On July 1st, 2020, I took the most important student position in the county: Student Member of the Board of Education. Over the past year, there have been a myriad of challenges, including COVID, learning loss recovery, equity discussions, and policy analysis and development. The recent election of the next Student Member of the Washington County Board of Education, Tanish Gupta, has allowed me to reflect deeply on the legacy I wish to leave behind in regards to student leadership in Washington County.
As the setting sun rears its head on another school year, students’ minds tend to wander. As we confront the ever-present uncertainties of life, we must examine the dawn of our potential legacy. The term legacy is colloquially defined as “a thing handed down by a predecessor”. As soon as one hears the definition of legacy, their mind could jump to a plethora of topics. However, my mind comes to only one thing: the legacy of student leadership.
We as students are placed into a precarious position. As our fountain of youth runs dry, it becomes inevitable that we shall no longer be students. But one thing is certain, as students grow and move on, the fire and passion for student leadership never goes away. It is the empirical duty of student leaders to pass on their skills, extensive knowledge, and profound wisdom to the next generation of leaders who will come; for they will be the student leaders of tomorrow. This is what legacy means to me.
As I reflect, I come back to this quote “the purpose of life is not to rush towards the end, but instead is to leave a legacy”. I extend this question to you. When you graduate from Washington County Public Schools, what will be your legacy? What will you pass down to succeeding generations of student leaders?
These questions I pose to you have come directly on the heels of my own reflection journey. When I take a look at my legacy, I could talk about my advocacy for important topics such as budget, or could even talk about policies I have aided in writing and developing. However, when I look back at my most important contribution to WCPS, my legacy, I see advocation for student leadership. Throughout my term, I have included more students in WCPS citizen committees and district committees. This is, without question, my most significant accomplishment. Elevating the student voice, then cementing it into the foundation of WCPS is at heart the main purpose of the SMOB. My predecessor, Chris Mackely, Washington County SMOB, told me “The first and most important word in SMOB is student.” As SMOB, I have always ensured that I put great effort into connecting to students of various ethnicities, cultures, genders, conditions, and backgrounds. Inarguably, ensuring that the student voice is heard is essential and pivotal to a strong school system.
Students of WCPS, I speak to you not only as your SMOB, but also as a fellow student. As the end of my student leadership journey in WCPS draws near, I can assure you that the crimson fire of your continued passion for student leadership will burn brilliantly. Your legacy will guide other student leaders along on their own journey through the ins and outs of student leadership. I urge you to stay strong; continue to persistently advocate for what you believe in and ensure you produce a strong legacy, forged out the eternal fire of student leadership. If you can do that, I assure you, your legacy will never be forgotten.
Kevin A. Bokoum
Student Member of the Washington County Board of Education