2019-20 Student Board Representatives

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2019-20 Student Board Representatives
Olympia School District student board representativesThe Olympia District School Board includes not only our district directors and superintendent; the board also includes two student representatives chosen from among our four high schools. Ruby Gruber, a senior at Olympia High School, and Alexis Nevy, a senior at Avanti High School, are this year’s student representatives on the Olympia School District Board of Directors. Although the student representatives do not take part in the voting process, their input is vital to the school board’s decision-making processes.

Ruby Gruber
Ruby has enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the Associated Student Body (ASB) leadership for all four years at Olympia High School. “I really found my community there,” she says. She credits much of her leadership knowledge to one of her teachers, Kristen Costello. “She’s a really awesome person. She has helped me through those leadership lessons and taught me about those things we really want to strive for at Olympia High School,” Ruby says. Leadership has been important to Ruby her entire life. “If a leader is accepting toward others and wanting them to succeed, that will encourage others to do the same and will encourage more leadership throughout the community.”

Principal Matt Grant praises Ruby, saying, “She immerses herself in our school community and connects with students across all social groups. I am impressed with her positivity and eagerness to make a difference … Despite being one of our strongest leaders, Ruby stays very humble and strives to serve others.”

Ruby has many ideas on how to best serve as student representative. “I think a really important part of being a student representative is creating personal connections with the students. When I was in elementary school, I didn’t know we had a student representative, and I didn’t know about the school board. I want people to understand that that is something they can do in the future.”

Her next step in this leadership journey was her selection as one of the two student representatives for the 2019-20 school year. “I have loved seeing that outside perspective. I’ve always been in the schools and haven’t seen the outside perspective of the administration, through their eyes. I like seeing how everything works; budget, taxes, teacher trainings. It’s been super interesting.”

Superintendent Patrick Murphy says of Ruby, “Ruby Gruber’s professional and prepared approach to board meetings and events is among the strongest I have ever seen in a student representative. She is thoughtful in her contributions to board conversations and has an excellent way of incorporating her student experience and that of her peers into her suggestions and comments. She works especially well with her fellow student representative.”

Both representatives have been involved with the Thurston County Climate Mitigation Committee; a group whose goal is to help the community become more environmentally conscious. “Doing this, we hope to have more youthful perspectives about climate change and sustainable lifestyles in our community,” Ruby says. Alexis and Ruby have reached out to students from Climate Action Clubs at North Thurston High School, Rochester High School and Tumwater High School. “We look forward to continuing our contact with them to further our contributions to the climate change issue,” Ruby says.

When Ruby is not busy with school and leadership activities, she enjoys taking pictures and being out in nature, as well as spending time with family and friends. She elaborates on her love of the outdoors, saying, “I really like hiking. I grew up in Union, Washington. My house was surrounded by old growth forest. I’m very appreciative of nature.” Ruby also enjoys AP English and science. “I love learning about our scientific world and how it works." 

Alexis Nevy
Alexis’s love of leading came from her time spent at Avanti High School. “I am completely obsessed with Avanti. It’s my favorite place to be, ever. I feel so grateful to be there.”

Alexis says there are two Avanti teachers who have been her “cheerleaders.” “The first one is one of my leadership counselors. His name is Chris Sogn,” Alexis said. “I struggle with having too big of a vision sometimes, or being too inspired. Sometimes I work a little too much because I get caught up in trying to make that vision a reality. He was always right there to say, ‘You’re doing a really good job, but we could also bring it in a bit.’”

Alexis smiled as she talked about another one of her teachers, Nikki Winkley. “I don’t know how she never runs out of energy. She’s always there. She is our sole math teacher. I am in awe of the grace she handles everything with.”

Alexis served as ASB president during the 2018-19 school year. “I got to take all the exciting, creative energy inside of me and do stuff for our students.” She created an event at Avanti called the 90s Night. Principal Michael Velasquez says of Alexis, “She is an integral member of the Avanti community. She has been a steady and mindful leader as ASB president and always central to campus life. She is bright, enthusiastic, positive and compassionate. She is determined and unwavering, all of which makes her an exceptional student representative for the Olympia School District Board.”

Alexis says of her position as student representative: “I feel incredibly honored to be that voice for the students. When we’re on the board, Ruby and I each get the chance to make a report and talk about what our schools are doing, which is pretty cool. I want students to feel like their opinions are heard.” Alexis and Ruby both visited Olympia High School for a day and Avanti High School for a day. They are both looking forward to visiting the middle schools’ leadership groups and asking what they would like to bring to the board.

Superintendent Patrick Murphy says of Alexis, “As the student representative from one of our smaller choice high schools, Alexis brings a unique perspective to the board regarding alternative and optional programs for learning. At the same time, her welcoming approach has resulted in strong collaboration with her fellow student representative.”

Although taking art classes at Avanti and being a full-time Running Start student takes up much of her time, Alexis enjoys cooking and baking. “My mom is an amazing cook. She makes up all her own recipes. I cook with her and it’s really fun.” She also enjoys exercising. “Recently, I’ve been going to the gym every single day. It’s my favorite thing. It’s my ‘me’ time.”

The two student representative seats rotate annually between all four high schools in the district. Next year the two representative seats are slated to be filled with students from Capital High School and Olympia Regional Learning Academy.