Voice of the students on the TUSD Board
Turlock students have a few of them who stand up for them and voice their concerns on topics big and small when it comes to the Turlock Unified School Board of Trustees. Bella Kern and Kate Ogden are the student representatives on the TUSD Board and attend the board’s bi-monthly meetings.
The two high school officials felt that their involvement in a number of activities gave them the experience they needed to make a difference on the board.
“I really like Turlock High and I’m really involved, I feel like I’m doing a lot. So I feel like I can represent what’s going on, maybe not the best, but in a respectable way, ”said Ogden.
“I feel like I have an advantage when I’m active in so many different clubs and so many different groups. I can really let so many voices from our students be heard. I was very fond of public speaking, so I feel like I was able to convey my point of view and get the students across in a way that they can be heard, ”said Kern, a Pitman High student.
Ogden is an active member of her school’s debating and speaking club, where she was the speaking captain. She was on behalf of the Key Club and in the Mock Trial Squad. Ogden has also competed in water polo and swimming for two years.
Kern is part of the ASB Green Team, Cross Country and Track Team for the Pride. She was also an FFA captain last year and is an active volunteer in her church.
Both representatives said that they feel they can make a difference on the board.
“I wanted to create an inner club council where I could hear from representatives from all clubs … I want every student to know they can come to me. I want our students to know that there is someone who can tell these people with higher authority what they are feeling, ”Kern said.
“I just want Turlock High to be seen in a respectable way, and I want you to know everything you are doing. I also want to be that leader to show the subclasses how we run things and be that second branch so they know what is going on. I want to share their ideas on how we can improve our school and as a member of the board I can speak to those responsible and make decisions, ”said Ogden.
In recent discussions of masks, and now vaccine mandates, Ogden and Kern have been exposed to the passion of parents and community members about issues related to TUSD schools.
“I would never tolerate hostility or anything, but I think it’s good that they express their feelings. I mean, it’s an open forum and anyone can have their say. I don’t mind, I don’t think it’s directed at me, I think it’s the way they generally feel and are allowed to feel that way. I think it’s great that they can tell people that, we listen and maybe do things that can help, ”said Ogden.
“It gives me respect for the board members because they have been doing this for years. It really gives me empathy because sometimes parents can be so mean and really can’t do anything. The mask requirement or the vaccination requirement, this is California, the board can only do so much. It gives me a different perspective on how I will behave when I have children and they go to school, ”said Kern.
Both board members see another large part of their job in promoting student participation in school activities. Both agree that it is necessary to actively reach out to students and explain why it is important to get involved.
“We have to make it more inclusive. As well as going out to lunch with our friends, we should talk to and encourage everyone. I think friendliness and inclusivity are the keys to getting more students involved, ”said Kern.
“I tell freshmen why they should go to games and why they should do school activities. I tell them that it helps build community and build friendships. It helps if you tell them why I participate in things, ”Ogden said.
With both finishing their high school careers, they plan to continue their education with a college degree for the next year. Ogden hopes to go to UC Davis or USC and study business or economics. Kern is looking for a pre-law program at Willamette in Salem, Oregon or USC.