“First and foremost, it’s an honor to have one student representing your school and we get two for the second year in a row and so for me, that tells a lot about these individuals and that the [Georgia Department of Education] thinks enough of Cartersville to have two of our students on this advisory board,” CHS Principal Steven Butler said. “I think it gives us the opportunity to have two level-headed individuals who are good students to share the perspective of a community like Cartersville; we are not part of a big system and maybe our needs are unique compared to a big system like Gwinnett or Fulton or DeKalb or somewhere like that.”
He continued, “I think it’s also good to be able to have guys like these who can come back and say ‘Hey, Mr. Butler, I heard this, this is what they’re talking about at the state [level], this is what’s going on,’ and it facilitates that two-way communication.”
WHS Principal Melissa Williams also said she appreciates the opportunity for one of her students to serve on the council.
“It’s great to have some representation [at the state level],” Williams said. “One thing I like about the superintendent’s advisory council is he actually talks to the students about what’s going on in their buildings, how the policies of the DOE are affecting curriculum or activities at the school.”
Anderson said he was inspired by future generations to apply for the council.
“I really want to make a difference in our school systems so that everyone after this can have as good of an experience in Georgia’s education system as I have,” he said.
Anderson also is taking classes at Georgia Highlands College. He is involved in many school activities, including C.A.T.S. and serving as senior editor of the school’s yearbook.
Hopper said he learned about the program from his older brother Christian Hopper, who previously served on the council along with Hall.
“It’s an honor [to serve on the council]. There are a bunch of kids trying to get into it and I’m taken back by it,” Hopper said. “It’s a privilege, really.”
Hopper said he looks forward to learning more about some of the political issues surrounding Georgia schools and bringing back information he said he hopes will benefit CHS.
During the application process, students are required to write an essay with this year’s topic based on the motto “Making Education Work for All Georgians,” but with an emphasis current and future students, Hall said.
“... I discussed more in-classroom, hands-on learning. I discussed having more laboratories and field trips and allowing more allocation of funding to go toward that and allotting more time in the standards for getting deeper in the details,” Hall said. “[For example], in U.S. History we cover the American Revolution, but we don’t cover the American Revolution in terms that we don’t dig in deeper; we don’t learn who George Washington was.”
Both students are highly involved in school activities, ranging from athletics to academic distinction.
“The Student Advisory Council is a great way for me to hear directly from students in our schools and discuss major initiatives with them,” Barge said in a press release. “Having student input during the policy-making process is invaluable. The students are ultimately the ones impacted by our work, and I want them to share their ideas and concerns as we address many critical issues.”