Six area high school students received a pretty big honor when they were named by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister to her 2021 Student Advisory Council.

Those six — Prairie Kaya, of Kingfisher; Yeeun Lee, of Enid; Sydney Martens, of Fairview; Casey Nguyen, of Woodward; Bridget Wilhite, of Cherokee; and Ashley Winter, of Chisholm — are first-year members of the council, which numbers 97 students.

Six area high school students are named to state education advisory group

They will assist Hofmeister and the state Department of Education on school policy.

“Students have a lot to say about their education, and it is critical that we listen to them,” Hofmeister said. “The direct insight we receive from our students is incredibly valuable, and each year I am encouraged by the thoughtful reflection and fearless vision of these brilliant young leaders.”

The last council met virtually in June, during which students spoke on the COVID-19 pandemic and racism’s impacts in the classroom.

Feedback from the council has been instrumental in state-level initiatives to provide teachers more professional development in trauma-informed instruction, replace end-of-course high school testing with the ACT or SAT, and pilot Individual Career Academic Planning (ICAP).

Of the 97 students from across Oklahoma, 44 are returning members. The council’s first meeting, which will be virtual, is set for Jan. 26.

Yeeun sadi she was pleased to be part of the council.

“When I got selected (this month), I was like, ‘Hey, hard work actually pays off,’” she said. “That’s what got me really happy — it was like a present from my high school year that I’ve been working hard for.”

Winter said she hoped to do something to help in the way of virtual learning, which she said doesn’t work as well as in-person instruction.

“It’s obviously kind of out of our control, but being back in the classroom is the most ideal thing, and that’s something I’d like to work on,” Ashley said.

We like that Hofmeister created the Student Advisory Council. It’s good she is willing to listen to students and hear their ideas. We are glad some of those voices, and some of those ideas, will be from Northwest Oklahoma.

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