By Nick Barnowski
Lansing Township News
DELTA TWP. — As the seven Waverly Community Schools Board of Education members took their seats on Oct. 20, an eighth sat down right next to them.
The meeting was the beginning Atiyaa Bolling’s tenure as school board representative. Waverly High School’s student government elected the 16-year-old junior.
“I was told it’s really hard to fill the position, so I decided to step up and fill it,” Bolling said.
The Oct. 20 meeting was Bolling’s first.
“I was really nervous but the school board members are really nice so I felt pretty comfortable,” she said.
Bolling sat at the front of the room just like every other board member and was given the opportunity to comment on meeting issues. While she does not vote on reports or proposals, the position establishes a communication avenue between students and board members.
She was given a spot on the agenda to deliver her report to the board, which included an update on Waverly’s homecoming and information about an upcoming debate that will be hosted at the school Oct. 23.
Future Board of Education meetings will follow the same agenda in regards to her role.
Trustee Calvin Jones said Bolling’s position helps the board better reach the student body.
“It’s a great idea,” Jones said. “It’s good to have our students here as part of the process so they can let us know how things are going and let us know if there are some things we could do differently.”
Waverly High School Principal Chris Huff, who has known Bolling for three years, said the position allows the volleyball player and band member to be the “eyes and ears” of the student body.
“Anything students are concerned with, she brings to me first so we can discuss it,” Huff said. “She then forwards anything that’s pertinent on to the school board.
“She gets to represent 1,110 kids and bring the issues and the events and the pride of the student population and represent them in front of our highest level of administration.”
The school board representative position is not unique to this year. Jones, who has sat on the board since 2001, said the board has had a student member every year since before he was appointed.
While Bolling is not the first, the position offers a unique experience to high school students who are looking to make a difference in their community.
“It gives them the ability to speak in front of people that they don’t know and share their enthusiasm and their excitement for being a citizen of Waverly Community Schools,” Jones said.
Bolling, who is also a member of the Spanish Honor Society and student union, wants to study engineering at Stanford University following high school. Huff said the position would bode well for her as she moves on and chooses a career.
“I’m hoping to be more involved in the community and get more comfortable with public speaking when I present to people,” she said.