Students to Represent Their Classmates’ Interests on Yelm School Board

Natalie McLaughlin and Kya Ramirez, both seniors, are expected to serve as co-chairs of a non-voting sixth seat throughout the remainder of the school year. Azariah Carter, a junior, is expected to represent the seat next year and currently serve as a representative in training. Skylar Myers, also a junior, is expected to serve as Carter’s alternate.

Two Yelm High School seniors will be sworn in as student representatives to the Yelm Community Schools Board of Directors after being chosen during a regular meeting on Thursday, Sept. 24. 

Interviews took place publicly during the meeting, which was held via Zoom video conferencing. The school board initially planned on selecting one senior to represent the student body and a junior to work with them, but deliberated during a private executive session to allow all four of the candidates that interviewed to play a part in the process. 

Natalie McLaughlin and Kya Ramirez, both seniors, are expected to serve as co-chairs of a non-voting sixth seat throughout the remainder of the school year. Azariah Carter, a junior, is expected to fill the seat next year and serve as a representative in training. Skylar Myers, also a junior, is expected to serve as Carter’s alternate. 

Ramirez and McLaughlin will be sworn in at the next school board meeting on Oct. 8 by Yelm Mayor JW Foster. 

“This is a special year and we want them both on here to grow our program,” said President Denise Hendrickson. “Welcome, all four students.” 

Prior to being interviewed by the board, candidates had to submit an application and a prompted essay. Students were required to be academically eligible and commit to attend regular school board meetings. 

The school board originally planned to host these interviews and choose the senior and junior students back in May, but meeting restrictions caused by the COVID-19 health crisis delayed the process. 

McLaughlin currently serves as the ASB president and the FFA vice president. She told the school board she has a 3.96 GPA. She has also worked as a volunteer for the Yelm Boys and Girls Club. In the interview with the school board, she described herself as a positive and organized person. 

Ramirez is well-known for her work with Yelm FFA and competing on the Tornados’ track and field and cross country teams. She was also named as Yelm Rotary Club’s December 2019 student of the month, and currently serves on the Thurston County Fair Board. 

Carter told the school board that he grew up around sports and uses his competitive drive in both school and outside the classroom. He serves as a tutor, teaching both his peers and younger students, and he’s the high school’s first-ever male cheerleader. Carter also said he’s involved in both FBLA and Yelm’s chapter of the National Honor Society. 

Myers described herself to the board as a diligent and passionate student, as well as an advocate for her fellow students. She’s served as an ASB officer, and currently is a member of Yelm High School’s People of Color Club. 

Board members, after voting unanimously to extend offers to all four students, gave congratulations to the students. 

In a Facebook post after the meeting, the school district said that “student voice will be an important part of the board’s work moving forward.” 

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