Meet our School Board Student Representatives

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Meet our School Board Student Representatives
OSD Student Reps

Each year, two high school juniors or seniors are selected to serve as student representatives on the Olympia School Board.. The students serve in an advisory capacity at board meetings and do not vote. They contribute to discussion by providing student insight and are encouraged to comment about policies, procedures and decisions that affect students. They also serve as a liaison for student leadership at their schools and report to fellow students about the work of the board and district activities.


Student representatives are selected by their high schools on a rotating basis each spring to serve on the board for the following school year. In even-numbered years, selecting high schools are Capital High School and the Olympia Regional Learning Academy. In odd-numbered years, selecting schools are Avanti High School and Olympia High School.


This year’s student representatives are Rebecca McMillin-Hastings, an eleventh grader at Capital High School; and Isabel McClatchey, a twelfth grader at Olympia Regional Learning Academy.


"Ever since my arrival in the Olympia School District almost four years ago, I have had the great fortune to work with amazing student representatives on the school board and this year is no exception,” said Superintendent Patrick Murphy. “Rebecca McMillin-Hastings and Isabel McClatchey have picked up the baton from their predecessors and have strengthened the role of student voice in district decision-making.


Murphy continued, “Rebecca, from her arrival, has been a serious, studious, committed member of our leadership team. She is active in her school and in her community as evidenced by her regional commitment to addressing climate change. But perhaps what I appreciate most about Rebecca is her uncanny ability in so many instances to take whatever topic the board is considering and wrestling with, and frame that subject though the eyes and experience of a student. When she does this, she is not only speaking for herself. Rather she incorporates the stories of her classmates at Capital High School and says it with such clarity and simplicity, that more often than not, it is immensely helpful to the board and myself to land on decisions that are best for students.


“Isabel, representing ORLA, comes from a family of student leaders, including her older sister who preceded her as a board representative. Isabel, during board meetings and in work sessions, is economic with her words and contributions, and subsequently her words carry much weight. As someone who has walked a different path than most students in our pre-K-12 system, she is a voice for those who seek and need an alternative path. She thoughtfully and compassionately presses the board and I to always question the status quo and ask if what we are doing is working for all students. We are so grateful, in this most challenging of school years, to have remarkable, competent, caring student representatives in Rebecca and Isabel. We are a better district because of them."


Student representatives ask thoughtful questions during board presentations that bring new light and clarity to sometimes technical or complex reports, said Director Leslie Huff. Student representatives are also able to effect change. Past students have taken action to raise the level of awareness around issues at the district level, for example, adding a second student representative, and climate change mitigation.


“Students provide invaluable, unfiltered insight into the experiences of students in our schools,” Huff said. “In a typical year, student representatives reach out to student leadership groups around the district to bring greater student voice to board discussions. In this unique time, our student representatives have offered some thoughtful, timely insights around reopening and the social emotional surveying of students during the pandemic.”


Rebecca McMillin-Hastings, Capital High School, 11th grade

Rebecca McMillin-Hastings became interested in the school board after speaking during a board meeting about the district’s policies regarding absences during climate strikes. She learned that student input was heard and respected at board meetings, and she later applied for a student position on the board.


“As a board member I try to understand the different sides of every issue we discuss,” McMillin-Hastings said. “I feel extremely lucky that I have the opportunity to ask questions and fully engage with the materials presented to the board. I try to keep my peers up-to-date, and I welcome any feedback or opinions they can share with me.”


McMillin-Hastings also participates in CHS cross country, CHS Climate Club, Youth Education Communications Outreach, the CHS book club, the Timberland Regional Library Teen Library Council and a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Her future plans include being an author and an activist for climate change.


Isabel McClatchey, Olympia Regional Learning Academy, 12th grade

Isabel McClatchey applied for a position on the school board because she has always enjoyed leadership and hoped to further hone her skills. Her older sister also served as a past student representative on the board.


“As a student representative, I am often asked by board members to give my opinion on matters,” McClatchey said. “Along with asking questions and giving my thoughts, at the end of every official board meeting I give a report about how ORLA is doing and what is going on there.”


McClatchey said that during her time on the board, she’s learned that serving in local government is not easy. “The board of directors has to deal with a lot of difficult situations, but they don’t let those situations get the better of them. They attack the problem head on and seek the advice of those who offer it. They dedicate their time to making the Olympia School District better.”


McClatchey also volunteers as a soccer coach for players under age 8 in the Chinqually Booters Soccer Club. After high school, she is considering attending trade school.


The school board will begin accepting applications for 2021-22 student representatives this spring. Details will be posted on the district website.