Vivian Geilim opinon editor
Once surrounded by the familial faces of his peers in ASB, senior Jonathan Artal takes the next step in voicing his thoughts as he officially becomes the 2017-2018 student board member.
Since his freshman year, Artal has been involved with various leadership roles through his participation in ASB. It was during Artal’s junior year that he realized he wanted to be a part of something more, something bigger.
“I decided to run for student board member to better shape my own education and community, and to discover much of the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of education,” Artal said.
Each week Artal and the five board members discuss matters such as budget cuts, construction and the Metro situation.
“For example, we’ve approved increased funding and professional development for technology in the classroom, hired new coaches, made agreements with agencies and other schools to supplement our curriculum and discussed the district bullying code,” Artal said.
Although the additional work can seem strenuous for a high school student, Artal has already familiarized himself the the work load and the agenda of the board.
“He’s doing great. He so participant in conversations, asking questions. He’s prepared. We get information for the board meeting with documents and sometimes they’re several pages long,” Superintendent Michael Bregy said.
In adapting to the procedures of student board member, Artal struggled at first, but with the help of the members of the board, he was able to catch up in no time.
“At first I had to catch up on a lot of board procedures and some facts about the district and budget, but Superintendent Bregy and my fellow board members have been really great in helping me get acclimated to the process,” Artal said. “While at first the experience was a bit intimidating, and I didn’t always know how to jump in with my ideas, I’ve become much more comfortable expressing my thoughts and coming to my own conclusions.”
Amidst a group of adults, the pressures of being able to assess certain topics and help make decisions can make anyone nervous. However, Artal is acclaimed in his calm ability to execute the job well.
“Most people, when you’re 17 or 18 in that type of setting, can be intimidated. Most people I’ve seen in my experience don’t say anything at all and then wish that they did. Jonathan is not like that. He’s got this ability where he’s able to do that in a very polite, non-confrontational manner.” Bregy said.
However, Artal’s confidence and charisma aren’t the only characteristics he acquires.
“Jonathan is perceptive and articulate. His participation in our deliberations is invaluable. His friendly and upbeat disposition is a delight for each of his colleagues on the Board,” Board President Mel Spitz said.
Although the pressures are high, Artal is well liked amongst his colleagues on the board.
“Jonathan provides a powerful conduit for communication to his peers by participating and contributing to the conversation with district leaders and [the] Board,” Goldstein said.
Artal plans on contributing a great many things to the school and the city.
“As board member, I really want to expand students’ role in the district. That includes not only bringing to light issues that many students are concerned about, but also facilitating communication between the students, staff, and district,” Artal said. “Many students are unaware of developments in areas such as construction, the budget and the Metro situation, so helping inform them of what’s going on would allow for a more active and aware student population. The ultimate goal is to encourage students’ voice and participation.”