ENGLEWOOD — End-of-the-year activities dominated the May 15 Northmont School Board meeting held at Northmoor Elementary School.
For instance, Worship Akpan, the 2022-23 student body representative, sat for her last time at the table with the other board members.
“Having a student body representative sit on the school board dates back to the early 1990s when the Northmont Board of Education was the first in the state to have one. Since that time, the practice has evolved into what it is today because of the caliber of students that we had representing the body on the board,” said Board President Linda Blum.
From Akpan’s first meeting sitting at their table, board members say they were thrilled to have her as this year’s student rep.
“From what you brought in terms of leadership, to set the style and class and charisma, we knew you were going to have a wonderful experience. We couldn’t be more proud of you,” Blum said.
Akpan’s parents, Leo and Mercy, and her sister, Miracle, attended her last meeting and were there to see her receive a special plaque as a memento of her year with the board. The plaque included a lengthy tribute to her participation and a photo of her with the other board members, Treasurer Ann Ferraro and Superintendent Tony Thomas.
“In all my years working in management, I have never seen someone as professional,” said board Vice President Jane Woodie.
Following her own report to the board, Akpan introduced the student representative for the 2023-24 school year, Jacob Hobbs, a senior at Northmont High School.
“He has a passion for helping others and being able to make an impact on them,” Akpan said.
Thomas welcomed Hobbs and commented on Akpan’s contributions to the board.
“I distinctly remember her saying one reason she wanted to do this was so she’d become a better public speaker. At her first board meeting, she spoke and checked that off, because she was already very polished,” Thomas said.
”You are a great ambassador for the district and a great voice for the students,” Thomas told Akpan.
Thomas segued to his report to the board, beginning with comments on Senior Recognition Night.
“Thursday evening was such a great event. The senior class earned $9,448,541 in scholarship opportunities. The special presentation from West Point was emotional as we pledge to send Worship off with all of the support we can muster as she accepts the challenge of military service,” Thomas said.
He also thanked the counseling staff and the administration for a true celebration of the work they do and for recognizing students who understand the importance of “grit” through service, extra-curricular activities and/or academics.
Thomas said that recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of valedictorians and salutatorian is always a highlight for him
“I am reminded that a few years ago we were unable to have some of these ceremonies. So, I think we are able to appreciate our gathering together to celebrate even more now that we know what it is like not to be able to do so,” he said.
Finally, Thomas recognized Tim Hopkins, formerly superintendent of schools at Brookville, for filling in as interim principal at Northmoor Elementary this year.
“While we’re here at Northmoor, I’d like to say one more time to Mr. Hopkins, thanks for answering the call. He earned the respect of the staff here,” he said.
The next Northmont School Board meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 26, at Northwood Elementary, 6200 Noranda Drive, Clayton.