Cory Fitzsimmons, a senior at Elizabethton High School, was selected from an extensive process that ended with an election by the student body. He will be a voice for the students to provide direct and unfiltered communication between students and members of the school board.
At the start of the Tuesday’s meeting, board Chairman Rita Booher welcomed Fitzsimmons. She said that in accordance with the city charter, Fitzsimmons does not have a vote on the board, “but he has a voice.”
Fitzsimmons explained to the board how any senior could apply for the position. All who applied were considered and finalists were elected by their peers. In his application, Fitzsimmons wrote that the new liaison position “is an opportunity to set precedent for change in education systems nationwide, and that will lead to positive change in general due to the next generation having a better education.”
The idea to establish a student liaison is yet another part of the student-conceived Bartleby School Project, which has been recognized by the XQ Superschool Project with an award of $200,000 to Elizabethton.
After his election, Fitzsimmons received a briefing of board operations from Director of Schools Corey Gardenhour and Booher. Fitzsimmons said he understands it is a big responsibility, and he is excited to make a positive impact. He has been preparing by studying school board policy and structure, and he has been discussing items with other students that they want brought to the board.
Fitzsimmons is a founding member of the EHS Computer Club as well as being a member of Chess and Gaming Club, Power Lifting Club and National Honor Society. In addition, he is involved with advanced drama and recently served as stage manager for the drama “Peter/Wendy.”
Booher said the liaison position will give perspective into how policies affect students. She hopes students who may not feel anyone is listening will feel that they do have a voice and will become more engaged.
“I think these bright young minds are really going to challenge us, and I’m really excited to see how all this will play out over the next few years,” she said. “Cory is very bright and I’m excited to see what he can contribute to the board.”