KENANSVILLE — Members of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Committee recently gathered in the O.P. Johnson Education Building conference room for a meeting with the superintendent, Dr. Austin Obasohan, who organized the committee shortly after becoming Superintendent over seven years ago, looks forward to hearing the students’ perspectives and feedback.
“I enjoy working in Duplin County Schools and I want all of you to know that each time I meet with you I get excited and I just love hearing what you have to say,” he said to the students as he opened the meeting.
He reminded them that their primary responsibility is to represent the voice of the students within each of their schools. The meetings, he said, are opportunities for members to share with him any concerns and feedback, noting that he takes their opinions very seriously.
Each year he asks principals to select students to serve on the committee. There are several members who, at his request, have served multiple terms to provide stability for the group. This year’s representatives are Tori Gray Davis from B.F. Grady Elementary School, Diego Andino from Beulaville Elementary School, Mary Landon Johnson from Chinquapin Elementary School, David Palomo from Duplin Early College High School, Ashton Ballard and Lilly Wooten from East Duplin High School, Diego Benitez from James Kenan High School, Jaycen Jones from Kenansville Elementary School, Joanna Guo from North Duplin Elementary School, Eliel Aguirre and Morgan McCoy from North Duplin Jr/Sr High School, Hector Gonzalez from Rose Hill-Magnolia Elementary School, Leslie DeLaRosa Estrada from Wallace Elementary School, Jazmara Espinal from Wallace-Rose Hill High School, and Lydia Hall from Warsaw Elementary School.
During the meeting, students discussed possible projects they could complete in order to give back to their community. In 2016, the committee sponsored student/faculty basketball games and raised over $15,000 for the Make-A- Wish Foundation. They also elected grade level representatives, a secretary, and a president to provide leadership for the committee. This year’s president is David Palomo. Ashton Ballard was elected to serve as secretary. The lead high school representative is Lilly Wooten and the lead K-8 representative is Diego Andino.
While closing the meeting, Palomo thanked his fellow members and encouraged them to give their best.
“We were chosen to represent our schools because we are already leaders. Our voices are being heard. We need to listen and be open and know that people in our schools will look to us.”