‘I’ve been a humanitarian’
Published 10:36 pm Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Sonya Allen is a candidate for Suffolk’s School Board, and she is running for a seat in the Holy Neck Borough.
A life centered around being a humanitarian and an educator led Allen to run for the Suffolk School Board.
“I’ve been a humanitarian my whole life,” Allen said. “I’ve always been interested in helping out those in different areas.”
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Allen is currently an art teacher at Western Branch High School, the executive director for Veterans Art and Farm Therapy and the owner and operator of the Art Horse Camp at Stargazer Stables.
Her first ideas of changing the school system were during her time in the Peace Corps when she was stationed in Romania. Allen was aware that people weren’t so focused on going to college like Americans were, and she realized how important it was to bring back an emphasis on technical education.
“Mike Rowe started his own foundation to help people go to trade school, and I listened to the lectures and heard the same concepts that were building in myself,” Allen said. “We need more trade schools to help these kids. Trade school is a great way to have successful people.”
Allen believes that trade school can be more beneficial than college, because students can start working sooner, make more money and not incur large amounts of student debt.
“When I was going around the neighborhood, I met a lot of people that went through trade school, and they have houses and are successful,” Allen said. “Through the School Board, I could make a large change that could affect society for the better.”
Allen’s experience with Chesapeake Public Schools has given her a different perspective when it comes to looking at Suffolk’s school division.
The biggest challenges Allen sees in Suffolk are transportation problems, issues with accountability and a lack of financial transparency.
“We have a school bus system where parents are getting their kids picked up 45 minutes after they should,” Allen said. “The accountability is not there.”
As a teacher in Chesapeake, Allen has seen coworkers leave Suffolk to join her school system or neighboring school systems because of a lack of administrative support.
“Teachers are moving out of Suffolk to Chesapeake and elsewhere because the administration doesn’t support them as much as other districts,” Allen said.
Experience with entrepreneurship and being a teacher gives Allen confidence as she waits for Election Day.