A-J student selected to serve on advisory council
Bryce Massey, a junior at Anna-Jonesboro Community High School, has been selected to serve on the Illinois State Board of Education, ISBE, Student Advisory Council, SAC.
The council is composed of 16 sophomores, juniors and seniors from throughout the state. Massey will serve on the council for two years.
Members of SAC have an opportunity to see the state board’s policymakers in action and to work with them to provide student perspectives and concerns on the state’s education policies.
Each year, the members of SAC select a topic to research in depth and present it to the state board of education.
In previous years, SAC has examined best practices for recognizing vocational education, grading scales for the school districts, the effects of cyber bullying, the effects of mandatory physical education on high school students, district budgets and the dropout crisis.
Massey, the son of Ronald Massey and John and Paige Maginel, initially showed an interest in serving on the SAC during his sophomore year, but was not selected, though he was named as a finalist.
After gaining another year to familiarize himself with his research subject, socioeconomic effects in rural and poverty-stricken areas, his next attempt was successful.
One way he became more familiar with the issue was by volunteering his time to a low-income tutoring program.
Massey had to write two essays: one about himself and another about the issues he would research if selected to serve on the SAC.
“I knew I had this passion to better my community,” Massey said.
Massey is the first student from A-JCHS to be selected to serve on the board.
He comes from a family of educators, including his grandmother and mother.
“The importance of education was instilled in me,” Massey said.
While his mother was obtaining her Ph.D., he become fascinated with her research. He said that interest steered him towards the field.
“I can work with the state board and like-minded peers to make a difference,” he said about being on the council.
As for his future, Massey wants to attend Brown University in Providence, R.I. He has spent previous summers there.
An attraction he has to Brown is its open curriculum policy. He said it would give him free time for academic avenues. He is interested in biological sciences and policy.
“I love learning for the sake of learning,” he said.
Massey thinks he can bring a vital perspective to SAC coming from an underrepresented region.
“I am honored and very excited to represent my community,” he said.
The ISBE SAC meets in person four times per school year, occasionally in conjunction with meetings of the state board of education. The council also conducts three conference calls.
The council’s first meeting is scheduled Sept. 12-13 in Springfield.