The annual passing of the nameplate for the student member of the Kent County Board of Education has occurred.
With his graduation from Kent County High School in June, Brayden Wallace completed his one-year term as the student member of the board.
Rising senior Maddison Messick has been named the new student member. She will take her seat at the board’s July 10 meeting.
Wallace attended his last board meeting May 22. The occasion was marked by kind words and a certificate of recognition from Superintendent Dr. Karen Couch and Wallace’s fellow board members.
“I just wanted to note a lot of Brayden’s accomplishments throughout the year,” Couch said at the meeting. “He’s been a very busy young man.”
Photo: Brayden Wallace, student member of the Kent County Board of Education, receives a certificate of recognition for his service at his final meeting, May 22. From left are board members Frank Rhodes and Francoise Sullivan, Superintendent Dr. Karen Couch, board member Aretha Dorsey, Wallace and board members Trish McGee and Joe Goetz.
In addition to his role as the student member of the board, Wallace also served as the executive president of the Kent County High School Student Government Association, president and cofounder of the KCHS Mental Health Club, social media coordinator for the Interact Club and the new member liaison for the National Honor Society.
Perhaps one of Wallace’s most notable contributions was his successful advocacy of a General Assembly bill in the 2023 session that memorializes and better outlines the role of Kent County’s student board member.
The bill, introduced by Del. Jay Jacobs, R-36-Kent, passed the General Assembly this year. It grants the student member an advisory vote in board matters.
Wallace and Messick waited five hours to testify at the Maryland State Senate hearing on the bill.
“They did an excellent job,” Dr. Couch said at the May 22 meeting. “I certainly appreciate your thoughtful participation.”
Joe Goetz, president of the Board of Education, said at the meeting that he has known Wallace since he was very young and has been impressed with who he has grown into.
“I’ve just been really impressed with your character and the person that you are,” Goetz said. “My hat’s off to you.”
Wallace thanked the board members for their support.
He closed out the meeting urging them to continue pushing for what is best for students.
“Don’t get caught up with ‘This is how it is,’ look at the ‘This is what we should be doing,’ and keep doing that,” Wallace said.
This fall, Wallace will continue his education at University of Maryland, College Park.
Messick comes to the board after having completed a year as the student member of the Citizen Advisory Committee.
The committee is a subgroup chaired by two Board of Education members with representatives from each of Kent County’s five public schools.
KCHS Principal Kris Hemstetter announced Messick’s election as the 2023-24 student member of the Board of Education in late April.
Five KCHS students applied for the position. They campaigned and gave speeches. An election was held among the student body, with Messick being the top vote-getter.
“They all did an amazing job,” Hemstetter said of the applicants. “Shout out to Brayden for his support and help in the process.”
Couch formally introduced Messick at the Board of Education’s May 8 meeting.
Wallace led a standing ovation after Messick’s name was announced.
“Congratulations Maddison. I can’t wait to see what you do,” Wallace said.
Succeeding Messick as the new student member on the Citizen Advisory Committee will be rising senior Benjamin Loller.