RICHFIELD STUDENT REPS

Richfield School Board student representatives for 2021 are (from the left) Corrina Jones, Elsy Parra, Helen Dombrock, and Tyler Jake.

4 high school students talk about their influences and goals

Four Richfield High School students have been selected to serve as representatives on the School Board for this academic year.

The students, whose role is to provide elected board members with a student perspective on various issues, will serve on the board through spring 2022.

The students completed an interview with administration and staff to gauge their level of interest and whether they were equipped to be selected for the representative position.

The student representatives are Corrina Jones, Elsy Parra, Tyler Jake, and Helen Dombrock.

The Sun Current recently reached out via email with questions about their role on the board, their influences and their goals. Their answers are below.

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Corrina Jones

Corrina Jones, Grade 12

Tell us about some of the influences over the years that have provided you with an interest in government?

An influence that has inspired me to find fascination within government is Michelle Obama, our previous First Lady. Through her displays of leadership and her advocacy for under-represented groups, I was able to envision myself with her. Often, it was foreign to see a Black woman in such a high position of power, but she has shown many young Black girls, like myself, that we are just as capable. Our voices can no longer be overlooked, but heard and respected.

What are three of your main goals you would like to see accomplished during your time on the School Board?

A goal I hope to accomplish while being part of the school board is to strengthen my voice and public speaking skills. Often, I tend to talk fast when anxious. My second goal I hope to accomplish is getting to know my peers. Within this role, it is required to reach out to the student body to gain their thoughts and opinions on certain rules and regulations that may be put into place. Lastly, my third goal is to satisfy the Richfield community, staff, and students with my performance on the board. I hope to represent them well and fairly.

Tell us about some of your other school and community activities and interests and what your post- education goals might be.

Aside from being on the board, I am President of National Honor Society, Vice President of Student Government, and a lead for Black Student Union. I like to keep myself involved in school as I complete post-secondary enrollment with Normandale Community college. My future plans entail attending a four-year university, majoring in Psychology with a minor in African American studies.

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Elsy Marbeli Cruz Parra

Elsy Marbeli Cruz Parra, grade 11

Tell us about some of the influences over the years that have provided you with an interest in government?

My role in the Safe and Supportive Schools group as a student advocate has helped me learn to make sure that student voices are heard and how to express opinions about what we care about. That’s been a big influence on me.

What are three of your main goals you would like to see accomplished during your time on the School Board?

My three main goals I would like to see accomplished during my time on the school board would be:

• Making Richfield Public Schools a place where students of different backgrounds come together and enjoy their time at school

• Eliminating discriminatory actions/comments towards students

• Giving voice and power to the students

Tell us about some of your other school and community activities and interests and what your post- education goals might be.

Some activities I’m part of are Student Government, Student Safe and Supportive Schools, Spartan Crew, Me to We, Student Wellness Committee, College Possible and National Honors Society (NHS). I’m interested in health-related matters such as advocating about sexual health to younger generations by making resources available to young people and building community connections by creating safe and comfortable environments for young people to talk with one another about their health. An education goal I’m currently fulfilling is being enrolled as a PSEO student at Normandale Community College and taking college classes to challenge myself and expand my education before graduating from Richfield High School.

My goal is to complete four years of college, my interest right now is in biochemistry, hoping to go to medical school one day.

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Helen Dombrock

Helen Dombrock

Tell us about some of the influences over the years that have provided you with an interest in government?

Within my past four years of high school, I have unexpectedly become more involved with government-related activities. By unexpected, I mean that I never would have anticipated such involvement when I was going into high school. In my sophomore year of high school, I participated in Youth in Government, sponsored by the YMCA and hosted in downtown Minneapolis. At this program, high school youth from across Minnesota participated in mock Minnesota government, including bill introductions, voting and elections, campaigning, lobbying, and most other Minnesota government procedures.

Although I was not an upperclassman at the time, many of the higher grades participating in Youth in Government also spend much of their time at the Minnesota State Capitol working directly from those halls. Through this experience, I gained hands-on experience of the inner workings of the Minnesota government.

Similarly, but through an online format, I participated in Minnesota Girls State hosted by the American Legion Auxiliary. Through Zoom, we learned more about the Minnesota government system from cities, to counties, to the state level and heard from speakers along the way representing that level of government. From my group of 20-something girls, I was even elected as the chairperson of our group. From that experience, I had the opportunity to apply to be a Girls Nation representative, who would be one of two girls to represent Minnesota at our nation’s capital, along with 98 other girls from across the nation. As I continued along this interview and selection process, I was selected. This past summer, I spent a week in Washington, D.C., debating bills, touring the National Mall, and hearing from speakers, including Sen. Sasse of Nebraska. Something that stood out to me was how qualified and accomplished each girl attending was. It truly gave me an almost renewed hope and excitement for the future of this nation. Through all of these experiences, I have gained a deeper understanding and respect for government processes as well as the integrity the branches of government hold.

What was the process you had to complete to become a student rep? When did you apply and was there an interview process?

On Tuesday, Sept. 21, I received an email recognizing me as the leader at RHS and inviting me to join the Richfield School Board Student Representatives. I was, of course, interested and responded with my gratitude and interest. As there were more responders than anticipated positions to fill, I was invited to complete an interview.

What are some of your main goals you would like to see accomplished during your time on the school board?

I completed the interview (for student rep) and shared some of my related experiences, as well as gave some insight into what my goals would be as a student representative. My biggest goal would be to raise intrinsic motivation and desire to learn within our district. As a teacher’s assistant for the English department here at the high school, I have witnessed firsthand and overheard how dedicated our teachers are to the learning and gained benefits of their students. It is clear to me that there is overwhelming external support and patience from these teachers, as well as a genuine effort to support these students by any means possible. What is frustrating to me is seeing a level of lack of motivation in our students, who, unfortunately, may not even see their own potential for learning and potential for their future. My goal is to do what is necessary to improve this outlook on school from the students’ perspectives.

Tell us about some of your other school and community activities and interests and what your post-education goals might be.

Some other activities I am involved in include the Green Team, or environmental club; National Honor Society; Student Government; and the Richfield Tapaires Dance Team. I am also a part of the UMN Carlson School of Management Emerging Leaders of Color Business program. I am a full-time dual enrollment student at the University of Minnesota and look forward to pursuing a degree in Business Marketing/Economics, Psychology, or Political Science. A few of the colleges I am applying to include New York University, University of California Irvine, and Northeastern University. When not extensively studying, I enjoy working at GrabbaGreen Edina making smoothies, juices, and bowls, and for the Richfield Magicians selling tickets. I also enjoy shopping for clothes, making collages from fashion and lifestyle magazines, and going on walks in South Minneapolis.

tyler jake

Tyler Jake

Tyler Jake

Tell us about some of the influences over the years that have provided you with an interest in government.

The late James Baldwin inspires me to interact in government. He was a very smart Black man and every time he spoke, he gave an insight into a Black person’s perspective, which helped a lot of reform in America.

What are three of the main goals you would like to see accomplished during your time on the school board?

• Equity for all students

• Overall, a higher level of character from our students/staff

• A safe environment for all types of students.

Tell us about some of your other school and community activities and interests and what your post-secondary education goals might be.

I love sports. I play basketball and football. We sadly lost in the playoffs, but my teammates were there for me and each other. I attend PSEO at Normandale and my goal is to properly function as a college student so when I get to college it won’t be difficult.

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