Students have as much a stake in their own education and perhaps more than anyone else. In both the middle school and high school, students are trying to build their future selves. They also build opinions and world views that may be different than that of previous generations. However, that does not mean that either one is wrong, yet one often gets discounted.

Multiple controversies over the years when I lived by the Sparta school system come to mind. The first contentious issue is the dress code. The board needs to be actively polling for student opinions on policies that directly affect them on a regular basis. It should never have gotten to a point where protest was the only viable option.

The second is the scheduling controversy before the 2018-2019 school year when Spring break was scheduled the week before AP exams. While the student concerns were eventually upheld, such a decision should not have been rushed and as a voting member of the Board of Education, I would have certainly advised against such a decision.

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One other issue is the way the national student walkouts were handled. While it is within a district’s jurisdiction to hand down a punishment, this is not the optimal way to handle this. It may not feel like it, but it does stifle the expression of students as a punishment closes doors while an understanding and acknowledgement opens them. These three recent events affected the students, yet we were not asked for input. We were either forced to deal with it or counter with public pressure. I wish to build a bridge that would prevent situations from reaching this point, but students need voting power on the Board of Education to do it. That is why I am running as a write-in candidate for the Sparta Board of Education 1-yr term.

My name is Alan Yeung. I graduated from Sparta High School this past June having earned my place as valedictorian. Furthermore, I earned the highest award in high school academia: the United States Presidential Scholar in Career and Technical Education. I am running to be the representative for the students that have ideas but can’t sit on the Board. I am also running to increase public polling in decisions concerning their future. So, I am counting on your vote! On or before November 3, please write-in Alan Yeung under Membership to Board of Education 1-Yr Term and know that your vote is for someone who knows Sparta, its school system, and its students. Student for students!