MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Sixteen-year-old Noah Branch from Patrick Henry High School in north Minneapolis has a lot on his plate.
He’s not only concerned about his grades, like all students, or possibly finding a prom date — but also the bigger issues plaguing students nowadays.
That’s because he’s the first-ever student representative to be sworn in to the Minneapolis School Board.
“We are very excited to welcome Noah to the board,” board of education chair Jenny Arneson said. “I’m confident he will bring diverse student perspectives to our conversation so we can better serve our youngest constituency.”
The sophomore will have the same duties as a regular board member, except he can’t vote.
He’ll attend monthly school board meetings and really give board members a student’s perspective on key issues. He’ll also give suggestions on developing educational policies and programs.
“I think it’s something that’s been needed there,” Branch said. “I think my voice will be the bridge between the student body and the district. I think it will be great for the board to hear a student’s thoughts firsthand on everything.”
Students, MPS leaders and board members selected Noah after a month-long application process. The group evaluated leadership skills, ability to set and follow through with goals and public-speaking ability before choosing an applicant.
“The idea to even apply was actually brought to me by my own student council and my student council leader,” he said.
Branch’s term as board member ends on Dec. 31, 2015. He’ll be awarded with a $5,000 college scholarship after his term is over. He plans to study medicine at the University of Minnesota.