Student Representative Joins BOE

Student Representative Joins BOE
Posted on 10/12/2020
Did you know that the Montclair Board of Education now has a student representative? Her name is Genesis Whitlock and she has officially served in her position for two meetings. Whitlock, 17, is a senior at Montclair High School, along with her twin sister. She is active both in and outside of school. Whitlock serves as the MHS Student Coalition President and is a Student Activist Coordinator for Amnesty International. In addition, she is president of the Montclair NAACP Youth Council.

student at rally
Whitlock leads rally.

“I was approached by the Montclair High School administration and asked to be the Student Representative on the Board of Education,” said Whitlock. “I spoke at Board of Ed meetings last year about the importance of student representation. I’m happy to join the Board of Education to serve as a voice for marginalized students and overall increase student engagement at MHS.”

By hosting dialogues for fellow students, she hopes to foster community and focus on issues of social justice in and outside of the classroom. She is committed to making sure the voices of students are heard, by helping mobilize action.

Whitlock is confident that she can handle the challenge. “I bring to the table my abilities to articulate my experiences as a marginalized student and initiate action in our school community,” she said.  “I feel that I am the right person to take on this position because of my experience with social justice advocacy and the ability to mobilize students. This position is for any student with a voice who is committed to seeing an empowering shift of culture in our school district.

At just her second official Board meeting on October 7, Whitlock was honored for earning several awards. Interim Principal Terry Trigg-Scales announced the news. “It is my distinct honor to recognize Ms. Whitlock. She’s such a dynamic young person. We’re so proud of her” she said. Whitlock received the Zero Hero award presented by Kroger for eight+ hours of service to help achieve zero waste in the community. She also received the United Nations Community Service Ambassador Award recognizing her 102 Hours of Service to Others with Special Dedication to Delivering Impact Toward United Nations Global Goal: #16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

Assistant Principal Sally Ann Howell-Rembert offered congratulatory words to Whitlock. “The Ambassador Award demonstrates your devotion to bettering our world. You are self-aware, humble, honest and driven to try and bring about positive change for MHS and for Montclair as a town. You embody what I hope all MHS students can achieve. You keep working to bring about peace and justice and change for MHS, for Montclair and hopefully for our world,” she said.

Student Coalition advisor Sabrina Conti added her thoughts. “Genesis has such a great passion for social justice and I think her peers recognize this. She is constantly working to make sure the voices of her peers are heard and to make change. You’re a fantastic activist and you really try to make MHS a better place and Montclair as a whole.”

“It’s hard to articulate and accept all this praise, said Whitlock. “It’s overwhelming but so great to be recognized for the advocacy I’m committed to. I want to recognize that it’s not just me. It’s the power of the students as a whole.”

Whitlock has advice for other students who want to get involved: “Please speak up my friends, and never stop realizing the power your voice holds.”
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