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Joy Hofmeister, Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction, speaks during a town hall meeting at Enid High School in December 2016. (Billy Hefton / Enid News & Eagle)

ENID, Okla. — Six students from Northwest Oklahoma, including three from Enid high schools, will have the ear of the state’s top elected school official later this month to discuss issues affecting public education.

Seventy-four students from Oklahoma public high schools will advise Superintendent Joy Hofmeister as members of this year’s State Superintendent’s Advisory Council, the state Department of Education announced Tuesday.

New member Chisholm High School junior Logan Buford will join his classmate Ashley Winter, a senior serving a second year on the advisory council.

Principal Angela Avila noted that their school was the only site in the state with more than one student representative.

The two are heavily involved in the school’s academic and extracurricular programs. Logan is on the academic team and National Honor Society, and also takes classes through the Oklahoma School of Science and Math at Autry Technology Center.

Logan said he hoped to specifically bring to the council’s attention the expensive path students have to take to get to college. He believes the nonprofit College Board has a harmful monopoly on higher education with its SAT exams.

“It’s nice to be in the loop and to know that how we see our problems aren’t the same as how they see our problems,” he said.

Winter and Sydney Martens, a senior from Fairview High School, both were named among 18 returning council members who served in previous years.

“(Winter is) a great leader on campus — a young lady with a great voice,” Avila said. “Obviously that’s the case, or she wouldn’t have been chosen a second time.”

Enid High School senior Cooper Reinhardt, Kingfisher High School’s Grace-Anne Sinclair and Woodward High School’s Sofey Burnett also will serve on this year’s council.

Cooper is involved in myriad activities at EHS, including JROTC, show choir, senior class officers and National Honor Society, as well as tennis and cross country.

He said he wanted to call for more higher-level career opportunities to prepare students leaving high school, as the pandemic has “killed a lot of jobs” for people.

“I’m excited to meet and connect with other like-minded kids who are really going to do something int his world,” Cooper said. “Hopefully this group of kids is excited to do something.”

EHS Principal Craig Liddell said Cooper was recommended by district superintendents and school administrators together.

“He’s perfect for this tradition. We were all in agreement, so it all just clicked into place,” he said. “It’s an amazing time to help kids like Cooper make a difference. Thank goodness we’ve got great young folks like this.”

The seventh annual iteration of the advisory council will hold its first meeting virtually on Jan. 25, according to OSDE.

“These students are among the top high school leaders in our state, and it is imperative to get their feedback,” Hofmeister said in a statement Tuesday. “The insight we receive from this council is incredibly valuable, and their thoughtful reflection and fearless vision is instrumental to our decision-making.”

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Ewald is copy editor and city/education reporter for the Enid News & Eagle.

Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Send an email to aewald@enidnews.com.

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