On March 1, Tappan Zee High School’s Youth and Government Club (YAG) will co-host a Meet the Candidates Forum for the Special Board of Education Election–a first for students.
Traditionally, the South Orangetown PTAs have hosted and moderated candidate forums ahead of the annual Board of Education elections in May to provide voters with an opportunity to learn about individuals on the ballot. TZHS YAG officers first expressed interest in getting involved two years ago; however, the 2020 candidates forum was canceled due to the pandemic. No Board of Education candidates were on the ballot in 2021, but members volunteered at a community-based Town Council candidates event last fall.
In addition to the bond vote, there will be a Special Board of Education Election on March 8 for one Board of Education seat. The individual elected will serve the remainder of a term vacated by Christine Lee which ends June 30, 2023. The candidates for this vacancy, in the order they will appear on the ballot, are Arash Mossafa and Steven Peña.
“When I first came to this school, I didn’t realize all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into running a school district, so I think it’s important that community members/students are able to see that first-hand. It is also crucial for those who are able to vote to be able to see student faces at the forum because they’re not just voting for one candidate–they’re voting for the students and others in the community,” said TZHS YAG Co-President Katrina Christopher Peel.
TZHS YAG Vice President Matthew Tobin agreed. “All of us may not be able to vote, but schools are here to serve students and this is a way for us to be involved.”
Through co-hosting this event, TZHS YAG Co-President Amy Kugelman hopes to gain better insight about the South Orangetown community. “A goal is to connect with the community so that high school students learn what our community values and what the community is looking for in a candidate and that our community gains an understanding of students’ perspectives and priorities.”
The Meet the Candidates Forum will be held on Tuesday, March 1, 8:00-9:00PM, in the South Orangetown Middle School Auditorium. Questions are being crowd-sourced in advance from students and community members. The submission form for questions and additional information regarding this South Orangetown PTA/TZHS YAG-sponsored event is posted on the SOCES PTA, SOMS PTA and TZHS PTSA Facebook feeds.
Amplifying student voice has been a shared priority among South Orangetown schools for some time. Throughout this school year, District communications are highlighting the various avenues through which our students are taking on leadership roles to enhance programming, operations and school culture.