Archive for Thursday, October 4, 2007

Eudora High School students join chamber of commerce

October 4, 2007

Eudora High School senior Sasha Lund sees a divide between teenagers and the local business community.

It's a divide she's working to bridge.

"I want to represent the high school," she said.

Lund and senior Josh Blaisdell were selected as Eudora High School representatives to the Eudora Chamber of Commerce. The duo attended their first chamber meeting Sept. 20.

"I just thought everyone was really welcoming to us, which is good because I was nervous," Lund said.

Lund and Blaisdell's inclusion was part of a program organized by chamber member Lori Fritzel.

Fritzel, who also is a member of the Eudora City Council, had the idea for the project last spring after attending a gathering of the Kansas League of Municipalities with Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty.

"One of the roundtable discussions I sat in talked about getting your kids involved in the community with the thought that by getting them involved they would have a sense of belonging to the community," Fritzel said.

By participating the students would be grounded in the community or more likely to return should they leave, Fritzel said.

She originally wanted to bring high school students in at the end of the 2006-07 school year but decided to hold off until the fall.

Fritzel worked with government teacher Robyn Kelso to find the right candidates.

After Kelso asked for volunteers, 19 students asked to be considered.

The response came as a surprise, Fritzel said. She said she would have been pleased if two had applied

"I was just shocked, also blown away," Fritzel said.

Kelso looked at a variety of factors when deciding which students to choose. She looked at test scores, attendance and solicited input from other teachers, she said.

"Overwhelmingly, these two were the two of choice," Kelso said.

Fritzel didn't seem to mind.

She said she hoped youthful inclusion will bring a new energy to the group, she said.

"Their ideas are just free-flowing. There's no consignment or resistance on what they think," Fritzel said. "It's amazing what they could come up with."

The chamber meeting was much more accessible than he first thought, Blaisdell said

In fact, it sort of reminded him of the television show "The Office," he said.

"It made me think about those meetings," he said.

In it, he and Lund heard a presentation by Eudora USD 491 Superintendent Marty Kobza on an upcoming $45 million bond referendum.

"I felt like I learned something about the bond issue," Blaisdell said.

Lund said the chamber members really seemed to respect the students' views.

"I was surprised my feedback was received so well," she said.

The bond presentation also gave her motivation to start a voter registration drive for the seniors at the high school, she said.

"In Eudora, your vote really counts in the election." She said.

Both Lund and Blaisdell expect their experiences with the chamber will help them further on in life.

For Blaisdell, the group is the chance to get a range of experience in his goal to teach percussion in a college.

Lund has her sights set on the business world. Because of that her chamber work should be a great opportunity, she said.

"Hopefully we can get to know them and work with them on some projects," she said.

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