School Board Student Representative Profile: Ava Drobnick
As Ava Drobnick entered her senior year at Burnsville High School, she was already maintaining a pretty busy schedule, participating in Burnsville Strong, National Honor Society, Student Council and Link Crew.
She thrived in those group activities, but was looking for something she could do individually where she could hold a leadership role, make an impact, and that would help her become more comfortable speaking in public. She found all those things in her role as student representative on the District 191 School Board. As student representative, Ava provides monthly updates about the accomplishments of fellow students and shares with the board issues students are facing.
“Students are at the center of it all, so it only makes sense that someone experiencing the schools first-hand is there with the perspective they provide,” Ava said.
Ava has also brought a student perspective to district projects beyond the board room. Earlier this year, she assembled a group of students to participate in the creation of the District’s Profile of a Learner. Ava and her classmates joined community members to talk about what competencies students should learn as they move from preschool to graduation. She also participated in the interview process for the BHS principal position last fall.
“I have never been on that end of an interview which made it an enthralling experience, especially given that it’s a more high-stakes job interview than what I’ve experienced,” Ava said. “This opportunity only emphasizes how important first impressions and passion are when presenting yourself in the workforce. Times like those interviews and workshops have shown me that the board values the perspective of someone who is experiencing the policies they decide on.”
Ava said she’s learned a lot by attending the board meetings, especially about things she wasn’t previously familiar with like official meeting processes and school district finances. She’s also observed how much board members and staff across the district genuinely care about students.
“There is a lot of time to think while people are sharing and the commonly surfaced thought is the appreciation for our truly dedicated staff. One group of teachers from the elementary schools noticed kids struggling with phonemic awareness - a crucial part in understanding how spoken words are made up of individual sounds. The part that stuck out was how they found the pilot program they’re using now in a few of the elementary schools on Facebook,” she said. “It is not truly a huge thing, but it was heartwarming to think that, outside of work, we have teachers perusing through Facebook still thinking of their students. It was clear how genuinely excited the teachers were seeing the improvement in their students.”
Ava plans to attend the University of Minnesota Duluth this fall and major in exercise and rehabilitation sciences. She said her experiences both in the classroom and in extracurriculars during her time in District 191 have prepared her well for her future.
“I feel very lucky. BHS and District 191 as a whole have set me up for success in any future plans I wish to pursue,” she said. “I appreciate the access to advanced classes I’ve had starting in middle school. As someone who plans to pursue a post secondary education, I know the classes are only going to get harder, but taking the AP (Advanced Placement) and CIS (College in the Schools) classes now allows for a smoother transition.”