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New Student Member Joins OJUSD Board
Pabalan, Part Two
Student School Board Representative Russell Pabalan is shown shortly after being sworn into his new position at the OJUSD school board meeting Monday evening. - photo by Teresa Hammond/The Leader

Russell Pabalan is prepared to have a busy senior year with his extensive involvement in athletics, academics, leadership, music, and most recently, his newfound position as the Student Board Member on the Oakdale Joint Unified School District’s board of trustees for the 2017-2018 school year.

By taking the position, he acts as a liaison between the OJUSD School Board and the members of each school. Pabalan will spend his senior year representing the student body during board meetings, and representing the board during school hours.

“Past the whole résumé spiel, it’s something that I want to challenge myself with, and something in line with one of my career goals,” Pabalan relayed. He showed primary interest in following the path of his parents and brother into a medical field, but also admitted he is attracted to a career in school.

“I’ve been able to talk to a few of my mom and my dad’s coworkers but this is very specific to a certain job,” he said of the board member position, “and if I decide to pursue that education side of my career goal then it’s going to be a very valuable experience that I can access.”

Following his senior year, Pabalan has expressed interest in attending a UC – UCLA, ironically his sister’s rival school, was noted as a personal favorite –majoring somewhere in the sciences to eventually go into nursing or become a professional in his field.

As Student Board Member, he will also take a place in the Leadership class at Oakdale High School. He noted that he’s excited to enter into a class that’s not on the traditional AP (Advanced Placement) student path.

“In AP classes, you’re set with a group of people that you just grow up with,” he explained.

In the leadership class, he’ll be introduced to students that he hasn’t gotten the chance to know and befriend over the regular school year.

Of his leadership abilities, he considers himself a leader “because I have a personality where I want to assert myself naturally in whatever group setting I want to be in.”

“Some people can take that as standoffish,” he acknowledged, “but as a leader you kind of need that personality and can’t be like everyone else.”

Pabalan is certainly not “like everyone else.” He is a well-rounded student: three out of his four years at Oakdale High School have been spent as a three-sport athlete for cross country, basketball, and track.

“It made me feel like I had something to do past school every single day,” he said of his sports involvement.

Furthermore, he is heavily involved in the arts. Pabalan is the president of Art Club, and is also involved in music in his free time: “I play the piano, the guitar, I sing. I’ve been writing my own songs for the past couple of years.”

Not only is he an athlete and a musician, but he is also dedicated to academics. He is taking four AP classes his senior year, and was involved in Academic Decathlon his freshman, sophomore, and junior years. Pabalan was on the AcaDec competing team his junior year as third chair for the honors division and went to the state competition with the team.

“Senior year is going to be making the most out of my experience,” Pabalan expressed. “Because I know that this is something I’m never going to get again.”

The newest board member describes himself as “articulate,” “outgoing,” and “optimistic,” which all proved true throughout his interview. Much like his sister, Rachelle, Pabalan proved himself to be an excellent public speaker with a positive outlook on the upcoming school year.

Concerning the position, he reports that he’s heard much about the experience from his sister, who was the Student Board Member for the 2014-2015 school year.

“Mainly what I’ve heard about the position is that it’s a lot of work and you have to have attention to detail,” he said, “I’m excited to learn.”

When asked what his plans are as Student Board member, he replied “One of my main goals would be first of all the networking, and then second of all to find some growth in myself as a worker and a representative.”


He was officially sworn in on Monday, Aug. 14 at the school board meeting.