Published Sunday, October 28, 2012
By REBECCA LEFTWICH
As a future teacher, Faith Strickland has some things she would like to discuss with State School Superintendent John Barge – how Georgia intends to make more teaching jobs available to college graduates, for example.
The East Coweta High School junior will get her chance as part of Barge’s 50-member, statewide Student Advisory Council. Strickland, 17, was named to the council last week.
“It was very difficult to choose the members of the Student Advisory Council because there were so many great applications,” Barge said as he announced the students chosen for the honor. “I’m excited about working with this group of students because I know they will be prepared to share their ideas to make education work for all students.”
As a member of the council, Strickland will meet with Barge twice during the 2012-13 school year to offer her views on how state policies are having an impact in the classroom. The Student Advisory Council will directly address other education-related issues throughout the year, as well as serving as student ambassadors.
“The Student Advisory Council allows me to hear directly from students in our schools and discuss major initiatives with them,” Superintendent Barge said. “The council also gives students the opportunity to share with me their ideas and concerns, which we can use to shape future state policies.”
That suits Strickland just fine as a student in the Central Educational Center’s Teacher Pipeline program, which places future educators as interns in Coweta County School System classrooms to learn about teaching from the inside out. This semester, Strickland is serving as an intern at her former elementary school, Welch, and says she has some issues she’d like to see addressed.
“I would like see high schools be more involved in helping students determine what they are going to do after they graduate and help them achieve those goals,” said Strickland, the daughter of Gregory and Caroline Winsper of Newnan and Brad and Lori Strickland of Dallas, Georgia. “I would like schools to encourage more participation in community activities – Relay for Life, can-a-thons, smaller sporting events, etc.”
A teen volunteer at St. George Catholic Church and Relay for Life participant, Strickland also said she would like for high schools to “foster a safer and more of a “family”-like environment for students and teachers.”
In fact, family is the very reason the former high school basketball player applied for a spot on Barge’s council.
“I decided not to play basketball in school this year, and my mom said I had to get involved in other activities,” Strickland said. “I thought being on the advisory council would be a good opportunity to learn about the educational process in Georgia. I really wasn’t sure what this would involve, but I’m excited to have been chosen.”
More than 750 Georgia students from 121 districts applied to be a member of the Student Advisory Council. Students were chosen based on the strength of their essay answers, and those named to the council will meet Nov. 28 at the state Department of Education offices in Atlanta.
Meanwhile, Strickland will juggle her high school coursework, internship responsibilities, service projects and interests and normal teenage life with her job as a hostess at Partner’s Pizza in Summergrove.
“I have always thought that it is not just the responsibility of my parents to pay for all those things I have wanted,” Strickland said. “Therefore I have always worked various jobs to help out.”
What is she aiming for?
“I will be using the money I make to help pay for my college education,” said Strickland who plans to pursue a career in early childhood education. “I am a huge Auburn fan and would love to attend college there. War Eagle!”