Though the new school year hasn’t started off like anyone expected, Caroline Krum is more than qualified to serve as Oakdale Joint Unified School District’s newest student board member.
Krum, an AP student, Academic Decathlon competing team member, president of Service Club, and highly involved in art at Oakdale High School, fits all the typical qualities of a student board member and is bringing a unique tenacity to the table.
When she realized it would be difficult to get ahold of students because of the new online learning format, she created a survey for students to fill out remotely. Questions included check-ins: how were students coping with not meeting up in person? How’s their mental health faring? Did they have any concerns they wanted to bring to the board?
With over 400 responses collected, Krum had an admirable report to bring to the school board for her first meeting as the student board member on Aug. 10. Though she was told she wouldn’t be able to meet with the rest of the board in person and would instead have to call in, her report was so impactful that they added an extra action item for the next meeting regarding students’ mental health.
Rewind to a little over a year ago: Krum had no idea she’d be doing online learning and delivery, let alone also be the student board representative.
“I had no idea what it was,” she confessed of the role.
She found herself window painting last year for homecoming and the leadership class teacher, Guy Fowler, approached her, asking if she would join the class for her senior year. Hesitant at first, Krum didn’t give a solid answer. Then, she was approached again with a suggestion to run for student representative.
“I really never heard of it, but once I looked into the position, I said ‘that’s what I have to do,’” she shared.
Krum wants to go to college – though she’s unsure of exactly where yet, leaning towards Utah schools – to become a special education teacher. This role on the school board won’t be just another position to add to her résumé, it’ll be an opportunity to learn how schools function and education works.
“I’m thinking of special education for my major and maybe minoring in art because there’s a huge correlation between disabilities in special ed and art therapy, so I think that’s super helpful in the classroom,” she explained.
AP Studio Art and AP Art History were two of the many AP classes Krum has been involved in. Along with learning the basics of art each year in Academic Decathlon, Krum started to love learning about the background and history of the art and then being able to take up the brush herself to make her own pieces.
This is perhaps why she is passionate about virtual extracurricular activities. She found that the same clubs she loves and is part of are areas of concern for high schoolers, according to the survey she sent out.
“High school is academics, but it’s so much more than that. It’s so important for programs like the art program, and school sports, and clubs; I’m hearing everyone talk about how they’re missing clubs and want virtual clubs,” she noted.
As schools start to transition into this new way of learning, Krum is hoping that she can help them take a step forward if everything’s going to be online long-term.
“If I could pick any year in high school for this, it wouldn’t be my senior year,” she mused. “But I’d rather be at home safe than be at school and risk getting coronavirus.”
For now, OHS students can be assured that their student board representative is eager to hear their voices during this time, cares for their mental health, and has found a way to do so in the midst of a pandemic.
“I realized no one’s ever asked me personally how I feel about school, what I think,” Krum noticed. “That’s what I want to make different this year; I want to ask students firsthand ... as their mediator, I want their direct response.”
To keep up with Krum’s year as student board representative, be sure to follow along at OJUSD’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/channel/UCZdB-OF9xQSDVe3Csc84K0w or contact Caroline Krum at firstname.lastname@example.org.