‘Opportunities to have a voice’: Students create advisory committee, hold end-of-year student panel to amplify student voices | TheUnion.com

‘Opportunities to have a voice’: Students create advisory committee, hold end-of-year student panel to amplify student voices

Sam Corey
Staff Writer


Contact Maggie Aguilar-Diaz: maguilardiaz@njuhsd.com

It may be fair to say that Maggie Aguilar-Diaz does more than most to listen to, understand and amplify the voices of her peers.

When the current student-board member for the Nevada Joint Union High School District and rising senior at Ghidotti Early College High School was campaigning for the student-board member position, she went to speak with and understand students at schools that often receive less of a spotlight in the area, like Silver Springs High School and North Point Academy.

This school year, Aguilar-Diaz has been connecting with students via social media as she promised during her student-board member campaign. But recently, she’s tried to go a step further. In January, she and North Point Academy student Gracie Foust helped form a Student Advisory Committee for the district to get a better understanding of students’ perspectives on a monthly basis.

“I wanted to give students the opportunities to have a voice,” said Aguilar-Diaz.

Foust agreed, adding that she joined the group to amplify student voices, learn from them and to advocate on their behalf.

“I’ve loved going because I really want to make a change,” she said.

Over the school year, students discussed everything from mental health, to academic wellbeing and, due to the distance learning model, the changed pass/no pass grading policy.

In early June, Aguilar-Diaz and Foust hosted an end-of-year student panel virtually to discuss these issues in more depth, and invited Nevada Joint Union High School District Superintendent Brett McFadden to expound further on why the administration made certain decisions.

Aguilar-Diaz said these meetings allowed students to air their frustrations. She said many expressed the desire for more social activities, if only online, as well as more structure with distance learning to help them navigate the anomalous period.

“It was a lot of sadness and concern for the future,” said Aguilar-Diaz.

Although Aguilar-Diaz may not be a student-board member next year, she and Foust both plan to continue participating in the Student Advisory Committee — Foust even wants to start her own committee just for North Point. They both hope to create a space where students feel comfortable sharing the successes and challenges of being in high school during this moment.

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey, email scorey@theunion.com or call 530-477-4219.

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