Andrew Brunn likes politics.
The Manteca High School senior, who was recently named the alternate student representative to the Manteca Unified Board of Education, won’t rule out the possibility that he’ll put the law degree he hopes to earn after he graduates towards a career of public service as an elected official.
But while that’s a long ways down the line, Brunn – who is holding down a 4.3 grade point average and is the Manteca High School senior class president – said that he’s thankful for the opportunity to learn a little bit more about the way things work behind the scenes and hopes to carry a strong voice for the students within the growing district.
“It’s interesting to see the questions that the people from the public have and how the board and the staff interact with them,” Brunn said. “Getting to know how things work is great since I’m very interested in political science, and I’m hoping that we represent the student body of this district well while we have the opportunity.”
While Sierra High Schoolssenior Sophia Gunzon will handle the bulk of the public duties on the dais, Brunn will be there to make sure that he’s well versed in the goings-on at the district’s business meetings so that he can lend a voice to the students who are affected by the decisions and the policy of the board. Along with Gunzon, he’s planning on meeting with all of the Associated Student Body Presidents of each of the schools in the district to pinpoint exactly what sorts of issues are important to students and what they would like to see come out of the decision to add a student board member.
While Manteca Unified has always opened the doors to student leaders who give rotating updates on the happenings at each of the district’s high school campuses, this marks the first time in that a student will get to actively participate and possibly even direct the discussion regarding the decisions that the board makes in real-time.
While there are some issues that they won’t be allowed to vote on or participate in, the representative will get to cast an advisory vote alongside fellow board members.
And in a sense, they were elected in much the same way.
According to Brunn, students who were interested in the opportunity had to submit two letters of recommendation detailing while they would be good for the job, and write an anonymous essay that was distributed to each of the leadership classes at the district’s five high school campuses – allowing the students themselves to decide, without knowing who they were voting for, who their representative would be based off of the ideas that they submitted.
“I just want to make sure that the problems and the issues that the students have are properly addressed and represented, and that’s what I’m hoping to get out of this,” he said. “These decisions definitely affect the students, and it’s great that they get a voice in things.”
The son of Chris and Victoria Brunn, Andrew is waiting to hear back from the University of California, Santa Barbara where he would like to pursue a degree in environmental law. He lives in Manteca with his parents and his younger brother Jackson.
When he isn’t studying for his AP-heavy workload, participating in on-campus extracurriculars like leadership or playing varsity baseball, Andrew likes to surf on the beaches near Capitola and ski at Dodge Ridge – a perk, he said, of living in Manteca where you’re equal distance away from both of them. He believes that his love for the environment comes from his exposure to it.
“I think that a student can give a unique perspective on a lot of the things that are discussed,” he said. “The challenge is going to be getting all of the schools to provide us with the input that we need, but that’s something that we’re working on.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.