School board meet and greet draws crowds


Madelyn Woodard

School Board candidates come to West to have a meet and greet. Students, parents, teacher and members of the community were ll in attendance.

Claire Reinthaler, Features Writer

For the past month or so, seminar civics students have been hard at work preparing for a political event entirely of their own creation. 18 school board candidates from both districts and political parties gathered in the Harold E. Simpson gymnasium on May 11, all for the same purpose: to share their views and opinions with the public and gain some publicity before election day arrived. However, the people who organized it weren’t teachers or other WS/FCS employees; they were students, all sophomores, and all members of Emily Corey’s Seminar Civics and Economics class.

“[It’s a great opportunity] because we get to meet our local government a lot better,” sophomore Valentina Cova said. “Not only do we get to meet people locally, but [running the event] will help us a lot as students as well.”

Since the students started to organize the meet and greet, the event has gained increased publicity from local press, even a national level CNN reporter who came and reported on the meet and greet.

“We were all super surprised [about how much press the event was getting]. We had reached out to local press like the Winston-Salem Journal, but then we heard that CNN was coming and we were all shell-shocked… we got really serious about it when we heard they were coming,” Cova said.

In the span of only about a month, the students had to do a lot of work to get ready for the event, such as making flyers, brochures and signs, assigning designated speakers and writing emails to the different candidates to organize their RSVPs.

“We had been preparing for about a month or so… we first started by sending out emails to all the candidates, and then once we started to get responses back, we started to do the rest of the planning. We all poured in everything that we could,” Cova said.

Many of the candidates became interested in the event because it was student-run.

“I think it’s so important to support our students and I think it’s great that [students] are doing this together and being involved… it’s really important to be a part of all the things our students are doing,” Democrat Sabrina Coone-Godfrey said. She is running at-large, meaning that she’s not running for either district, but instead for the whole county.

Along with all the press, the event also caught the interest of many high up members of the WS/FCS system, such as superintendent Tricia McManus, chief communications officer Brent Campbell and West Forsyth Principal Kevin Spainhour, all of whom were in attendance.

“I just thought it was a great opportunity for our students to be hands-on, to get real life experience in being in a scenario where they’re organizing an event like this,” Spainhour said.

All of the candidates, Republican and Democrat alike, seemed to agree that the event being student-run was a great idea, and that it is important for students to be involved in local politics.

“Students are our present,” at-large Republican candidate Allen Daniel said. “But they’re also our future. If you don’t understand how the system works, you can’t be a part of fixing it… we have to have students who are willing to engage and figure out how the system works.”

The meet and greet provided an opportunity to educate both local citizens and students on their local government, and all of the candidates who advanced after the primaries were in attendance.