Senior Kaitlyn Vincent ensures that student voices are heard as a student board representative


Photo courtesy of D99

Kaitlyn Vincent (middle left) poses for picture with past principal Edward Schwartz (Left), DGN student representative Luka Paulau (middle right) and DGN principal Courtney Dement.

Amanda Despres, Social Media Director and Business Manager

Back in May of 2022, senior Kaitlyn Vincent was elected to serve as the student representative for the District 99 Board of Education. Being the voice and face of the entire student body, Vincent is required to attend the two school board meetings every month. Vincent presents her report on student concerns, events occurring within the school and opinions students may have on new policies during these meetings.

Having been interested in possibly pursuing a career within politics or law, Vincent knew she wanted to apply for this position.The interview process entailed sitting down with past principal Edward Schwartz and current principal Arwen Lyp.

In a recent interview with Lyp, she described what herself and Schwartz were looking for in the right candidate for this position.

“The number one thing that we were looking for was someone who could really represent the entire student body. So someone relatable, who has their toe dipped in a lot of different places. So sometimes we have a rockstar student athlete or someone who is amazingly gifted in leading a band but if they only do those things, it’s not negative on them at all but might be difficult for them to pull in the thoughts and feelings of the entire student body,” Lyp said.

Vincent being involved in clubs such as the senior class board and being a member of the girls varsity basketball team has helped her step into the representative role “just flawlessly.”

“She has just come in and done all those things that we were looking for in a candidate,” Lyp said.

Another requirement pertaining to Vincent’s position includes consulting with students in the building in order to get their opinion as well. Mother of Vincent, Hilary Vincent, may be biased but has seen how her daughter is able to set aside her own opinions to listen to others.

“Kaitlyn has a firm stance on her views of all sorts of issues but has the respect to let others talk and is a great listener. I really do believe that Kaitlyn has the right mindset and demeanor to represent the DGS student body,” Hilary Vincent said.

As well as speaking for the student body, she needs to be aware of what is happening around the school to make her monthly reports that she presents at these meetings.

“A few weeks prior to the actual board meeting itself I write a little report on different things going on in the school: different student concerns and problems as well as just informing about the fun stuff that’s going on at South, like homecoming week and different celebrations we have within the building. I then meet with our principal, and go over what we are presenting and she gives me feedback on how I should phrase things and some things that I should add,” Vincent said.

Vincent expressed in a recent interview how she believes having a student’s voice at these board meetings is so beneficial when it comes to making decisions for the school. Vincent described herself as the “insider” for the administration.

“They [the administration] don’t really have an inside look of student life within this building, so they don’t really know what it’s like. In order to provide them a better mindset of policy changes that should be made regarding our school, they need an inside look, and I am that insider who is able to give them a better perspective so that they can make accurate changes that will create a better atmosphere for our school,” Vincent said.

In addition to the professional responsibilities she holds in this role, Vincent has also made personal connections with the people she works with, and has gained knowledge from their expertise.

“I really like it so far. I’ve gotten to make a lot of new connections with the board members, with people I didn’t even know before, and they have very good knowledge and experience with this different world of politics even though it’s at the school level. I can’t wait to learn more and make even more connections with different people throughout the year,” Vincent said.

In the upcoming spring, Lyp will start the interview process for next year’s student representative, and as of now she will be making no changes to the program.

“Right now I’m very impressed with how it works, so my hope for the future is that the student board members continue to have a prominent place at every board meeting, that we continue to have students that are interested in doing it and that we continue to have board meetings be a positive place where students feel comfortable sharing their feedback,” Lyp said.