Milton High School junior Trevor McDonald is the school board’s newest member. His role, he said, is to represent the student body.
McDonald joins fellow student school board representative Zach Popke, who’s serving his second year as a non-voting trustee.
“I’m hoping to gain experience working with communications between groups, as well as learning different processes and how things happen and get done,” McDonald said.
Such knowledge is an integral part of leadership, which McDonald says is an important aspect in life. He considers himself a leader, especially in the classroom where he helps his peers understand class material.
Freshman year, he captained the junior varsity football team. Now, he’s working on starting a robotics club, playing soccer for MHS and Milton Soccer Club, taking part in math league, student council and skiing.
Since elected in late September, McDonald’s attended two board meetings, sitting behind his new royal blue nameplate. Historically, student board reps haven’t been present at every meeting, but McDonald said he’s hoping to attend as many of the bi-weekly meetings as his schedule allows.
At a November meeting, McDonald and Popke joined a discussion about pushing back the high school start time, allowing teenagers more sleep.
Though he recognized a change would affect bus schedules and afterschool activities, Popke supported the change, while McDonald said he prefers the early start.
So, the pair is surveying their fellow students to see what the majority prefers. They’ll then report their findings to the full school board, McDonald explained.
At the meeting, MHS co-principal Mary Jane Stinson suggested the high school could swap start times with the elementary and middle school.
High-schoolers’ days end around 2:30 p.m., Stinson said, providing an hour for study time or after school help before extracurricular activities kick off at 3:30 p.m. A later start time would erase this hour, she explained, but could possibly transform into a before-school help session.
McDonald ran against two other students for the student-rep position, which is open to all 11th- and 12th- graders.
Guidance counselor Matt Rector, who oversees the election process, said McDonald is a bright student who’s taken a variety of classes at MHS.
“He has a broad knowledge of the curriculum we offer at Milton and possible changes or enhancements that could be made based on what he knows,” Rector said, noting this allows McDonald to advocate for his peers.
Leaning toward a career in engineering, McDonald said the skills he’s acquiring would aid him in talks between different project coordinators.
Going forward, MHS is encouraging a two-year experience for student board reps, Rector said, allowing students a year to observe the board’s process and another to fully participate and tackle desired projects.
But make no mistake: “Trevor will have a voice this year in things,” Rector added.
Reps work in conjunction with the student council, Rector said, creating a platform for student voice.
“They’re our eyes and ears when we can’t be there,” school board member Rae Couillard said.
McDonald feels similarly.
“It’s important to connect the school board to what’s actually happening with the students and the issues they feel are important,” the junior said.
Having students at the table is an opportunity to learn different perspectives, board vice-chairwoman Cathy Vadnais said.
“It’s good for us to see how our decisions are affecting them,” she added.
The board is constantly focused on budgets, facilities, policy, contract negotiations and more. McDonald said he’s most interested in joining conversations about issues that affect students’ everyday lives.
Still in the early stages of his term, McDonald is unsure what specific issues those may be. He’s just settling in.