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Student Representative Pabalan Prepared For Transition
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Oakdale Joint Unified School District Student Board Member Rachelle Pabalan is shown in a rare pose, taking a break from a full class and extracurricular load for her 2014-15 senior year. - photo by Teresa Hammond/The Leader

Next Monday, Sept. 8 Oakdale High School senior Rachelle Pabalan will settle into yet one more seat of responsibility. Pabalan will be in attendance at her second Oakdale Joint Unified School Board meeting. The 2014-15 Student School Board Representative (sworn in at the Aug. 11 session) is ready to add one more feather to her ever-flourishing cap.

A quick glance at the senior’s activity card is enough to make even the most energetic a wee bit tired.

“It’s definitely a lot to have on my plate,” Pabalan acknowledged, “but there is never a dull moment in my life, and I would never give up on any of it.”

The “plate” which the senior addresses includes Presidential seats with: Interact Club, S-Club and Gay-Straight Alliance; Chair of Model United Nations, Publicist for the Science Club, as well as involvement with the multiple-year defending Stanislaus County champion Academic Decathlon team.

For those concerned that the student lacks ‘balance’ in her activity schedule, she is also a third year team member of the Oakdale High tennis team and was announced the 2015 winner of Oakdale’s Distinguished Young Women’s program earlier this year.

“Because I am the returning winner from last year,” she said, “I will be coordinating our local competition for the class of 2016 at the end of February 2015.”

Pabalan is focused, however, on her responsibilities as the incoming School Board Rep, recognizing both technological advances, as well as the integration of Common Core as contributing to a big transitional period for Oakdale schools.

“Especially taking into account the rapidly increasing student population of Oakdale in particular,” she said. “One of the biggest challenges facing the board is how to handle these growing pains in a graceful and productive way.”

She also noted the vote and planning of multi-purpose rooms to be added to both Cloverland and Fair Oaks elementary schools as positive change.

“The initiative for bringing our schools up to the new standard demanded of the current academic frontier is incredibly powerful and necessary,” Pabalan stated. “These years and these decisions are pivotal and though I do not doubt in any way the board’s collective ability to handle them well, I acknowledge that it may be difficult for anyone to make calls of such impact that will affect a huge population.”

The well-spoken senior has her sights set on a career teaching English in either a high school or collegiate setting. Her colleges of interest are UC Berkeley, UCLA, Stanford or Johns Hopkins University.

“From there I hope to attend graduate school to do research and continue my studies in order to attain a PhD,” she shared. “I am also incredibly interested in journalism and creative non-fiction writing.”

In the meantime, Pabalan continues to enjoy her classroom time and her – however slight – down time.

“Down time is such a rare occurrence for me,” Pabalan acknowledged. “When I can find it, though, I enjoy reading almost anything that I can get my hands on, be it magazines, novels of online sources.

“To be truthful, however, about 65 percent of the down time that I have is spent thinking about approaching projects and events, either academically or extracurricular,” she continued. “Finding time to just become excited about my future is a huge motivator for me to keep pursing the things that I do.”