WORTON — Annie Squire Southworth is advocating for a more equitable school system. The best way to do that, she decided, was to apply for the school board.
A rising senior at Kent County High School, Southworth is the newly appointed student member of the Kent County Board of Education. Her first meeting is July 29.
“I really wanted to have a voice for all the students, and to do that, I wanted to be in a position where I could enact positive change for the school community,” Southworth said in an interview at the Kent County News office July 10.
“I thought that being in this position of having a status would give me a better opportunity to voice those issues that we have,” she said.
In a July 10 text message, school board President Joe Goetz said: “I am happy to have Annie join the BOE as our Student Member. I have heard that she is extremely active in the KCHS Community and I look forward to her input and thoughts. This is a great opportunity for Annie to participate in a different dynamic in her educational experience and for the BOE to gain additional insight from the students’ perspective.”
Southworth said her main goal as the student representative is to work with the other board members to create a more equitable community in the school system. She believes equity is one of the biggest issues facing Kent County Public Schools.
“In my school, we have a big equity issue. It’s not always an equal situation that we deal with. There’s a lot of equality problems, I believe, and I see that a lot every day,” Southworth said.
One way she foresees handling this is by implementing equity training for administrators, faculty, students and the board itself.
If everyone participated in this type of training, “Everyone would be on equal standing, and they would be able to have those conversations about equality issues,” she said.
Southworth is very involved in extracurricular activities at her school. She is the vice president of the senior class and the National Spanish Honor Society. She is a member of the National Honor Society, the National Art Honor Society, the Gay-Straight Alliance and the Interact Club. She is a triple-threat athlete in soccer, swimming and lacrosse, and participates in drama. She had the role of the mayor’s wife, Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn, in the March production of “The Music Man.”
Southworth is planning for college and her career. She hopes to attend school in a city, preferably Philadelphia, Washington or Baltimore, to study architecture.
“I want to be a sustainable architect with a focus on urban planning,” she said.
The application process for student member of the school board is rigorous, Southworth said. She submitted an application, résumé, four letters of recommendation and a series of essays. Once the high school principal approved her candidacy, she and the other applicants were voted on by the Student Government Association.