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 County Board of Education Welcomes New Student Members

The San Diego County Board of Education confirmed the appointment of the first student board members during the April regular board meeting. The new position was created as one way to elevate student voices and listen as young people share their ideas, viewpoints, and feedback on their educational program. 

Forty-eight students from across the county submitted applications to be the first high schoolers to serve on the Board of Education. San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) staff members reviewed applications and interviewed candidates. The following student board members and alternates were chosen to serve from 2021-22. 

Board District 1 

Soleil Yeager, 11th grade, San Diego High School (Board Member) 

  • Aaron Price Fellow 
  • Member of the Youth Advisory Board for U.S. Safe Sport 
  • “I love challenging myself in unfamiliar ways and trying to give back to our community.” 

Catherine Huang, 11th grade, La Jolla High School (Alternate)

  • San Diego Refugee Tutoring volunteer 
  • “I look forward to putting forth my best efforts to aid minority and disadvantaged students.” 

Board District 2 

Life California, 11th grade, High Tech High Chula Vista (Board Member) 

  • Co-teaches ethnic studies class at school 
  • Director of southern organizing in Generation Up’s San Diego Chapter 
  • March for Our Lives San Diego director of communications 
  • “I am deeply passionate about education and in being a strong advocate for our BIPOC youth learners.” 

Deseree Adamos, 11th grade, Olympian High School (Alternate) 

  • School district student board member 
  • Volunteer in nonprofit supporting disadvantaged Filipinos 
  • “I am looking forward to representing the student population in our community and will do my best to advocate for the community effectively.” 

Board District 3 

Emiliano Benitez, 11th grade, Mount Miguel High School (Board Member) 

  • Involved in Youth Ambassadors program at UCSD 
  • Leading member for ESC Club, which stands for Environmental Sustainability, Student Empowerment, and Collaboration 
  • “I plan to use my time on the board to push and support initiatives that help make education more equitable for all students, especially those with special needs.” 

Alena Rafo, 11th grade, Grossmont Middle College High School (Alternate) 

  • Sharp Hospital volunteer 
  • Tutor with Edumate NYC 
  • “I consider the lack of diversity in our reading material to be one of the most important issues impacting public education today.” 

Board District 4 

Faith Baptista, 10th grade, River Valley Charter (Board Member)

  • Student leader in Foothills Christian Church youth ministry 
  • “My leadership training and experience is what ultimately encouraged me to apply for the position of student representative and I am honored and excited to be selected to serve.” 

Jessica Nguyen, 10th grade, Del Lago Academy (Alternate)  

  • School Key Club member 
  • Boys and Girls Club volunteer 
  • “I’m looking forward to expand not only myself as a person, but also to give back and make a difference, no matter the size.” 

Board District 5 

Aadya Nayak, 10th grade, Westview High School (Board Member) 

  • Member of the school mock trial team 
  • “My goal is for every student to feel safe, included, and represented within our county, by providing equitable access to programs and resources.” 

Carl Maier, 11th grade, Fallbrook High School (Alternate)

  • Chapter officer in Fallbrook Future Farmers of America 
  • Founder of school FHS Student Voices group 
  • U.S. Naval Academy Summer STEM Program 
  • “I am beyond excited to be a representative for the students of District 5 for the upcoming year.” 

The student board members will each attend two consecutive board meetings, beginning with the District 1 student representative for May and June. The District 2 student representative will serve August and September; the District 3 student representative will serve October and November; the District 4 student representative serves January and February; and the District 5 student representative will serve March and April.  

Student members are recognized as a full board member and can participate in questioning presenters and discussing issues. They can also cast preferential votes, a formal expression of opinion recorded in the minutes, on all matters except those subject to closed session discussion. Student board members can also make motions that may be acted upon by the county board, except on matters dealing with employer-employee relations. 

The application window for the 2022-23 student board members will open in February 2022. Check www.sdcoe.net/studentrep for details as they are available.