PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) —The Philadelphia School Board has a few fresh faces. The board swore its new student representatives in at Thursday night's meeting.
The two representatives and an alternate were selected from 28 applicants citywide and will serve one-year terms.
The students won’t vote, but they get to participate in board deliberations and provide a student perspective to the adults at the table. One student rep is De'Naiza Watson, a junior at Science Leadership Academy.
"I hope by being in this position that I can let kids that are like me and actually enjoy school, and just kids who don't have the opportunity, they have the opportunity to realize that you can do anything that you set your mind to,” she said.
The second representative is Cavance Snaith, a junior at Constitution High. "What I hope the adults will get from my experience in this school board is that the students are really involved and that we really want change,” said Snaith.
Doha Gassem, a junior at Academy at Palumbo, was chosen as an alternate.
"Coming from someone who is usually a quiet student, I want to show others that their voice is valuable, and they can have a say,” she said. “An issue I want to focus most about is mental health.”
The three students received praise for their involvement from city officials, including School District of Philadelphia Superintendent Tony Watlington. "I think that it says volumes about you that you would raise your hand and say you want to serve your fellow citizens," the superintendent said.
Mayor Jim Kenney echoed his sentiments. "Their input will be valuable to members of the board as they govern the district and build a better future for our children," he said.
"We can't improve the quality of our schools without hearing directly from the young people who attend them every single day."