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Durango School District 9-R announces student board members

Hazel Seashore-Botha, left, Hadley Thompson and Hunter Osborn are the new Durango School District 9-R student board members. (Courtesy of Durango School District 9-R)
Three from DHS look to improve communication

Three students were sworn in as members of the Durango School District 9-R board on Aug. 30.

Durango High School sophomores Hadley Thompson and Hunter Osborn along with junior Hazel Seashore-Botha will represent students’ voices within the district.

Board Secretary Andrea Parmenter supervises the student board members and was excited about their involvement.

“What I realized pretty quick on the board with the back to school and everything was there was no student voice,” Parmenter said. “And if we’re telling you to take ownership of your learning, but we refuse to listen to you, it’s just going in your head and not going anywhere.”

Seashore-Botha, who is involved with school clubs such as Distributive Education Clubs of America and Interact, said she was excited to see how the school board functions.

“A lot of the decisions the school board makes influence the students,” she said. “It’s literally the whole reason the school board exists, and the ‘why?’ behind these decisions are often not clarified and often not communicated, and that’s really confusing.”

Seashore-Botha says there can be a disconnect with school administration and high school students and having student board members can bridge that gap while answering questions students may have.

Thompson said she joined as a student board member because communication between school administration and students is important.

“I think it’s important that the communication between students and admin is really strong,” she said. “Because obviously, the admin makes a lot of decisions about student life and those can have big consequences for students.”

Thompson said it benefits board members to hear how they impact students and what they can do to create positive school environments.

Osborn said there were a lot of student voices not being heard and this drove his desire to be a school board member.

“It’s also important to be able to reach out to the people that don’t have just a passion to be able to learn who have kind of just pushed that aside, who don’t care about school quite as much and be able to reach them in a different way to be able to show them what’s important, why it’s important or how it can benefit their life in the future,” he said.

Osborn is a member of the DHS soccer team and in his spare time provides drone photography for real estate agencies.

Seashore-Botha is a Link Crew leader at DHS, which is a program that helps freshmen become integrated with the school. She said DHS pushes students to get involved when they first arrive on campus as freshmen and she feels incoming students are at times reluctant to participate in on-campus activities and clubs.

“I truly believe that that’s something that can be changed and I believe that school can be a cool, inviting, fun place,” she said.

Thompson became interested in the school board because of Career in Technical Education programs. She said going to school is important for preparing for students’ future careers.

“I think that’s a big problem where students graduate high school, and then they’re like, ‘OK, now I have to figure out what I’m going to do.’ And that takes so long that they’ve already lost so many years learning things that they don’t really need or want to use,” she said.

Thompson finds the district’s CTE programs are important to advocate for as a result. She said it can be an advantage for students to already have the experience CTE provides and to know what to do after high school rather than after graduating college.

Osborn is focused on a more broad approach. He said he is open to hearing the different perspectives of students and then addressing those issues. He is in agreement with his fellow student board members about the issues they presented.

“I’m trying to keep an open mind and reach out to see the different viewpoints from a bunch of different people and as many different sides and try to bring that together more in order to increase my outreach,” he said.

Seashore-Botha is interested in studying biology with the hope of entering the medical field. She wants to earn a bachelor’s in science and then try to get into a physician’s assistant program. Thompson is interested in business management but also has a passion for film and television production. Osborn has not decided on a career path but is interested in technology and math. He would like to attend either Baylor University or the United States Air Force Academy but his main interest is helping people.