Student council vice president and cheerleader plans to pursue robotics
by Kurt Nesbitt
Hailey Mattioli wants to represent Rogers High School. Judging from the patches on her blue and white letter jacket, she’s already done that on the field.
Now she’s representing Rogers High in the chambers of the Elk River Area School Board.
As is the custom at the start of school board meetings for Elk River Area Schools, the Board of Directors recognizes two student representatives from two of the district’s four high schools - Elk River, Rogers, Zimmerman and Ivan Sand - at the start of its regular meetings.
Chairman Shane Steinbrecher introduced Mattioli as the representative from Rogers High School and Meghan Bentz from Elk River High School.
Mattioli, 17, is a senior, vice president of the Rogers High School student council, a cheerleader, member of the band and pep band and jazz band, a Link Crew leader and a member of the National Honor Society.
Outside Rogers High, Mattlioli works at a Starbucks and says she spends a lot of time with her six younger siblings.
Unlike other schools in the Elk River Area district, the Rogers High student council constitution says the vice president also serves as the school board representative for that high school and has to attend a school board meeting once each month.
“I wanted to be VP so I could attend school board meetings and be a good and accurate representation of the student body of RHS. I wanted to be able to address issues going on but also showcase all of the good things happening at RHS,” Mattioli said in an email to the Star News Monday.
“I want to be able to help combat some of the issues occurring district wide. I also want to gain more knowledge about what all goes into making big district-wide decisions,” she said in a later email.
Superintendent Dan Bittman said student representatives are non-voting members who participate to ensure student voices are part of the discussions and decisions the School Board makes. These representatives are allowed to leave after they present a report, if they have other obligations like homework. Some stick around.
Mattioli said vaping is the issue she’s mainly concerned with how the nationwide vaping epidemic is affecting Rogers. She said she’d change the colors of the bathrooms to discourage students from vaping there.
After high school, Mattioli wants to pursue a master’s or a doctorate in robotics at an Ivy League school. She wants to own her own robotics company, specializing in artificial intelligence. She said she spent three weeks last summer taking an introductory robotics class at Columbia University in New York.
“I first became interested in robotics at a career fair I attended in 8th grade. One of the people there was a robotics engineer and the way he described his job was what I wanted to do and I just didn’t know the name for it until then.
“As a kid I always played with snap circuits too, which sparked my interest — literally – in the electrical side of robotics. My boyfriend is a computer science major and has been teaching me different coding languages which also really helped with getting me into the computer science part of it. And as for the mechanical side I’ve just always loved to build things and figure out how they work. That’s why I love robotics, it encompasses all three aspects not just one or two of the things I love to do,” she said.