Suffolk Education Foundation welcomes student member

Published 3:27 pm Friday, August 6, 2021

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The Suffolk Education Foundation welcomes Noelle Ingram to its board of directors for the 2021-2022 school year.

This spring, the Suffolk Education Foundation accepted applications for a student representative. The foundation serves the students, faculty and staff of Suffolk Public Schools by providing grants, scholarships and a teacher school supply store.

The board already consisted of representatives from the superintendent’s office and school board, former educators and community members. But, according to SEF President Patrick Belcher, while considering diversity and inclusion, the board realized a group they serve had no representation.

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After accepting applications, the foundation chose Ingram to be the first student to fill this position. Ingram is a junior at King’s Fork High School, part of the International Baccalaureate program and a member of the National Honor Society, field hockey team and tennis team. In her spare time, Ingram works with Hope for Suffolk on its farm and social media, serves youth and homeless families with Growing Ladies Obtaining Womanhood (GLOW) every month, plays the piano and acoustic guitar and reads fiction books.

“I’m very excited,” said Ingram. “Overall, I hope to give the board members a better understanding of what students need and what is not working. I do have a few plans in my head, but I don’t have a set design for them quite yet.”

Ingram learned about the position when her mother showed it to her. She felt it looked interesting and, as she plans to pursue a career as a media lawyer, Ingram felt this position would help give her a nice start as an advocate.

The foundation looked for many qualities while searching for a student representative from Suffolk’s high school rising juniors and seniors. Students had to demonstrate good character, have a GPA over 3.0 and recommendations from a school staff member and community member. The top candidates then participated in a panel interview with the current board members. Even though the student position does not come with voting privileges, the member can still voice opinions on the decision. This position is for one year, with a possibility for renewal when the member is a junior when appointed.

One way the foundation helps students is through college scholarships. In 2021, the foundation awarded 15 scholarships totaling more than $23,000 to students in all three high schools. However, as many students aren’t aware of the foundation’s services, Ingram hopes to change that.

“I want to help the foundation become more known to students,” said Ingram. “I didn’t know about it until I applied for this position. I want students to know about it so that they can get resources when they need it.”

Ingram is excited to participate in her first meeting to prepare for this new school year on Aug. 10 and help make an impact on behalf of her peers.