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Student Takes Seat On School Board
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Oakdale High School senior Michael Homer, right, is sworn in as the OJUSD Board of Trustees student board member for 2009-2010 by trustee Mike Tozzi at a recent school board meeting. - photo by Dawn M. Henley/The Leader

It is a rarity to have a student have a seat on a school board, and even more rare for that student to have a vote. Oakdale High School senior Michael Homer was recently sworn in as a member of the Oakdale Joint Unified School District’s Board of Trustees to serve as a voice for the student body in the district and to vote on issues that come before the board.

“Michael is not only the student representative to the board, he is the students’ representative on the board,” said OJUSD Superintendent Fred Rich. “He provides the board an additional set of eyes and ears to report back to the board on student activities.”

Homer is a member of the OHS Academic Decathlon team, is in Leadership, takes Advanced Placement classes, and has also competed on the school’s soccer and track teams.

He reported that he was encouraged to apply for the position by former Aca Deca teammate and last year’s student board member Evan Boggs.

“I thought I would check it out. It seemed like a cool job,” Homer said. “I could have a voice in how our school was run. So I thought I’d give it a shot.”

He went through a process that included an application, collecting teacher recommendations, and interviewing with a panel. He said he was happy and honored to have the appointment.

“I hope it will be an opportunity to step outside my ‘bubble’ because I’m supposed to be an accurate representative for what’s going on at the school, so I’ll have to talk to a lot of people,” Homer said. “I hope it will give me a chance to be a better leader.”

He acknowledged that the role comes with a lot of responsibility but is looking forward to the challenge.

“I hope I can give the students of Oakdale a voice in what’s going on and how the school’s run, how the money is spent… I don’t have a specific agenda for what I want to accomplish. I want to do what’s best for the school as a whole,” Homer said.

“A more important function that Michael serves is he shares the feelings and opinions of the student body in general on crucial issues being considered by the board that affect the students,” Rich added.

As far as working with the other board members and the district office, Homer knows that he’ll be in good company and have an opportunity to learn a lot.

“It’ll teach me how the adult world functions, how to talk to adults in a business manner or any manner,” he said, adding that he can use those skills in college and beyond.

For college, Homer plans to stay in California and is undecided between Cal Berkeley or Stanford. He also hasn’t yet decided on a future career and is keeping his options open so far for a college major.