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Nobel Peace Laureate and Brattleboro Union High School alumna Jody Williams addressed current students at Natowich Field on Tuesday, May 17, 2022.

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BRATTLEBORO — A bigger response from students wanting to serve as advisory youth members of the Windham Southeast School District School Board resulted in the creation of a new advisory committee.

“The good news is that since we extended the deadline,” board member Tim Maciel said at Tuesday’s board meeting, “we’ve had excellent candidates, from seniors and juniors.”

Maciel said he and board member Lana Dever interviewed several students, and they are intelligent and want to make a difference in the school system. Board Vice Chairperson David Schoales suggested putting them on a committee.

“We can never have too many student voices,” Maciel said.

On Tuesday, the board voted unanimously to establish the advisory committee of youth and provide small stipends to the advisory youth board members. In an interview Friday, Maciel said the advisory youth board members will get $500 each for their work if they don’t count it towards required community service.

Last month, after receiving no applications from students interested in being youth representatives on the board, candidacy for the newly created positions was opened to seniors and the deadline was extended from May 10 to May 31. A month earlier, the board made plans to appoint two full-time rising sophomores or juniors from Brattleboro Union High School as non-voting student representatives for one-year terms.

Dever previously explained the decision to leave out rising seniors was because they might be busy preparing for college or working jobs. Seniors also leave early and “we really need a full-year commitment,” she had said.

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Nine candidates have come forward, Maciel told the Reformer. They will all be asked to be on the advisory committee except two, who will serve as student board members.

Their input is viewed as a way to get a steady stream of feedback from students.

Maciel anticipates the advisory committee will meet monthly with the two student board members and one or two School Board members. For now, he’s calling it the School Board Student Advisory Committee.

Through the process, he said, the board learned not to advertise anything to students just before spring break because they just want to be out of school.

The board will have an executive session to discuss the candidates. Maciel said he and Dever hope to make announcement before summer break starts Friday.

“It’s tricky because of open meeting law,” he said.

At the latest, he expects the advisory committee and board members will be announced at next Tuesday’s board meeting.