Photo by Tyler Coffey - Iowa State Daily
I'm a lifelong resident of Carlisle and a proud product of our city's public school system! I spent every year of my public education at Carlisle - from Pre-K to senior year - and I was fortunate to have many incredible teachers along the way. I'm the son of two amazing parents and the eldest sibling to my wonderful sister and brother, both of whom attend Carlisle.
I was involved in numerous programs throughout my time at Carlisle, including: soccer, debate, speech, band, drama productions, improv, Principal's Council, and Student Council.
I've always had a fascination with politics and public service, but it wasn't until high school that I truly got involved with it. I ran for Student Council during my freshman year and was fortunate enough to be elected by my peers. I was reelected for my sophomore year, was appointed to the Executive Council during my junior year, and successfully ran for Student Body President for my senior year.
In my sophomore year, I applied to be a part of the State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council (SIYAC), an organization dedicated to representing young Iowans at the state legislature and working on issues pertaining to the youth of our state. After originally being denied a position, I was later offered the last spot on the council and served a two year term. During my first year on SIYAC, I worked heavily on an anti-bullying bill that Governor Branstad had pushed in the legislature. It focused on cyberbullying, and I often lobbied at the Capitol and worked with legislators on the issue. The legislation ultimately failed that year, but I was determined to do even more during my second year of SIYAC. I decided to run for Executive Chair of SIYAC, and I was elected by my fellow members by one vote.
As Chair of SIYAC, I worked again on Governor Branstad's anti-bullying legislation, and we got the bill farther than ever before. I also advocated heavily for more education funding, a key issue that emerged during my time as Chair. I was the only student to speak before the House Education Committee on the issue when they held hearings, and I lobbied intensely for more funding for students, teachers, and our schools. I grew frustrated that no progress was being made, so I decided to lead a walk-out from Carlisle to the Capitol on the issue. Over 100 students joined me, and our efforts made local news across the state. I was proud of my fellow students at Carlisle for taking a stand and using their voice, and it was one of the highlights of my time on SIYAC.
During the summer before my senior year, I attended Boys State with a few other students from Carlisle. I was elected as leader of the Senate, and I was one of two gentlemen selected to attend Boys Nation as a Senator for Iowa. I was thrilled to go, and I spent a week in DC with 97 other fantastic young leaders. I was one of two Senators to lay a wreath honoring fallen soldiers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and I paid respects to two of my political idols: Jack and Bobby Kennedy. I also had the opportunity to meet with Senator Ernst, Senator Grassley, Senator Booker, and Senator Franken at the Capitol. The most memorable part of the week was getting to go to the White House and meeting President Obama - it's a moment I will never forget.
As President of CHS, I worked with other students to try and save the popular wellness program from getting cut by the school board. We had students write letters and emails to board members asking them to keep the program, we spoke before the board on the matter, and we even organized a protest that drew attention from local news outlets. Representing the students of Carlisle was an honor, and I hope to do it again as a school board member!
Now, I'm a sophomore majoring in Political Science at Iowa State who is also active in Student Government. I'm currently serving as Vice Speaker of the Student Government Senate, as well as an Inter-Residence Hall Association Senator. I've fought for affordable tuition, students with disabilities, and a safer campus. I've been a part of the University Affairs, Public Relations, and Finance committees.
I've been a passionate youth leader throughout my entire life, and my experiences have helped me grow as both a leader and a person. I'm grateful for all the opportunities I'm fortunate enough to have been a part of, and I can't wait to see what the future holds! I hope to continue fighting for students, teachers, and schools - it's up to young leaders to use our voice and stand up for what we believe in. That's what I plan to do if I'm elected to the school board. Who better to fight for the future than the future themselves?