Sarah Finlaw talks about her time as Ludlowe HS liaison
Sarah Finlaw, the Fairfield Ludlowe High School student liaison to the Board of Education, was honored for her service during a "Moment of Pride" at last week's board meeting. Finlaw and fellow student liaison Tom Wolff, from Fairfield Warde High School, were presented gift certificates to Borders Books from Superintendent of Schools Ann Clark.
A member of Ludlowe's Student Representative Council and the Youth American Cancer Society, as well as the National Honor Society, Finlaw is headed to Boston College in the fall. The following is a Q&A interview with the Fairfield Citizen in which Finlaw reflects on her time with the school board.
How did you hear about the position of student liaison to the Board of Education and why did you want to get involved?
Last year I helped my Spanish teacher, Eileen Frankel, give student feedback during a presentation she made to the BOE about the new Macs the board had just bought for the world language department. It was my first time attending a meeting, and it made me think about how I would like to be a part of this organization and help the board hear a student's voice.
Were you picked from a pool of potential student liaisons? Were there others in the running?
I was the only person who ran.
What have you learned during your time sitting up there with board?
I've learned that a lot goes into creating policy. Being able to see local government up close really gave me an appreciation for all that the members of the board do.
What did it open your eyes to that you had no clue about?
I realized the amount of things in which the board is involved. I've been at meetings where they've discussed everything from new windows to disciplinary policy rewrites to healthy school lunches. The members of the BOE are required to know about everything going on in our schools.
What are some of the topics that have come before the board that stand out in your mind above all the others?
The Breathalyzer policy definitely sticks out the most because it inspired the most debate from the public and members of the BOE.
You've had some late nights with the Board of Education. On those next days, when you were in class, were you alert or did your work with the board affect you in class?
No, I was always able to focus the next day. However, I did leave a few meetings early when I could tell that they were going to go on for a very long time.
Would you recommend the position to a younger student? Why?
I would definitely recommend the position to a younger student because it is a great opportunity to be involved in your school and your community at the same time.
On what topic do you think you were able to offer the board the most insight, from a student's point of view? The board members obviously aren't seeing things on a day-to-day basis, up close and personal, like you are.
I think I was able to offer the most insight on the Breathalyzer policy. It's a very controversial topic and was sometimes hard to speak about, but I think what I said provided the members of the BOE a glimpse of what students are thinking.
If you had the power to change anything in the school system, what would you change? Where perhaps do you think change or adjustments, are needed?
I would put a greater focus on learning and discussing information rather than just digesting it for a test.
You wanted to be a part of the Board of Education, work alongside the board members. Do you perhaps already know that you want to work in government, or has it influenced at all to perhaps head in that direction?
I am thinking of possibly going into government one day, but I am not sure at which level.