Meet the New Student Board Members
By John Rieping, Executive Administrative AssistantON FEB. 25, the MUSD Board of Trustees unanimously adopted Board Bylaw 9150, which defined a new trustee role for high school students. Following interviews in mid-September, the Board appointed four student trustees and three alternate trustees on Sept. 22 to represent the district’s high schools, including Alternative Education, for the 2020-2021 school year. These student board members are the first student trustees in Madera County history, according to Superintendent Todd Lile. While most of the trustees are seniors or juniors, the trustee from Matilda Torres High School is a freshman. THS, the district’s newest high school, only has first and second-year students. Only two of those students at a time will represent their schools as trustees at any regular Board meeting, and they will exit around 9:30 p.m. even if it isn’t finished. Student trustees can submit items to the Board meeting agenda and can vote on agenda items, but those “preferential votes” won’t affect whether items pass or fail. Outside of Board meetings, each student will lead a Student Voice forum with classmates for their school and will also meet quarterly with the superintendent.
My name is Kiyana Granados and I was born and raised in Madera. I have been a part of the Madera Unified School District since elementary school as I have attended Lincoln Elementary, Thomas Jefferson Middle School, and am now a senior at Madera High School. In school, I am involved with many clubs such as CSF, ASB, Class of 2021, Block M, and BSU. I am also a two-sport athlete as I play water polo and swim.
With my new position as a student board member, I am working towards making a difference in order to encourage those who are afraid to use their voice as well as to give everyone an equal opportunity to succeed no matter their background/circumstance. I believe that there is always room for improvement and, if we all continue to work together, we can succeed in change for the better. I am very proud to be able to hold this position and I hope that I am able to bring forth new ideas that can benefit every member of the district.
I was born and raised in Madera, California, and started my school years as a proud Lincoln Lion, then a proud TJ Patriot, and I have now become a proud Madera High Coyote. I will be completing my high school journey shortly as I am a senior this year. After much dedication to my extra-curricular activities (4H, Varsity Cheer and Swim, CSF, and ASB) and academics (taking Advanced Placement and Honor courses), I have learned an abundance of leadership skills and qualities that will assist me in the near future. I hope to become a Pediatric Occupational Therapist where I plan to not only teach the necessary concepts, but also inspire my patients to know that their hopes and goals are never and will never be out of reach. As a Student Board Member Alternate, I am prepared to step up to the plate when my fellow trustee is unavailable and be there every step of the way, assisting my fellow trustee in any area needed. I hope to amplify student voices and create a student environment full of respect, positivity, and unity. I hope to cause an impact on my school and community through my position in the Board. I am humbled by this opportunity I have been granted and I look forward to what my final year has to offer.
My name is Jeremiah Goodman. I am 17 years old and currently a senior at Madera South High School. I was born in Fresno, California, but my family moved to Madera in 2008. I attended James Madison in kindergarten, Parkwood Elementary from 1st through 6th grade, Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. I am a member of the Class of 2021 club (where I am the Junior Class President), School ambassadors, and AVID Class Club (where I am currently president).
I always saw the value of volunteering and working since an early age. I volunteered my time by dog sitting, helping with school homecoming floats, summer internships, which I had done since I was a freshman in high school by helping sell food at school football games, and much more. I have always fought for racial equity. As a freshman, I was a shy and quiet young man who dealt with racism and discrimination, but I did not let that stop me from speaking up and making a difference. In June, 2020, I assisted in the organization of the Black Lives Matter March in Madera, in which organizations in the community came together and shared their support for equality. As I progressed through high school, I started to find my voice, I started to become more outspoken and involved. Being more involved helped me realize that my voice and actions hold power and that I should utilize them in a positive way whenever I can.
My philosophy is that all human beings should treat each other equally, no matter what positions they hold or how much money they have. At the end of the day, we will all end up in the same place no matter what we do. I believe that when people come together and love one another, this world may change for the better, and the future generations will not have to fight this prolonged battle of hate.
My purpose as a Board member is to ensure that all students from all backgrounds are heard and have a platform to amplify their voices. I want to ensure that Madera Unified is the perfect place for students alike to grow in an environment that is welcoming, safe, and fair.
Moving forward, I plan to attend a historically black college or university to become a Computer Scientist to help the world advance in new, innovative and convenient ways. My goal is to one day move to New York and own a multi-purpose technology company.
My name is Gladys Torres, I am 16 years old and currently a junior at Madera South High School. Born and raised in Madera, I wish to become a person the Madera community will never forget. Along with giving back to my community, I wish to pursue my dream of becoming a politician or educator who will eventually make change on a national level.
I plan to achieve positive change in schools within the district and provide a voice for students who believe they don’t have one. I believe it is important to implement the voices of students because students will be the ones most affected and adults may not be as aware of the effects. By having students work alongside the trustees, changes and perspectives may change the way a decision would be looked at. I desire for schools to eventually be filled with motivated and positive students. I believe that will only happen if change happens. I look forward to gaining insight and knowledge on how decisions are made. I hope to learn and grow as a person along with my fellow trustees, knowing this experience may not only change my life, but my peers’ lives as well.
I, Annelise (Annie) Stephens, am a freshman at Torres High School. I was elected as a Student Board Member to represent my school in September 2020. I was born and raised in Madera, California, and spent my elementary school years at Parkwood and Berenda, and my middle school years at Jack G. Desmond Middle School.
I hold several offices at Torres High School: vice president of Activities, secretary at Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) club, and at Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club. I also attend other club meetings at my school and have reached out to teachers at Jack G Desmond Middle School to volunteer, and to find new ways to get involved and help out other committees.
My purpose for being a Student Board Member is to give a voice to those in need. Through my school years, I have always found it difficult to reach out and say something because, when I wanted to make a difference, someone said, “Oh you can’t change that “ or “Rules are rules.” Because the type of person I am, I believe rules can be changed. I want to be the voice for those who feel the same way! Every student is equal and all students matter. I want to make a difference for all people, starting with the future.
My name is Aaliyah Basques and I am a Senior at Ripperdan High School. I am proud to say I have been a Madera Unified student my whole life! I attended John Adams, Millview, Berenda, and Parkwood Elementary schools, MLK Middle School, Madera High School, Madera South High School and Furman High School, but I consider Ripperdan to be “my home”. The highlights of my time at Ripperdan have been serving my community by volunteering at Castle Air Museum, cleaning the San Joaquin with the “River Tree” project, working on the Ripperdan “chicken project”, co-authoring the children’s book “Finding Farmer Tim”, and being an Office Assistant.
I have also been a member of Ripperdan’s National History Day team competing at the State level. I wanted to become a Student Board member because I attended many Madera Unified schools and have a lot of experiences as a student, and can use those experiences to represent other students. I enjoy serving my community, and being a Board Member allows me to give back.
I was born in Fresno, California, but I have lived in Madera my entire life. I attended George Washington Elementary School, Thomas Jefferson Middle School and began my high school journey at Madera High in the Fall of 2017. I transferred to Mountain Vista High School in the Fall of 2019 where I am a senior this year.
I love to learn about different cultures and help my community through community service. I also enjoy listening to music in my leisure time. I serve as a member of the Mountain Vista’s School Site Council. As a Junior, I was part of the Leadership Class at Mountain Vista High School. I was also the treasurer and in charge of the finances for the class and participated in the After School Program. I plan to continue my education and become a nurse and eventually work at Valley Children’s Hospital.
I wanted to become a Madera Unified Student Board Member so that I can learn about what the functions of the School Board are, and to provide input as a student in the Madera Unified School District. I want to be a voice for students and parents that are part of the alternative education system.