Niagara Gazette — Eleventh grade Niagara-Wheatfield student Josh Ranney has a big year ahead of him. He'll be entering his senior year of high school come September, where he'll not only have to complete his school work in order to graduate, but he'll be heavily involved in the school's extracurricular activities.
Last month, he found out his schedule was going to get a little more loaded as his classmates elected him to serve as the student body's ex-officio member of the district's school board.
It's a natural fit for him, he said. Politics is in the family, both with him looking to attain a political science degree in college, and as his father, Jim Ranney, currently serves as communications director for state Sen. Patrick Gallivan, R-Elma, after a long tenure in public broadcasting.
"I have such a broad touch on the school," Ranney said. "I've done just about everything the school has to offer. I believe I can be the voice of the opinions of all the students because I've been there."
Ranney's path to the seat at the table, where he's expected to learn about the inner workings of the decision-making board, wasn't a walk in the park. Principal Timothy Carter said the students held an actual campaign, where a field of about six potentials was narrowed down to three finalists. These few made posters and signs, were encouraged to have conversations with their fellow students and even gave televised speeches to earn votes.
Ninth, 10th and 11th grade students were then permitted to vote in the election, which Ranney won.
He'll have a number of issues to worry about as the voice of the students, as the district's budget has proposed eliminating a number of extracurricular items, not only at the high school but throughout the entire five-school system. It'll be up to him to let the seven-member board know what's going on. He won't have a vote in any matters, though he may have one of the most important roles.