Meet Noah Socha, Student Rep on the Saline Board of Education
Noah Socha is the student representative on the Saline High School Board of Education.
Socha, son of Jim and Michelle Socha, was appointed to the position at the Sept. 22 meeting. Noah has two triplet siblings, Kyle and Zach, and a younger sister, Megan.
Here's our interview with Noah Socha:
Why did you decide you wanted to represent the student body on the board of education?
I've been representing students through student council as both class representative and president, and I saw it as a natural extension of my duties. I already had the experience and resources to serve the students and listen to their opinions, and it is something I enjoy doing, so I applied. I also hope to gain experience for my future career. There are so many issues that students face today, and I thought that I might be a good fit to represent the students.
What issues around education interest you most?
I would say fair and equitable access to the same standard of education.
Saline is very lucky to operate at very high levels when it comes to education, but even here we must acknowledge that there are discrepancies in learning and access to learning. I love seeing level playing fields, and that simply isn't the case for schools across the state. These issues matter to me because I firmly believe that everyone has the potential to achieve amazing things, but if not everyone has the resources to do that, it doesn't happen the same way for everyone.
Have you talked to your predecessor, Evan Thomas, about his experiences on the board? If so, what did he express to you?
I haven't explicitly talked to him, but I was able to attend several board meetings last year. He demonstrated that one must be calm, concise, and purposeful in both their words and actions, especially in the face of some of the more contentious issues. I also attended a lunch forum he held, and was able to see how one must listen to everyone, and try to represent a large spectrum of opinions.
What do you see as your job on the board?
First and foremost, I represent the interests of the students. That is in the name. This means I must listen to student opinion, and keep the student body informed on board decisions. Some of the board decisions have rather large impacts on students, so I must also occasionally ask questions to make sure that the student's best interest is being taken care of.
What kinds of things are you going to do to learn about what students need, so that you can represent their interests?
I plan to set up a feedback loop with students, as well as hold forums to discuss issues more at length. Saline has a very wide spectrum of opinions, especially in the student population, and I think it is important to hear from all of them, regardless of the viewpoint. While I might have personal opinions on issues, my job requires that I listen to everyone and take each person's testimony into account. That is the job of a representative, and that is what I will try to do.
What kinds of concerns or thoughts have you heard from students about the return to class and virtual learning?
Overall, students have given mixed reviews on the return to school. On one hand, they want to be fully back in the classroom, like normal. However, they also realize this isn't possible given the current climate, so the next best thing is hybrid or virtual. Students feel that the hybrid system is a decent temporary solution, and has worked well so far. The teachers have been doing an amazing job in helping students work through these difficult times, and making sure the situation is as positive as can be. Students are concerned that if proper measures aren't followed, we might not be able to go back in full, and desperately want the community to continue to adhere to all safety guidelines.
What's your favorite subject in school?
I have enjoyed social studies classes such as AP US History and AP Government during my time at Saline, but the subject that is undoubtedly my favorite is band. I've been in the wind ensemble for what will be two years, and have been in band since 5th grade. I have also played in jazz band, marching band, and pit orchestra. Band provides a nice respite from the difficult classes, and is usually one of the best parts of my day.
What are your post-high school plans? Career plans yet?
I haven't decided on a college quite yet, as I have to get into some first, but I plan to pursue a major in Political Science, and then go on to Law School, while also minoring in music. I want to keep listening to people and representing them on some level, whether that be through the private sector, or in government.
When you're not in class or at the board table, how do you spend your time?
I'm involved, perhaps overly so, in many different activities. I enjoy playing in the marching band, running cross country, practicing piano, and much more. I also play piano, sing, and volunteer with the youth group at my church.