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Sophomore Jenna Biggs is running for a school board seat in the Bedford Public School District. Jenna Biggs | Courtesy
Sophomore Jenna Biggs is running for a school board seat in the Bedford Public School Dis­trict. Jenna Biggs | Courtesy

Sophomore Jenna Biggs knows why she is running for school board: she wants to give a voice to stu­dents who have been ignored at the admin­is­trative level.

“I am here for the stu­dents, for the people, and for the com­munity,” Biggs said.  “I wanted to make a change in my com­munity.”

Biggs, 18, is running for a school board seat in the Bedford Public School Dis­trict in Bedford Township, Michigan. Biggs is familiar with the way that the school board in Bedford operates. While she was in high school, she was a student rep­re­sen­tative to the school board.

When she went to her first board meeting as a student rep­re­sen­tative, however, she was unim­pressed.

“I was dis­ap­pointed in how they treated stu­dents’ com­ments and stu­dents’ per­spec­tives on things,” she said.

This lack of inter­action with high school stu­dents moti­vated Biggs to run for a seat herself.

“They almost didn’t acknowledge stu­dents or their ideas,” Biggs said. “I def­i­nitely have the skills and critical thinking abil­ities to make informed votes.”

Biggs centers her platform on three things: common-sense voting, increasing student morale, and improving com­mu­ni­cation between admin­is­trators on the school board and stu­dents. Biggs said she is con­cerned with the morale of stu­dents in Bedford, based on recent events and the way they have been handled.

“A lot of our stu­dents have gone through some tough times,” Biggs said. “We’ve had a lot of deaths in our high school recently, we’ve had bul­lying cases, and a lot of those cases have been shoved under the mat.”

Biggs wants to con­front these issues, and hopes that doing so will also improve aca­demic per­for­mance.

“I think we really need to bring attention to student hap­piness and the best ways to increase that, in order to have our aca­demic stan­dards go up,” she said.

She also wants to make sure student voices are heard by the school board. She said she does not think the current school board has lis­tened to the stu­dents when writing leg­is­lation.

“This com­mu­ni­cation is lacking in my opinion, I’d like to make an effort for the admin­is­tration to hear the stu­dents feedback,” Biggs said. “They’re making all of these dif­ferent policies and voting on all of these dif­ferent things, with no idea what they are like for the people who they affect. These are all common sense things we need to make sure are hap­pening.”

If elected, Biggs will have to balance her aca­d­emics and her duties on the board. She said she is up for the chal­lenge.

“Here at Hillsdale, I have all of these great resources to help me, like my pro­fessors,” Biggs said. “Board meetings are Thursday nights once a month, so they will not interfere with my classes.”

Biggs has a lot of support back home, from her family and com­munity. One person who espe­cially looks forward to seeing Biggs elected to the school board is former Bedford teacher, Mary Dunn.

“She knows what’s going on in the school system,” Dunn said. “She’s  a good nego­tiator, she’s a good lis­tener, yet she’s very strong in her opinions. She is going to make a dif­ference in the world.”

Biggs’ peers at Hillsdale also believe in her cam­paign and qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

“She knows how to crack down and get stuff done,” Sophomore Erin Fla­herty said. “She doesn’t let her emo­tions get the best of her. She’s great at net­working, great at making deci­sions. I think she’s more in touch with what’s going on in public edu­cation than people who grad­uated 10 or 20 years ago.”

Biggs’ work super­visor, Admis­sions Coun­selor Kat Vael, said her work ethic will carry into her potential position on the school board.

“She is a pas­sionate young lady and an engaging person,” Vael said. “She com­bines hard work and an attention to getting a job done well.”

Outside of her cam­paign, Biggs par­tic­i­pates in a number of extracur­ricular activ­ities. She is involved with Young Amer­icans for Freedom and the Hillsdale Humane Society. She is also an active member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.

“I love doing phil­an­thropy work and vol­un­teering with my sisters,” she said.

Biggs said she enjoys seeing people’s reac­tions when they hear she is running for school board as an 18 year old.

“I love telling people I’m an 18 year old who’s running for school board,” said Biggs.

At the end of the day, Biggs said that one of her biggest moti­va­tions for running is to help her com­munity.

“A lot of kids, espe­cially my age, don’t care about their com­mu­nities back at home once they’re off to college,” Biggs said. “I love my hometown. I have a lot of ideas for the school, and I really want to make a dif­ference.”