Weekly Feature

2015-04-17 / Local News

Student serves on board as ex-officio member


Gerlach Gerlach After becoming involved in student government as a freshman at Sweet Home High School, Joe Gerlach realized he had a passion for being a leader and helping others.

Now a senior at the school, Gerlach is an ex-officio member of the Sweet Home School Board and has had the opportunity to act as a liaison between the student body and school trustees.

While he doesn’t have voting rights, he regularly provides input from students on subjects affecting the district.

At the district, the opportunity to be an ex-officio board member is provided to each president of the All Class Leadership Council.

“When I was a freshman, I said to myself, I definitely want to have that position and be able to work with the School Board,” said Gerlach, who is the council’s current president.

Gerlach said the members of the School Board are “all very experienced people” who work well together. He added that when the board examined the possibility of moving from nine to eight periods during each school day, he was the students’ voice in opposition to the proposal.

“The student reaction led to the board looking into it more,” Gerlach said. “Some students in [advanced placement] and some music classes may have lost out on taking some of their electives because of only having eight periods to work with.”

Gerlach, who is enrolled in three AP courses, said that after he discussed the concerns of students with the School Board, the members decided to hold off restructuring the periods until the 2016-17 academic year.

Captain of the school’s cross-country team, Gerlach also runs indoor and outdoor track for Sweet Home. In addition, he was previously a cast member of Sweet Home’s annual musical productions.

In the fall, he will be attending Cornell University, where he intends to focus his studies in the area of genetics.

“After I graduate, hopefully I will be able to make an impact on helping people with diseases,” Gerlach said.

In recalling his time on the School Board, Gerlach said the members are extremely willing to compromise and work together to do what’s right for the district.

“It’s great that we have a board who wants to get things done for the best needs of the district,” he added.

(Story ideas for this feature can be sent to The Ken-Ton Bee, 5564 Main St., Williamsville, or call 204-4920.)

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