EAST PALESTINE — Melanie Huffman wants to be that voice in the crowd that makes people stop and think.
The 17-year-old Unity Township girl, a senior in the East Palestine City School District, said she realizes many people, including today’s youths, have opinions about current events although they’re not likely to express those views in public.
“I want to be a leader,” she said. “I want to say what other people can’t or won’t say. They have really good thoughts but for whatever reason are hesitant about sharing them. I want to learn how to speak for them, on their behalf. And I want my words to mean something, to make an impact, to make a difference.”
Huffman said joining the East Palestine Board of Education as its first student representative appealed to her because of the potential to learn more about leadership. Earlier this month, Huffman joined the school board at its first meeting of the year. The moment marked Huffman’s first time attending a school board meeting.
“I was really impressed by how everything was done and how it was conducted,” she said. “It was done professionally but very informally and comfortable. I thought everyone would be wearing suits and carrying briefcases. But it wasn’t like that at all. And the board members made it really easy for me. They helped me through it and explained everything I needed to know. I really appreciate that.”
Last year the school board agreed, at schools Superintendent Tom Inchak’s recommendation, to appoint a student representative to the board as a nonvoting member. In December the school board chose Huffman.
Read the full story Monday in The Vindicator and on Vindy.com.