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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Nashua North, South juniors to serve as liaisons to Board of Education

NASHUA – Ella Kruczynska spent her holiday vacation essentially hibernating, resting as much as possible.

And it’s a good thing, too. ...

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NASHUA – Ella Kruczynska spent her holiday vacation essentially hibernating, resting as much as possible.

And it’s a good thing, too.

In December, the Nashua High School North junior – who serves as vice president to her class, treasurer to the History Club, actress, a capella singer and self-professed nerd – added another hat to her collection: Student liaison to the city Board of Education.

“I really love the idea of being part of what goes on in the school,” Kruczynska said.

Kruczynska’s new post has her attending all regular board meetings, allowing her to speak up on various board actions and discussions, as well as inform board members on issues that students are concerned about.

She is joined by Nashua High School South junior Shannah Boucher, who will serve as that school’s liaison.

This marks the first year the board will have two student members. In past years, the two high schools have taken turns sending a liaison.

Norths’ Student Senate selects the board liaison each year, collecting applications from any interested student, listening to speeches by the applicants and voting on who they want to serve.

This year, Kruczynska was the only candidate, but that didn’t stop her from giving a speech.

And as far as she’s concerned, she’s the best person for the job.

She has been part of the Student Senate since coming to the high school, and said it’s given her an appreciation for all that goes into running a successful school. In middle school, she was vice president of the student council and has always had a love of leadership.

“I won’t be afraid to express what the school and students are feeling,” Kruczynska said.

One of the first issues she’s looking forward to tackling is parking at the high school. Students can pay $100 for a full year parking pass, or $50 for a half-year pass.

It’s a large sum of money that goes to the city, Kruczynska said, not the school, and is a challenge for many students to pay.

She’s hoping to work with the board to pass a resolution that would allow the parking pass to be free, or cost less, for those students who qualify for free and reduced school lunches. Eventually, she said, students would love to have the price reduced for everyone.

“I really want to be able to let them know what the students think,” Kruczynska said.

Boucher said she is not yet sure what issues she would like to work with the board on, but said that she has long been interested in giving back to her school community.

She leads the South Student Senate’s study buddy committee, which brings volunteers to an elementary school’s after-school program to help younger students with their homework and act as mentors. This year, the volunteers have been going to Fairgrounds Elementary School, and Boucher said the experience has helped show her how some city schools have fewer resources and more challenges than others, particularly those with low income students.

“That divide between the richer schools and the less fortunate schools, I don’t think that’s OK,” Boucher said. “I think this whole process is about giving back … I just figured, if you want to get a job done you should do it yourself.”

Kruczynska said she’s looking forward to learning from board members as well, and bring back information to her peers to help them better understand decisions made.

Many students, she said, including herself, don’t know much about how the Board of Education works.

“I always just thought they decided when there were snow days,” she said, laughing.

Kruczynska wants to change that, reporting back on meetings to Student Senate, but also to classmates and to as many students as possible through social media.

The experience likely will be a training exercise for Kruczynska, who hopes to attend college to study foreign relations.

“I want to work with people, people all over the world, and help them communicate,” she said. “And I really think working with adults is going to be fun.”

For Boucher, the opportunity will mean she can help give fellow students the same chances she’s had growing up.

She wants to attend college to study history, either teaching at the college level or working for The History Channel some day.

“I just feel like I can’t get the education I’m hoping to get and not help others to do the same,” she said.

Danielle Curtis can be reached at 594-6557 or dcurtis@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Curtis on Twitter (Telegraph_DC).