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Farmington students get a seat at the table

There’s no election this year in the Farmington School District, but the school board will still have two new members at its first meeting in November. 

After conducting interviews earlier this month, the board is set to appoint Farmington High School juniors Natalie Pellin and Andrew Lupkowski to a pair of newly-created student positions. Pellin and Lupkowski will serve as both a fresh perspective on issues in the district and a connection between the board and the student body.

The idea to add student representatives to the board has come up a few times since board member Julie Singewald saw it discussed at a national convention a few years ago. It wasn’t until last May, however, that the board put a plan in place.

Four students applied for the positions.

“I was expecting more, but when you’re starting something new it often takes a year or two to catch on,” said board chair Tera Lee, who was part of the interview committee that chose the student members. “All four candidates were great. We had a lot of discussion to choose.”

Pellin and Lupkowski rose to the top, Lee said, because of their connections in the school. Both are active in groups such as student council and Link Crew. And both have ideas for getting the board’s message to their classmates.

That’s a big part of what the board wants to accomplish with its new student representatives, an idea that arose after Lee and board member Jake Cordes visited a ninth-grade civics class and discovered many of the students did not know the reasoning behind the district’s decision to give every student an iPad.

“They hold a lot of leadership positions and they are in a lot of different groups and they have a lot of ideas of what they would do (to spread the word),” Lee said.

Lupkowski read about the student board positions in this newspaper earlier this year and picked up an application when school started. He had been intrigued by school board work since attending a student council state convention last summer.

“This was something I really wanted to do,” he said.

Neither student will have a vote at board meetings, but Lee looks forward to their input on issues that come to the board table, or on things that are happening in the schools that might not otherwise come to the attention of board members or district administrators.

“They have a unique perspective on whether something is working well,” Lee said. “Things that sound good in theory don’t always translate into practice.”

Pellin and Lupkowski will meet the rest of the Farmington School Board at the board’s Oct. 28 meeting. They will officially take their seats when the board meets Nov. 12.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Lupkowski said. “I think it’s a great opportunity.”

Both terms are for one year.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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