What made you decide to run for the Sweetwater District Student Board Representative position?
I decided to run for the student board representative position because I wanted to be an advocate for underrepresented students, specifically our LGBTQ students. I wanted to show that we, as LGBTQ students, still have a voice in what happens in the world around us. As well, I wanted to advocate for Sweetwater’s Student Body as a whole. Student perspective and insight is extremely important not only within our district but, with global issues world-wide. Thus, I wanted to show other students that they too, can be an advocate and fight for what’s just and change the future (as we say in CASC).
How has this experience been thus far?
So far, this has been an amazing learning experience. Even though I’m familiar with LCAP funding and how school districts budget themselves, this new experience broadened my knowledge and helped me better my public speaking skills. As well, I learned how to develop a tougher skin and you do have to make tough decisions when it comes down to it. I honestly want to thank Dr. Janney, Board Vice-President Mr. Frank Tarantino and Dr. Mariana Gomez for helping me transition into this position and serve as mentors to me throughout the process.
Why did you decide to become a member of the California Association of Student Councils (CASC)?
I decided to join CASC during my freshman year because I saw it as an opportunity to break out of my shell and develop more as a leader and person. Learning about the social justice and advocacy portion of the organization interested me the most and helped me grow into the advocate I am today.
I’ve been involved with CASC, three years now. I previously served as an Outreach (Publicity/Communications) for the Region 12 (San Diego and Imperial Counties) Cabinet. I served in that role for 2 years before becoming the Region President this year. This is my first year serving on the CASC State Council, a group of 25 high school students that run CASC operations on a state-wide level and are in charge of the various statewide conferences we hold in Sacramento (Student Advisory Board in Education/Student Advisory Board on Legislation in Education) and Los Angeles (Youth Action Summit of California).
What other extracurricular activities are you involved in?
Outside of CASC, I’m involved with my school’s Foreign Language and Global Studies (FLAGS) program student council which is a group of students who oversee the program’s activities. As well, I’m involved with my school’s Ballet Folklórico program and Gender-Sexuality Alliance Club (GSA). I’m also a member of AP Scholars, a group of students who fundraise for AP exam costs and, CSF. I’ve been in these activities since my freshman year as well. This year, I started being in my school’s Peer Mediation (Connect Crew) class in which we mentor around seven freshman students throughout their first year of high school. I’m also a Teen Court juror and a member of the Restorative Youth Justice Advocacy group within our district.
Are you taking any AP courses?
Currently, I’m enrolled in two AP classes. I take AP Spanish Language and Culture and AP Calculus AB. However, I’m taking a total of five AP exams this year including those I am enrolled in the course for. The additional AP exams I’m taking are AP English Language and Composition, AP Physics 1 and, AP United States History.
Have you made a decision on where you would like to attend college? If so, what will you study?
As for college, I haven’t decided where I would like to go, however my top choice of a university would be Stanford. From there, I’d like to double major in Political Science and Education.
You have quit the schedule, how do you juggle it all?
As for juggling everything that I do, I live by three simple words: Know your limits. I’ve set limits on myself and learned to set attainable goals as well. I also make sure to take care of my family and myself so, that I can perform my best every day.
What advice would you give to underclassmen who aspire to follow in your footsteps?
My advice to underclassmen would be to always stay true to yourself and aspire to be great in your way. Everyone has a calling in life, we just have to find it. As well, be sure to study hard and have fun during high school. The people you meet and the memories you make will last you a lifetime. Be sure to take care of yourself too. Don’t let anyone get under your skin because you’re unique. Let your uniqueness shine and, it will carry you far!
Ethan is a junior at Hilltop High School in the Sweetwater Union High School District.