Student school board reps recognized at recent meeting

Photo by Jenny Kirk The Marshall Public School student school board representatives Lyth Shahin, second from left, Sameh Hedlin and Kevin Berg were recipients of the Tiger Spotlight award on Monday. Posing alongside of them are Superintendent Scott Monson, left, and board chair Jeff Chapman.

MARSHALL — The Marshall School Board members announced at the work session meeting on Monday that it had been an honor to work with the three unique individuals who served as the student school board representatives the past school year.

Sameh Hedlin, Lyth Shahin and Kevin Berg started with the Board of Education in August and wrapped up their board duties on Monday. For their positive contributions and active dedication, the three graduating seniors were recognized with the Tiger Spotlight award.

“We are thankful for the insights and perspectives you often shared with the board, students, staff and community,” district administrative assistant Tricia Stelter said on behalf of the school board.

MPS Superintendent Scott Monson echoed that, saying that the trio of students had been “awesome representatives.”

“They’re responsible and I know I greatly appreciate getting to know all three of them,” Monson said. “So this is really our opportunities, or our school board’s opportunity, to recognize the three of you for your commitment and the information and everything you’ve shared, to say thank you and certainly wish you the best of luck as you go on to the next phase of your life.”

Having the students present was a win-win for everybody, those involved said.

“Your opinions were very valuable to us,” board chair Jeff Chapman said.

This year marked the fourth straight year that Marshall High School students were selected to serve alongside the school board. It was also the first year that three students earned the rare opportunity.

“It was a really fun experience,” Berg said. “It made me a more well-rounded community member and student.”

All three of the student reps said the school board experience was an eye-opener for them.

“As a normal student, you really don’t know what it takes, like the food service contract that we just discussed,” Berg said. “We just figure it’s something that just happens. But the process every three years — having to go through an extensive process — it’s just different things like that, learning about them and then communicating that to the kids in the school.”

Hedlin said she learned a lot during the experience.

“You look at everything differently now,” she said. “It’s been really fun and interesting.”

Along with working alongside Shahin and Berg, Hedlin said she truly enjoyed the school board conference she attended in the Twin Cities.

“It was really interesting, and I learned a lot,” Hedlin said.

Shahin said his favorite memory was also the school board conference.

“Before, the board was really open with us and really nice to us, but then we got to know them better, and learn a lot of really cool stuff, at the school board conference in January,” he said.

Like the elected school board members, the three student board representatives signed the acceptance of office and oath of office.

“It was definitely a very positive experience,” Shahin said. “I got to experience a lot of new things — things you don’t ever see outside of school. I got to see a ton of things. And it was a lot of fun getting to say, ‘Hey, Mr. (Dan) Smith, I know what you contract is like.'”

While the students weren’t privy to confidential information — such as information dealt with at a closed meeting — they did have the opportunity to learn that a lot of information is open to the public.

“It was very interesting to learn how much is public information,” Shahin said.

While the student board reps weren’t allowed to officially vote on issues or action items, they did take part in group activities and were oftentimes the go-between for the school board and MHS student population.

“If there were issues that students were having, we’d bring it up to the board,” Berg said. “There have been certain occasions where we’ve brought it up and they’ve taken it really seriously. They’ll look into. And vice versa, when they give us a response, we can tell our classmates and other students in the school what’s actually happening — like if things are frustrating, we might say these things need to happen for a reason, but they understand your concerns.”

During their senior year, the student board reps were also involved in a multitude of activities. Berg was a commander in the marching band, part of the fall musical and a member of the Marshall Tiger speech team. Outside of school, Berg volunteered at his church. He is also an Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts. Having enlisted into the Navy, Berg is expected to leave June 22.

“I’m super excited,” Berg said. “I’m following my dad’s footsteps. He did 28 years in active duty Navy. It’s something I’ve been looking up to for a long time. “

Shahin has been in the Marshall Public School system since the second grade. Throughout his time at MPS, he said he has been able to “participate in many wonderful activities that include marching band, Business Professionals of America (BPA), speech and many more.”

While he said he hasn’t exactly decided, Shahin plans to double major at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.

“One major I want to be is computer science,” he said. “The other major I want to do something I can do some pre-law studies and hopefully go into law school.”

Like the other student reps, Hedlin was able to balance studies and activities. As the oldest child in her family she set the bar high. At Holy Redeemer School prior to high school, Hedlin was involved in speech, knowledge bowl, student council, basketball and volleyball. In eighth grade, she joined the Marshall Tiger swim team.

Later, Hedlin joined the Marshall High School speech and golf teams.

“Although I had always been involved in speech in middle school, high school speech helped me step out of my comfort zone and participate more competitively,” she said. “This past year, I had the honor of competing with the National qualifying team.”

Hedlin also qualified for the state speech meet and was a swim team captain this year. Her other activities include: National Honor Society, Link Crew and Core Team for her parish. Her future plans are to attend St. Kate’s to study healthcare sales.

“I was going to double major in communications and public health, but when I talked to my admissions counselor, he was like, ‘This is right in the middle,'” Hedlin said. “They also have Daktronics in Boston — the technology up there — so they do a bunch of internships with Katies.”