Survivor.

He named that show because "you can't win unless you work together," he said during a five-minute speech in front of about 300 people on why he would be the best student representative on the Carroll County Board of Education.

Schlauch, 17, a senior at South Carroll High School, got the job. He attended his first board meeting in June.

"He's a very intelligent young man," said Charles I. Ecker, superintendent of schools. "He's able to express himself, and he's able to represent his class very well."

At a recent meeting, board member Cynthia L. Foley also was impressed with Schlauch, of Taylorsville. "He's very articulate when he talks," she said. "I'm looking forward to hearing his input."

During his second year of competing for the student representative position, Schlauch knew what to expect when the questions began in March 2004 during the competition at Francis Scott Key High School.

He directed his speech to his vision for the Carroll County Student Government Association, the students and his contributions to the board of education.

When he was the last of three candidates to be called into the meeting room, Schlauch knew he had gotten the position.

"I was really excited," he said. "It was something I worked toward and accomplished."

He is the 32nd student representative on the board, following Andy McEvoy. After he was chosen, Schlauch shadowed McEvoy, observing his actions at the board meetings.

"He is very well spoken and seems to work well with adults," McEvoy, 18, said. "He's very cognizant of what the other students want, regardless of what he thinks."

Allowed only an opinion vote on the board, Schlauch plans to form his votes through conversations with teachers, students, and parents.

"I want to try to go to every back-to-school night, where the parents and kids get together" in the high schools, he said.

"A lot of kids don't know we exist, and they don't know how to contact us," he said. "I want them to know that this is how you can contact us, and these are the things we will do."

Schaluch said experience would be the key to offering opinions at the board meeting. He said he is the one sitting in the classrooms and is the only one on the board with a "unique perspective on policies."

He said he was a bit nervous at the first board meeting, on June 15, as he looked out at community residents.

To help him get through first-day jitters, McEvoy offered Schlauch some advice.

"He needs to make sure he stays on top of all the topics and to separate himself from his own opinions," McEvoy said. "It's important to devote yourself to bringing the students' opinions to the board and making sure the students' interests are always at hand."

Schlauch plans to do just that.

Along with seeking opinions from peers, parents, and teachers, he wants to hold meetings with the next student representative to "see how he or she would respond to the same things I responded to."

The position is unpaid, and Schlauch said he "wouldn't be doing this if I didn't enjoy it."

What motivated him to pick up the registration form and attend the monthly meetings is the "experience, which is invaluable, and also the half credit I receive for school."

As with a role on the Survivor television show, Schlauch said, teamwork and perseverance are necessary to achieve a common goal.

Along with the Carroll County Student Government Association, Schlauch volunteers at local community events with the National Honor Society, competes on the South Carroll It's Academic Team, works with his high school on the School Improvement Team and performs experiments in the Science Club.

Schlauch also strategizes on computer games and reads.This year, he will also take several honors and advanced placement classes. After college, he hopes to run for public office.

Schlauch's goal as the student representative this year is to help students and to find the best way to continue effective learning in public schools.

"I like doing the right thing," he said.

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