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Oswego SD308 ambassadors voice student perspective

OSWEGO – Two Oswego School District 308 students were telling truth to power this past academic year as ambassadors to the Board of Education.

High school students Aanya Roy and Colton Sannito led an advisory committee, worked on a student survey and brought the perspectives of their classmates directly to school board meetings.

Roy, 17, just completed her junior year at Oswego East High School, while Sannito, 18, has graduated from Oswego High School and is ready to attend college in the fall.

The two were the district’s first-ever student ambassadors, selected from a large field of applicants. They were honored by the school board and district administration at their last board meeting on June 6.

“It was a way for us to reach out and for student voices to be elevated,” Sannito said. “The board members were incredibly supportive. They are listening to the student voice and taking it into consideration.”

Roy said the experience of participating in the board meetings meant professional development and building her public speaking skills.

“I learned what it really means to promote change and what the board could do,” Roy said. “I love public speaking and putting myself in new environments.”

Working with Jadon Waller, the district’s director of diversity, equity, inclusion and family engagement, the students developed a student survey.

The results identified sexual harassment as a major concern of students at the two high schools.

Students also focused on the consistency of homework assignments from teachers, along with a dress code that students find unnecessarily restrictive.

Roy and Sannito said sexual harassment was the overarching theme of the survey results and they brought an action plan to the board for revisions to its written policy.

“We knew right away the big struggle was a lack of understanding and communication,” Sannito said.

The survey also showed that the dress code irks many students.

“It’s restrictive in several ways that are not beneficial or necessary,” Roy said.

Sannito will be attending Auburn University in Alabama this fall, where he will study construction and building science, with the professional goal of owning a construction firm building homes.

Roy will be entering her senior year at OEHS, with plans for a career in the health care field.

She is already a certified nursing assistant and is working to publish a medically oriented paper in the Journal of Student Research.

Roy is interested in biomedical-engineering and is eyeing the University of Illinois-Champaign as a possible next step in her academic career.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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