Holt school board adds student representatives

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Adele Colson (left) talks to Isabel Abdouch (right) during the first Holt Public Schools Board of Education meeting on Oct. 1. The students serve as advisers to the school board.

Kara Keating

Adele Colson (left) talks to Isabel Abdouch (right) during the first Holt Public Schools Board of Education meeting on Oct. 1. The students serve as advisers to the school board.

After 18 months of discussion, the Holt Public Schools Board of Education added senior Adele Colson and junior Isabel Abdouch as student representatives to serve as the voices to their peers.

They joined the board for its Oct. 1 meeting.

“These two were elected by their peer groups, with one being a junior and one as a senior. Moving forward we expect them to have a report for you,” Superintendent David Hornak said.

Abdouch applied for the position after hearing about it in her journalism class. She helped shared the link through the school’s social media site.

“I just felt like the students need to have a voice in here because a lot of people didn’t really know about school board meetings and how we’re trying to advocate for change,” Abdouch said. “With us being here, we’re sort of acting like a bridge or a buffer to help those students voice their opinions and what they want to do to make the school better.”

Colson applied after learning about it in one of her classes. She didn’t think she would win at first after she joined homecoming court, but when she found out the news she was excited to be able to represent her fellow classmates.

She hopes to bring a new voice to the board and bring up issues to help her peers succeed in school.

“I think it’s important to have a student advocate and have someone on the side of the students,” Colson said. “This will allow for positive change and with that, I think I want to see some change regarding sexual assault and what we can deal with that.”

During the meeting, the board looked at K-12 reading, math and social studies test score comparisons between Holt, Ingham County and the state of Michigan from the past school year. They found Holt scores in math between kindergarten through fourth grade above the state level, with the lowest results being from the 11th grade.

Abdouch talked about her experience dealing with standardized testing and how those scores may not reflect the work and effort made by students.

“We hear a lot of student struggle,” Abdouch said. “I struggle a lot in the classroom and then the data from there is all from standardized tests. Students memorize for that one test and then absolutely forget it. I think we’re focusing too much on testing.”

After finishing their first meeting, Colson said she hopes the adults will accept a new perspective on how different things can affect students.

“I’m glad to see a fresh new voice on the board,” Colson said. “Adults have great insight, but I think this will allow for some new insight on to the school and around the community.”

Abdouch said she’s looking forward to working with the school board.

“I’m looking forward to see how this goes,” she said. “I hope that it makes a positive change and everything works out.”