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Meet EL Education’s Student Advisory Council Members

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    EL Education

EL Education students have claimed their rightful seats at the table alongside powerful decision-makers and influencers in communities across the country. It’s part of the way their schools work, operating on the belief that students of all ages and backgrounds are capable of tackling complex challenges with courage and compassion, delivering remarkable results. From third graders successfully lobbying state representatives to pass greater protections for foster care children to fourth graders launching a women’s history exhibit at a local museum to high school students leading district-wide trainings for staff on equity and antiracism, EL Education students prove their power to make meaningful and lasting impact on their communities.

EL Education’s new Student Advisory Council takes the impact to the next level. Made up of a diverse group of six students ranging from sixth-grade to twelfth-grade, the Student Advisory Council will influence EL Education events, programs, and operations. They’ll lend their talents to deepening EL Education’s impact on education nationwide, ensuring that the organization’s work is more inclusive of authentic and ingenious student perspectives. As ambassadors, they’ll use their platform to build pride in a national network of students and community members who believe in the kind of education that all students deserve.

Meet the Students and hear from them why they are excited to join the Council:

Nova Cox

Sixth-grade student, The Springfield Renaissance School

Nova is described by his principal as recognizing the importance of lifting up what is going well while working to increase student voice and sense of belonging. As a transgender student with disabilities, Nova is able to push others to examine accepted societal norms that find their way into school environments and learning experiences.

“I want to be a voice for those in the disability and LGBTQ+ community. School should be a place where students feel understood, safe, supported, and respected.”

Nova Cox, Sixth-grade student, The Springfield Renaissance School

Moses Jackson
Sixth-grade, Capital City Public Charter School

Moses is affectionately called Mr. Jackson because he is more than willing to jump in and lead whenever necessary. His teacher describes Moses as an excellent student, a fierce friend and ally, and a kind big brother. One of the youngest council members, Moses displays compassion, courage, integrity, and self-discipline and pushes those around him to demonstrate them as well.

“When I play basketball, we have to be on the same page or we lose. This is similar to the Student Advisory Council because if we are arguing, nothing is going to get accomplished. I have very strong opinions and would like to share them with others.”

Moses Jackson, Sixth-grade student, Capital City Public Charter School

Stephanie Kacou

Twelfth-grade student, Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning (MELS)

Described as thoughtful and driven, Stephanie is motivated by a strong sense of social justice and has maintained an excellent GPA while volunteering, fulfilling leadership positions, mentoring younger peers, and leading the Black Lives Matter initiative at MELS.

“I have countless ideas on how to make EL Education even better that I would love to share. I’ve been a huge advocate at my school in fighting for more acceptance and celebration of different cultures in school.”

Stephanie Kacou Twelfth-grade student, Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning (MELS)

Kayla Mitchell

Tenth-grade student, Harborside Academy

Kayla is described as a superstar. Basketball player, student culture committee member, African American Youth Initiative member, student ambassador, mentor, church volunteer, President of National Honor Society, 3.8 GPA with multiple honors classes, member of the school leadership team, and middle school commencement speaker. Kayla also works a part-time job after school and has incredible leadership ability for a 15-year-old.

“My experience being homeless taught me that nothing is impossible with hard work and perseverance. I will make it my mission to contribute ideas to make our schools better as a whole, to empower leadership, redefining and raising student achievement, and voicing my opinion on some of the challenges we face as students.”

Kayla Mitchell, Tenth-grade student, Harborside Academy

Lauren Loy

Eleventh-grade student, Big Pine High School

Lauren is a distinguished leader and scholar-athlete in her community and tribe. She has an important voice and takes pride in sharing her perspective as a young Native American Indigenous woman.

“In 1924, a local 15- year- old Paiute girl fought for her right to attend Big Pine High School. As a young Paiute-Shoshone woman, I have been inspired by her and believe in the power of education. I want to follow in her footsteps and help promote equality for kids of color in education.”

​Lauren Loy, Eleventh-grade student, Big Pine High School

Sydney Smith
Ninth-grade student, River Bluff High School

Sydney’s middle school counselor describes Sydney as a leader with humility and respect for others and as having strong communication skills that allow her to have effective interactions with others.

“My future goal is to attend college with a major in Special Education and a minor in Women’s Leadership. I hope one day I will share EL Education with students in my classroom and put EL Education’s core belief in action, ‘The power of students' voices to work!’”

Sydney Smith, Ninth-grade student, River Bluff High School

These students were chosen by a diverse selection committee made up of award-winning teachers and leaders and EL Education staff from a pool of 60 qualified applicants. Each student will serve on the Student Advisory Council for two years and receive an honorarium for their service. After the first year, six more students will be added to the Student Advisory Council. Stay tuned to the EL Education blog and video library to see the student advisors and more student ambassadors in action.