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Student senate rep is district’s missing link

Rosin Saez - Photo by Paul Balcerak
Rosin Saez
— image credit: Photo by Paul Balcerak

By PAUL BALCERAK

Staff writer

For a first-timer at one of the Central Kitsap School District’s school board meetings, a couple questions may come to mind; namely, “Who is that kid and what is she doing sitting with the board members?”

That “kid” is Olympic High School senior Rosin Saez and she’s just the latest in a long succession of CKSD students who have served as the student representative to the board of directors.

The position isn’t exactly an oddity — other districts in the state have similar positions — but it is exclusive. While board members serve to represent various groupings of schools around the district, Saez is the only person whose duty it is to specifically represent the whole of the CKSD student body — about 12,000 students.

That may sound like a daunting task and it may be to some, but Saez takes it in stride.

“I think it’s always been in my personality to be in a leadership-type role,” Saez said.

The position was created more than 10 years ago — Feb. 9, 1994, on the nose, according to CKSD Director of Operations Dirk Gleysteen’s recollection.

The representative is twice elected, in a sense, because he or she emanates from the student senate, a group of representatives from each secondary school in the district.

The purpose of the post, as stated in both school board policy and the student senate constitution, is fairly simple: act as a go-between for the school board and the student senate.

The impetus for creating the position is a little less clear, but the easy answer is that at the time, the board wanted to put a face to the students it represented.

“Ultimately, because we are a school district, the board wanted to have a student voice,” CKSD spokesman David Beil said.

There are some limits to that voice. The student rep doesn’t have voting power on the board, nor does he or she sit in on executive sessions.

In fact, Saez is fairly quiet during most meetings, studiously taking note of whatever most directly affects her peers. Most of her duties pertain to updating the board on the senate’s two major responsibilities: planning the student leadership summit in the fall and CK Super Saturday in the spring.

But every now and then she’s abruptly pulled into the arena to weigh in on student issues.

Recently, a hot debate on commencement ceremonies prompted board member Christy Cathcart to ask Saez what students thought.

“I’m kind of good at on-the-spot types of things,” Saez said. “Saying what I wanted to say, I felt pretty good about it.”

It’s that kind of daring and confidence that past senates have tended to favor in their representatives.

“Each representative we have each year has a different set of abilities and strengths,” Student Senate Adviser David Guertin said. “You get your cream-of-the-crop students.”

Beyond her duties as student rep to the board, she holds down a part-time job, plays the flute in the school band and excels on the district lacrosse team. She’s also secretary of her school’s chapter of the national honor society, she finds time to take classes at Olympic College and she’s aiming to be a Trojan Scholar this year — a student who has a 3.8 GPA or higher.

“I make up hours,” Saez said of maintaining her busy schedule. “I have a 28-hour day.”

She’ll certainly leave big shoes to fill, but her hyper-achievements aren’t exactly prerequisites for serving in the position.

“She has a unique place on the board because of her ability and her experience level,” Guertin said.

Whoever takes the baton from her next year will at least have this advice to go off of, too:

• Know what’s going on in all the schools in the district. Saez spends time talking to members of various ASBs.

“I do like to know, personally, what the other students think, district-wide,” she said.

• Prepare to feel a little awkward for the first few school board meetings.

“It’s strange that ... you’re the youngest one in the room,” she said. Future student reps should expect to be in an “entirely different environment than what they’d be used to.”

• Finally, don’t be afraid to voice the opinion of the students in the district.

“Be ready to go out there and say what you have to say,” she said.

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