DERIDDER, La. (Fort Polk Progress) - After being selected as the 2019 Beauregard Parish School Board student representative in January, DeRidder High School student Courtney Smith went straight to work.
The BPSB student representative is selected from the juniors in the parish. Candidates undergo an interview process, and then one student is chosen for the position.
"We look for a very well-rounded individual who can actually connect and communicate with all facets of our schools and our student body throughout the parish--including elementary all the way up to 12th grade--because we want every student to have a voice," said Tammy Crain, who oversees the BPSB student representative selection. "Another quality we really look for is that the student is a servant leader."
Crain said Smith met all the criteria and is excelling in her new position.
"Courtney is just an outstanding individual. She has so much to bring to the table, and she's very professional and conscientious about her work ethic," Crain said. "She has just come in and she can pretty much communicate with anyone and that's what we love about her. And that's important that she can communicate with adults, as well as get on the level with students of all ages. She just represents everything we want a student in Beauregard Parish to be."
Smith was excited to take on the BPSB student representative position.
"I thought it was an excellent opportunity to use my voice and the connection that I do have with my peers to make improvements in the schools and communicate with the board members," Smith said. "It also allows me to gain experience and learn things about the school system that I wouldn't otherwise be exposed to."
Smith's responsibilities as student representative include attending BPSB meetings as a non-voting school board member, briefing the board at meetings of important events, accomplishments, and news from schools in the parish, and organizing a spring service project with all the Beauregard Parish schools.
"One of my main goals is to represent the students in the parish well," Smith said. "I want to get feedback from students at different schools--things that they have concerns about--so I can bring that to the meetings and discuss that with the board and just try to connect the schools more."
She also wants to show her support to the military-connected students attending school in the parish.
"I definitely want to make them feel welcome when they come to DeRidder and I think that it's important to get to know them," Smith said. "I've talked to my Military Family Life Counselor about some different things we do for the military students in April because that is Month of the Military Child. I definitely want to get involved in those events so I can connect to the military students and reach out to them."
Smith wants BPSB students to know that she is here for them.
"I am here to serve the students," Smith said. "So, if they need anything or have any concerns, they can reach out to me."