A Saline High School group of students wants a voice in shaping education in Saline Area Schools.
Thursday night, Students Reinvesting in a Valueable Education (STRIVE) was responsible for the only public forum featuring all four candidates in the Nov. 6 school board election.
Smita Nagpal, Karen Delhey, Diane Friese and Paul Hynek, the four candidates seeking two available seats on school board, answered about 10 questions from the student group and three more from the general audience.
Isabella Procassini is President of STRIVE.
“I thought it went really well,” said Procassini. “We wanted the community members to gain a better understanding and some familiarity with the candidates and we wanted to bring students out to get them more involved and to see what STRIVE does.”
Natalie Wysocki said STRIVE wanted the candidates to bring out their differences.
“We wanted them to talk about what their platforms and to emphasize their differences and their similarities so that voters can be better informed,” Wysocki said. “In a lot of areas, I think they were generally similar, but there were a few areas where there were significant issues. So I think the people who attended today should have a better idea, after tonight, of who they should vote for.”
Pracassini said her membership in STRIVE has shown her that students can impact the decisions are being made in the district.
“People are willing to listen to us and they want to hear our opinions,” Procassini said. “So it’s really just a matter of making your voices heard.”
The candidates met STRIVE’s expectations, Procassini said.
“I thought they all did really well. There were some tough questions, but they all handled them really well,” Procassini said.
STRVE meets twice a month. At the meetings they talked about issues they face and that they’re hearing about around the school. They turned those issues into questions, ranging on everything from funding priorities and trimesters to the Pledge of Allegiance and role of student government.
Procassini said members of STRIVE are well aware of the controversy that has percolated on school board for much of the year.
“There are a lot of students who go to board meetings for AP government credit. So they’ve seen the bickering that’s going on. That’s something we’ve taken notice of as students,” Procassini said.
For more on the forum, click here.