TASB Awards Student Voice Scholarships to Five Public School Students
Austin— Five Texas high school seniors were selected to receive scholarships and be included in the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) Student Voice Panel March 1 at Governance Camp in Galveston. Each student will receive $1,500 from sponsor Walsh Gallegos Kyle Robinson & Roalson P.C.
During the panel discussion, the scholarship recipients will share their public school experiences with school board members and administrators from across the state. TASB’s annual event, Governance Camp, provides training to board members on leadership and good governance. The event highlights student voice, not only with the scholarship panel, but with sessions presented or co-presented by students and an expo where students exhibit their hands-on creations or projects. This unique opportunity allows school leaders to hear directly from Texas students about the challenges and aspirations that shape their education.
“We are grateful for the support of Walsh Gallegos in sponsoring this scholarship and panel,” said TASB Executive Director Dan Troxell. “It’s designed to empower students by giving them an opportunity to share their voices with school board members. Governance Camp provides a platform for mutual learning and meaningful conversation,” he said.
Paula Maddox Roalson, the moderator of the Student Voice Scholarship Panel and an attorney/shareholder at Walsh Gallegos, says the event is empowering for students and enlightening for adults. “This forum offers students the opportunity to lend their voices to the exchange of ideas on fundamental issues impacting public education.”
“Students not only contribute to the discussion, when they are heard, they also influence educational experiences for future students,” she said. “I am proud to be part of this project, and I am proud that our law firm is able to partner with TASB to spotlight student voices because, to me, I believe this is one of the most important things that we do.”
This year’s scholarship winners were selected based on their individual stories, contributions to their community, and their use of “student voice” to improve their schools. They are:
- Dan Arredondo, Corsicana ISD, Region 12
An avid writer, Arredondo hopes to major in Radio-Film-Television at The University of Texas at Austin and to eventually pursue a Ph.D. in media arts and become a film professor — or even a film director-writer. His parents, who have the equivalent of an elementary education, are his heroes, and he dedicates everything to them because they left their home in Guanajuato, Mexico, so he could fulfill his dreams. He believes student voice is critical because an “adults know best” attitude often ignores students’ concerns.
- Samantha Gregory, Gregory-Portland ISD, Region 2
Gregory said she found her voice through speech and debate, which helped her gain confidence. She has been accepted at both The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A & M. She plans to study child psychology and would like to pursue a Ph.D. Through her experiences, Gregory has become an advocate for mental health support for students and spoke about the need at her district’s annual state of the district event. She thinks the Texas Legislature should give public schools the resources to provide equitable opportunities for all students.
- Ja'Zhana Henderson, Amarillo ISD, Region 16
Henderson has a passion for neuroscience and aspires to be a neurosurgeon. She lives with dysautonomia, which affects the autonomic nervous system. By understanding the neural pathways, Henderson hopes to gain control over her life. She said the love and sacrifice of her mother pushes her forward on her journey and fuels her soul. Henderson is concerned about book policies and how they affect teachers and students.
- Ananya Khanna, Leander ISD, Region 13
Ananya Khanna is fascinated with aerospace engineering and said her family’s support has propelled her aspirations to new heights. She earned her private pilot’s license and as the only female in her high school’s Aerospace Engineering class, she hopes to break gender barriers. Khanna also founded the National Association of Rocketry Competition Team and launched the website “Aviate with Ananya” to empower others who are interested in aerospace and flying. She believes that students, regardless of their location or economic background, should have access to quality resources and opportunities.
- Camden Redden, Deer Park ISD, Region 4
Redden credits his time in the Boy Scouts of America program for sparking many of his interests and passions. He attended the NASA High School Aerospace Scholars program where he was able to delve into math, science, and technology. The thrill of problem solving continues to drive his passion for math and computer science. He will graduate with his high school diploma and an associate degree in computer science from San Jacinto College. Redden believes that a strong student voice is needed to provide inclusive representation for all students.
TASB’s Governance Camp will take place Feb. 28-March 2.
TASB is a nonprofit organization established in 1949 to serve local Texas school boards. School board members are the largest group of publicly elected officials in the state. The districts they represent serve more than 5.4 million public school students.