IUSD Recognized Outstanding Service of Student Board Members


IUSD recognized the outstanding service of the District’s four Student Board Members during the May 24 Board Meeting.  The 2016 student representatives were Courtney Fassett from Northwood High School, Samantha Kosai from Woodbridge High School, Karina Sun from Irvine High School and Sarah Verdegan from University High School.

Superintendent Terry Walker expressed the District’s gratitude to the capacity audience and stated, “Our Student Board Members provide us with invaluable insights from the student perspective and they offer creative suggestions to address some of our more challenging issues. This year’s Student Board Members have been exceptional in their commitment and engagement, and their candid input has been informative and invaluable.”

Superintendent Walker then expressed the District’s sincerest appreciate to the four student leaders, “We deeply appreciate your participation and thank you for your service in representing your peers.  We wish you every success in your future endeavors and are quite confident you leave here well prepared for whatever life holds.”

Below are remarks delivered by members of the District’s executive leadership team to each Student Board Member.

Courtney-soloCourtney Fassett – Northwood H.S.
(Remarks by Superintendent Terry Walker)

Courtney will be attending the University of Southern California, majoring in GeoDesign within the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.  She was selected as a Presidential Scholar to receive a half-tuition scholarship.

This year, Courtney was awarded a Pride of the Pack award for demonstrating Northwood’s Core Values: integrity, compassion and mutual respect.  She was also granted the Athletic Booster’s Scholarship, and received two Distinguished Timberwolf Awards for her service as a Super Crew member and an ASB Award.

Courtney shared that her experience as a Student Board Member has furthered her appreciation for IUSD and allowed her to gain a whole new perspective and appreciation for how the education system works.  Her greatest takeaway from this past year was learning how to respectfully, efficiently, and proactively address and solve the concerns of others.  The drive and motivation of community members has inspired her to stand up for herself and what she believes in.  She shared, that she has seen firsthand the passion and dedication the Board Members have for the community and students, and is grateful to of had this experience.

samantha-soloSamantha Kosai – Woodbridge H.S.
(Remarks by Assistant Superintendent, Chief Financial Officer John Fogarty)

Samantha will be attending UC Berkeley and will be majoring in Sociology.  She also hopes to continue her love of policy and music by being involved in Cal’s student government and their marching band.

This year, Samantha was named Woodbridge’s Youth of the Year, and was named one of the Regional Youth of the Year, which is for all of California and Nevada.  In Samantha’s spare time she served on the founding committee for TEDxWoodbridge, a series of TED Talks given by students, teachers, alumni, and community leaders.

As a Student Board Member, Samantha said one of the most significant insights she gained was seeing how dedicated the IUSD staff and School Board is and always has the students’ best interests in mind.  She said, “It is obvious that everyone in IUSD loves their job, which inspires us students to love learning. It has been honor to serve as Woodbridge High’s School Board Representative this year!”

karina-soloKarina Sun – Irvine H.S.
(Remarks by Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Eamonn O’Donovan)

In the fall, Karina will be attending the University of California, Berkeley and majoring in Political Science with an intended minor in Public Policy.  Her experience on the Board has greatly influenced her plans for the future as Karina intends to be involved in student politics at Berkeley as well.

This past year, Karina was named a National Merit Finalist and voted a Pacesetter at Irvine High.  She will also be speaking at Irvine High School’s commencement ceremony.

Moving forward, Karina expressed she now has a better understanding of the intricacies of education policy and has an increased appreciation for the time and deliberation that goes into every dollar.  This experience, has showed her how much those in charge really care about every student.  Karina further shared, she leaves tonight reassured that the future students of Irvine are in good hands and expressed her appreciation for everyone she had the pleasure to work with this past year.

sarah-soloSarah Verdegan – University H.S.
(Remarks by Assistant Superintendent of Education Services Cassie Parham)

Sarah will be attending Westmont College in Santa Barbara, she was one of thirty students, who were awarded a merit scholarship from the Augustinian Scholarship competition.  Additionally, she was awarded the “Cultural Diversity Scholarship”; and plans to help further enrich the diverse community at Westmont.

In IUSD, Sarah was chosen as the recipient for the Dr. Kevin Armstrong Memorial Scholarship which honors Dr. Kevin Armstrong.  Athletically, Sarah was awarded Most Valuable Attacker on her Varsity Lacrosse Team, made 2nd team All-League, and enjoyed serving as captain for her second year.

From her two years serving as a Student Board Member, she says, she has learned to think through even the smallest decisions and consider all the ripple effects that they may have.  In addition, she is thankful to have seen again, what she learned last year, that the District Board is constantly considering what is best first for its students.  She shared she has enjoyed every minute, especially the sandwiches after the meetings.

It is with deep gratitude that IUSD thanks each student for her participation and service.