WVHS seniors serve as student voice to the Board of Ed


WVHS seniors serve as student voice to the Board of Ed

September 21, 2023

Clare Calandra and Dylan Burke will serve as the WVHS Student Representatives to the WVCSD Board of Education during the 2023-2024. Congratulations, Clare and Dylan!

The seniors were selected by the Guidance Office for their keen interest in civic responsibilities and leadership qualities. Not every district invites a student voice at its board proceedings. In fact, a 2021 study showed that only 14% of the nation’s 495 largest school districts have students serving on their governing boards. Warwick Valley schools have long held that student interaction with its board fosters a culture of free inquiry and expression, wherein students feel comfortable expressing themselves and carefully evaluating the opinions of others.

Clare and Dylan were sworn in by the WVCSD Board of Education clerk prior to the last board meeting, and will serve as as non-voting members. Their primary shared role will be to provide the board and community at large with student-level insights on topics including activities and events, programs and extracurriculars, and accomplishments and milestones. Additionally, perhaps most importantly, Clare and Dylan will be able to ask questions and present ideas, requests and needs from their peers.

“Every year, administration and our board members are so impressed by, and appreciative of, the attention and care with which our student representatives approach their roles with the board,” said Superintendent of Schools David Leach. “I’m proud of Clare and Dylan for taking on this great opportunity to play an active role in shaping our school community, and look forward to working with them this year.”

Between monthly board meetings, Clare and Dylan will compile lists of district highlights and concerns from a student perspective. To be sure they capture all the news there is to report, the pair will be attending Student Senate meetings (Dylan is also a Class of `24 Senator).

“We’ll go to the meetings so that we know what’s going on with all the grades,” said Clare. “We’ll also both ask our peers — we both know people in theater and sports, art club, and different groups. Then, we write down our bullet points and that’s what we’ll take to the meeting.”

Once they prepare their talking points with high school administrators, they’ll prep for their moment on the mic, something Clare admits she’s looking forward to solely for the experience.

“Yea, that’s actually out of my comfort zone,” she laughed. Clare explained how she even took the weekend to consider the board invitation, because she’s not too keen on public speaking.

“But, I decided to do it; it’s such a good opportunity! And obviously, in the future there will be moments when I’m not as comfortable as I’d want to be, so this will help me overcome that. It’s also encouraged me to reach out more to my peers, and to know what’s happening in their lives.”

Clare attended Greenwood Lake until her freshman year. Since, she has dedicated hours to leading student tours and open house sessions, and has been supportive in helping other Greenwood Lake transfers assimilate. She is active in both the arts and athletics, and is a member of the Mu Alpha Theta math honor society. Clare is always looking for ways to make a positive impact on her community, and has spent her time participating in events like community clean-ups, Veterans’ Day breakfast, and others. She is a perpetual high honor roll student while consistently challenging herself with AP courses.  

Dylan is another student always eager to help out, loves a community initiative, and is always looking to take on a leadership challenge. He has spearheaded blood drives and fundraisers, worked with Beautiful People, and is part of the Autism Awareness Club. Dylan is also a multi-sport Wildcat. About being chosen for this role, he said it felt really nice to be recognized with this honor for the hard work he and Clare have put into their high school careers. 

“And for the qualities that they saw in us that would make them want to nominate us,” added Dylan. “It felt special that they would choose us, and to be able to represent our class. It was an honor, and I think it will be cool to be able to speak on behalf of my peers.”

Clare and Dylan shared some of the things that are currently on the student radar for reporting and discussion in the coming months, including homecoming, the breast cancer awareness campaign in October, fall sports and playoffs, and the announcement of the fall and spring theater productions

Clare is planning on exploring career paths in computer science or statistics, and Dylan is looking at a potential future in business and finance. The two couldn’t agree more that the skills they will build in their new roles will benefit them later on.

“The ability to talk to people, that’s huge in the business world, to have communication skills is important anywhere,” said Dylan, “And to be able to collaborate in teams. So I think this is great, to have an introduction like this to how meetings run, being able to present on the spot.”

Thank you, Clare and Dylan, for your service to the board this year. We all look forward to the contributions you will make on behalf of your peers.   




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