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2022 Board Student Representatives Announced

2022 Board Student Representatives Announced

Minneapolis Board of Education Announces Kennedy Rance and Jake Wesson as New Student Board Representatives

For the first time ever, two Minneapolis Public Schools students have been selected to sit on the Board. The Minneapolis Board of Education has announced Patrick Henry High School junior Kennedy Rance and Washburn High School sophomore Jake Wesson will serve as the new Student Board Representatives. Kennedy and Jake replace outgoing Student Representative Mary Ghebremeskal from South High School. 

Rance leads at Henry with a passion for journalism and youth advocacy. She values truth, storytelling and curiosity and knows the importance of gathering facts and conducting adequate research before making an informed decision. She believes sharing stories helps individuals connect with one another.

“As a student representative, I will bridge the communication gap between students and administration by actively listening to student voices and advocating on their behalf to the Board of Education. When students are given the opportunity to effectively impact their education, I believe they have a greater appreciation for it,” said Rance.

Henry staff describe Rance as a highly disciplined and ambitious student. “Kennedy has a pattern of pursuing high level opportunities and of setting ambitious standards for herself. She expresses her opinion constructively in a manner that does not alienate others,” said Shawn Creanshaw, Rance’s academic school counselor.

Wesson was a freshman during the start of the pandemic. He says through distance learning and other COVID restrictions, he was able to practice his patience and learn how to overcome challenging circumstances. He believes he excels at working with details, but is also able to see the big picture.

“Decisions made at the district level affect every MPS students’ education on varying levels. As student representative, my goal is to provide students with substantial opportunities to have their voice heard and provide collaborative possibilities for all MPS schools,” Wesson said.

Washburn teacher Jason Jirsa oversaw Wesson as he took part in launching a virtual Model United Nations club during the 2020-2021 school year. Throughout this project, Jirsa said he got to see Wesson shine. “He made speeches, worked the break-out rooms to find like-minded delegates and wrote resolutions to solve world issues. He did all of this with students from other schools who he had just met. It’s easy to imagine him thriving as a member of the school board,” Jirsa said. 

Rance and Wesson will take turns being the primary speaker at Board meetings, but will still be responsible for keeping up on what's happening by reviewing materials and watching meeting videos when not in attendance. Additionally, the two will meet regularly together with board staff to prepare for meetings and coordinate other duties.

The Student Representatives provide an important perspective and give voice to those at the heart of the district’s work: MPS students. The Board of Education has appointed a student representative since 2015, and in December 2021, it was announced that a second student representative would be selected with the goal of expanding student view and opinion.