Congratulations to the 2023-24 Student Advisor and Student Delegates
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower is pictured with the 2023-24 Student Advisor Makenzie Bird of Cherokee HS, left; and Student Delegates, from left front row, Bella Postel of Etowah HS and Gina Ross of Creekview HS; back row, Sophia Aleck of Sequoyah HS, Riley Stray of Woodstock HS and Caleb Lewis of River Ridge HS.
The Cherokee County School Board at its Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023 regular meeting welcomed its new Student Advisor and Student Delegates for the school year!
The School Board has included a Student Advisor position on its board since 1999, and, for the past 13 years, a Student Delegate from each high school also has been selected. These outstanding high school seniors serve for one year to give input and feedback to the School Board and to the Superintendent of Schools and his senior staff. The advisor role, which includes the opportunity to sit on the dais with the school board, is rotated among the district’s high schools.
This school year’s Student Advisor is Makenzie Bird of Cherokee HS, and this year’s Delegates are: of Creekview HS, Gina Ross; of Etowah HS, Bella Postel; of River Ridge HS, Caleb Lewis; of Sequoyah HS, Sophia Aleck; of Woodstock HS, Riley Stray.
The Student Delegates were introduced at Thursday’s school board meeting and, prior to the regular meeting, met with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower to learn more about their important role. The Delegates attend all School Board meetings as student representatives, and throughout the year meet in work sessions with the Superintendent’s senior staff to advise them on important issues, ranging from the code of conduct to School Nutrition menus. Each school determines its own selection process; students interested in the opportunity are encouraged to speak with their principal. The innovative engagement program earned the Georgia School Boards Association’s Leading Edge Award.
“Our Student Delegates serve as a critically important part of our governance model as they share the student voice with the school board, me and my senior staff,” Dr. Hightower said. “Their feedback matters and influences the decisions we make to provide them and their peers with the best education possible. This year’s delegates follow the long tradition of bringing impressive resumes to their roles. They are leaders in their schools and communities and now will be leaders districtwide through this role.”
Learn more about this year’s delegates:
Cherokee HS: Makenzie Bird
Editor of Cherokee’s school newspaper and an Enjoy Cherokee Magazine intern, Makenzie attended the Governor’s Honors Program for Communicative Arts. She is a member of Beta Club, student government, Beat Out Cancer Club and National English Honor Society. A 13-year piano and dance student, Makenzie served as page at the Georgia House of Representatives and is a UGA Merit Scholar, Superintendent’s Key Scholar and Young Author’s Fair regional winner. Learn more here.
Creekview HS: Gina Ross
A scholar athlete, Gina competes on Creekview’s varsity cross country and track and field teams and has earned athletic and academic letters. She has served as class president for four years, as well as serving as National Social Studies Honor Society president, National French Honor Society secretary and yearbook editor. She is a member of Beta Club and National Honor Society, volunteers with her school’s food pantry and with her church and works part-time for Publix.
Etowah HS: Bella Postel
Co-captain of Etowah’s swim and dive team, Bella is a national group swimmer for Chattahoochee Gold Swimming and has earned two athletic letters and an academic letter. She is a member of student government, National Honor Society, National English Honor Society and Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica. An intern for the Cherokee Tribune & Ledger News and student at The School of The New York Times, Bella works as a freelance journalist. She is a Sequoyah Regional Library System Teen Advisory Board Member, has earned the Eagle Award and UGA Certificate of Merit and volunteers with groups including Friends of Refugees.
River Ridge HS: Caleb Lewis
Caleb is a two-year varsity letterman on River Ridge’s baseball team and a member of its Student Athlete Leadership Team, Student Government Association and National Honor Society. A Superintendent’s Key Scholar, he has earned the UGA Certificate of Merit and is a College Board tutor for students worldwide preparing for the SAT. Caleb volunteers with Our Lady of the Mountain Catholic Church.
Sequoyah HS: Sophia Aleck
An active volunteer, Sophia gives her time to Sequoyah’s coffee shop, mentors elementary school students and organizes a sock and toy drive. She is a member of Key Club, Beta Club, student government, Journey Club and National Honor Society. She has earned the UGA Certificate of Merit and works part-time for Little River Marina. Learn more here.
Woodstock HS: Riley Stray
Voted Woodstock’s “Most Positive” varsity sidelines cheerleader, Riley also is a varsity competition, All-Star Cheer and Game Day cheerleader and coaches middle school cheer. She is a member of student government, National Honor Society, National Latin Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta math honor society and Latin Club and has earned an academic letter. Riley volunteers with the Elves Club and with Reader Leaders, through which she reads to elementary school classes, and works part-time for OneLife Kids Club.