Century senior is ready for role

For the next year, Maggie McEvoy will take her place as school board's student representative

June 18, 2006|By DAVID P. GREISMAN | DAVID P. GREISMAN,SUN REPORTER

At least four days a week, Maggie McEvoy saddles Sweet Georgia Brown and takes the 11-year-old thoroughbred into a fenced area in her backyard.

While some days are spent riding recreationally, the rest of the time McEvoy trains her horse for monthly riding and jumping competitions.

The training, which includes a weekly lesson at Aspiring Heights Farm in Westminster, is just one of many extracurricular commitments for McEvoy, a rising senior at Century High School in Sykesville.

For the next year, McEvoy also will spend about 10 hours a week serving on the Carroll County Board of Education. Riding on her shoulders will be the pressure of working as a liaison between the county's students and the board's five elected members.

"School can be as pleasant or as unpleasant as you want it to be," McEvoy said. "I choose to make it a pleasant experience by getting involved."

On Wednesday, McEvoy was seated as the student representative to the board, selected by the county Student Government Association for a nonvoting position from which she nonetheless hopes to be influential.

"Being student rep really gives me the opportunity to make changes, help the students and actually have an opportunity to make the student voice heard," said McEvoy, 17, of Woodbine. "Instead of just talking about issues and discussing the issues, [I want to] directly address ... and contribute to solving" them.

Among the concerns that McEvoy has are achieving voting rights for student representatives to the board, the condition of some schools and improving the technology at some locations.

"I expect to find something that I really want to push for," she said.

While a resolution to give partial voting rights to the board's student representative was voted down in April, McEvoy said she will work on the issue but is unsure when it will be presented again.

Although McEvoy's tenure as student representative just began, she is familiar with the responsibilities.

From 2004 to 2005, her older brother, Andy, served as student representative on the board. For the past year, she shadowed then-student representative Brendan Schlauch, attending board and committee meetings.

"I know that Maggie will do a great job just like [Andy] did," said Estelle Sanzenbacher, coordinator of youth development and service learning for Carroll schools. Sanzenbacher also advises the county student government and works with the board's student representatives.

"She's a very bright and articulate young lady," Sanzenbacher said. "She's ready to go."

Over the summer, McEvoy said, she intends to familiarize herself with the board members and their ideas. But when schools reopen in late August, she will have to balance her duties with the demands of classes.

"It is a time-consuming job, and I do have a very rigorous academic schedule and ... a lot of extracurriculars to keep up with," she said. "It will be tough, but I'll make it work."

McEvoy's level of activity is consistent with that of her predecessors, Sanzenbacher said.

The teenager belongs to the National Honor Society, plays tennis for her school team, is the vice president of the school's student government and serves on the executive board of the county's student government.

Aside from her extracurricular duties, McEvoy enjoys spending time with her friends and playing croquet, as well as shopping, traveling and reading, especially 19th-century literature.

"Right now I'm doing a lot of reading off of my AP-lit list," she said. "I don't mind that; they're a lot of the classics."

After she graduates, McEvoy hopes to attend college in the South and is considering a major in international relations.

"I just want to try and make a difference, have an effect and stand for what I think should be done," she said.

david.greisman@baltsun.com

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