Meet Our New 2020-2021 Student Board Representative
The Board of Trustees includes one student representative who serves in an advisory capacity to represent the interests of students in the Sweetwater Union High School District. The student board representative represents their peers by providing communication to the Board of Trustees.
Desiree Adamos is a junior at Olympian High School. Something interesting she did over self-quarantine was join a local grassroots organization called Anakbayan San Diego, which fights for human rights in the U.S and in the Philippines. Through this organization, she was able to learn from inspiring community organizers and passionate activists in her community that truly shaped her moral and ethical values and her perspective on life.
Adamos was given amazing opportunities to educate peers her age, to speak with local authorities, and to participate in events that directly helped the community. Many individuals in this organization are talented, compassionate, and motivated about their ambitions, which inspire Adamos to become not only a better student, but a better person as well.
What interested you in the student board representative position?
I had experience with student leadership in middle school when I was ASB president and I thought I was pretty skilled at negotiating with school administration on behalf of student interests. Fast forward into high school, I developed a deep passion for advocacy and youth activism through the multiple clubs and extracurricular activities that I was involved with.
One thing in particular that fostered my love for my community was volunteering at a local hospital, where I got to hear the stories of many individuals from totally different backgrounds; as more, new perspectives of life were introduced to me, the more I learned how to put myself in another person’s shoes. So when the applications for student board representative were open, I saw it as an opportunity to vocalize the concerns of every student in the district, including, but not limited to, our LGBTQ+ students, our students of different gender expressions, our POC students, our immigrant students, our special education students, and our low income students.
What particular strengths do you believe that you will bring to the Student Board Representative position?
I am 4’10. This is definitely not the average height of a 16 year old girl, but in many ways it has trained me to have very strong characteristics which I believe contribute greatly to my leadership. I have become persistent in pushing for what I want because of how easily it is for other people to dismiss me.
With this, I have strongly developed the ability to be intellectually curious within every situation, asking why and how, because I knew that nobody would explain it to me if I never asked. Practicing this throughout my few short years of leadership, I have naturally become ambitious and driven with my ideas. So in a sense, being short would be the particular strength that I will bring to the Student Board representative position.
What do you believe your biggest challenge will be as a Student Board Representative?
My biggest challenge this year as Student Board representative would definitely be the pandemic. I assume that this is the biggest challenge for anyone this year as well. The coronavirus pandemic has not only limited my methods of contacting others, but it has also taken away opportunities for students this year.
This unprecedented situation has left many questions unanswered, and in addition to the financial crisis that the district is going through right now, it is the perfect storm for a stressful year. The lack of certainty with distance learning alongside the infuriating issues that district debt has brought upon students and staff is an issue that will not only affect me as a student board representative, but also the thousands of students, parents, teachers, and staff members that are fighting alongside one another to prevail through this to ensure that students receive the education that they deserve.
Why do you believe it’s important to include student voice on the governing body of the School District?
Why wouldn’t it be important to include student voice on the governing body of the School District? Nobody knows about a student’s experience about bullying, oppression, harassment, difficulties, struggles, and worries than a student them self. The decisions that board members are making in board meetings are directly affecting the lives of students. Students deserve the right to have an opinion on a decision that is structured to make them feel safe, comfortable, and respected at school.
At the end of your term as a Student Board Representative, how would you know if you were successful?
I would be able to call myself successful as a Student Board Representative if my constituents from the POC community, LGBTQ+ community, immigrant community, low income community, special education community, and all students from diverse backgrounds and marginalized communities have told me that I have advocated for them effectively.
Specifically, to do this, I would love for a few things to be implemented during my term as Student Board Representative: I would love for Ethnic Studies to be implemented at every school site in SUHSD. I would love for students who go to school in low income communities to have access to school psychologists and counselors. I would love for students to be inspired to be educated about educational funding and educational bureaucracy so that they can advocate effectively for their interests at board meetings. If any of these aspirations are achieved during my term, I would consider myself successful.
Who is your inspiration?
Two strong, independent women in my life inspire me. One of them is my AP World History teacher in my sophomore year, Ms. Hadi, and another would be one of my Assistant Principals in middle school, Mrs. Vargas. Both have taught me valuable life lessons about how to carry myself and how to deal with insecurities and self-doubt.
In many ways, both of these inspiring women have motivated me to become a stronger, a more confident person, and a more compassionate friend. They have contributed greatly to my development of leadership, compassion, and motivation. I definitely would not have had the courage for Student Board Representative in the first place if it weren’t for my role models.
If you had the influence and resources to initiate any type of change within South County, what would it be?
If I had the influence and resources to initiate any change within our city, I would implement free, drive through mass testing located in National City and Chula Vista, where the pandemic has struck the most. In areas like National City, COVID-19 testing is unaccessible to low income communities and has therefore led to the surge of coronavirus cases that these communities cannot simply bounce back from. I believe that with enough affordable testing, individuals in these communities will be able to effectively protect their loved ones and their neighbors.