Published on Thu., June 6, 2024

Every year, one top-performing student from each high school is selected as the Lynchburg City Schools (LCS) board representative for the year. School board representatives help connect E. C. Glass and Heritage high schools with both board members and the public through monthly presentations. They provide updates on the latest news from their respective schools, helping inform board members’ work for the division. The 2023-24 board representatives were Heritage High School twelfth grader Selah Erskine and E. C. Glass High School eleventh grader Lucy White. 

Selah Erskine at graduation ceremony
Heritage High School student board representative Selah Erskine.

Before graduating in June, Erskine was an early college student through Central Virginia Community College (CVCC), a student government vice president at CVCC, the National Honor Society secretary, and a soccer student athlete. A four-year cheerleader, she captained the cheerleading competition team for three years and ended her high school career as the varsity captain. She also participated in a quality enhancement plan (QEP) program to enhance CVCC math programs last year.

Lucy White in E. C. Glass hallway
E. C. Glass High school student board representative Lucy White.

At E. C. Glass, meanwhile, White is active in the Student Council Association (SCA), Key Club, and the former Link Crew. She’ll be the president of the service sorority next year, organizing fellow students for community service projects. She’s a field hockey goalie and team captain as well as a member of the school’s Project Inclusion delegation. Next year, she’ll continue to serve as a board representative. 

We sat down with both of them to hear their reflections on the program, dreams for the future, and more.

What got you interested in becoming a board representative?

ERSKINE: I love learning new things, and I get bored when I’m not learning and growing. I wanted to be the connection between the school board and the students because I wanted to learn more about what was going on in my school. I’m super social, so connecting with other student groups is fun for me. 

I also wanted to learn more about local government. It’s so overlooked. Everyone is more concerned about national politics, but local government has a huge impact on our everyday lives. 

WHITE: I believe young people are our future, so a good education is essential. I’m honored to have the opportunity to represent E. C. Glass. It’s one of my favorite places ever. I wanted to take the opportunity to support my school and learn even more about it. 

My family has always been very passionate about public education. My dad, Charlie White, used to be the LCS board chair. He always said that nothing but good can come from public education.

What have you learned over your year in the program?

ERSKINE: It was less intimidating than I expected to give presentations before the school board. Preparing for them connected me with the school even more. I was already in a lot of groups, but I didn’t appreciate everything Heritage students were doing as much before as I do now. It was a really positive experience for me. 

I also saw some of the processes that go into running the school division firsthand. I came to appreciate local government more, and I became more civically literate and aware of what’s going on in the city. 

WHITE: Being a board rep helped me develop my public speaking skills. I enjoyed being able to gather information and synthesize it into a presentation. I discovered my passion for writing through Mr. Aaron Reid’s AP Language and Composition class this past year, and I’ve been able to use some of what I’ve learned in that class to help me prepare my presentations this year. He’s also my board rep faculty advisor, so it’s been awesome to grow under his guidance as both a teacher and a mentor. 

You clearly both love your schools. What do you appreciate the most about them?

ERSKINE: I was homeschooled in elementary school, and I was in Campbell County in middle school. Coming to LCS was so different. There are more opportunities for students here. LCS has unlocked a certain knack for creating opportunities for students and preparing them for careers. And it’s not just beneficial for students who want to go to college, either. Any path you want to take, you can pursue here. 

There are hundreds of opportunities, including Career and Technical education classes, advanced classes, internships, and the early college program, which I did. I also did an internship through Framatome last summer to learn about nuclear technology. We learned to code our own software and had a robot competition at the end of the program. I got to talk to engineers. The experience informed my plans for the future, and I couldn’t have done it without the amazing counseling department at Heritage. The counseling department and Lynchburg Beacon of Hope are such amazing, underrated resources.

WHITE: My family has been in Lynchburg for a long time. My grandparents started dating here. It’s my home. Lynchburg, and E. C. Glass in particular, is special to me. There’s a bit of everything here. Whatever you’re interested in, you can pursue it at Glass. 

There’s such a diverse community here, too. In my three years at Glass, I’ve met people from all walks of life. It prepares you for life after college, expands how you see the world, and makes you more considerate of other people. It’s been an amazing learning experience for me. My work with Project Inclusion has only solidified my love for the diverse community at my school.

Erskine talking at School Board meeting
Erskine gives a presentation before the board.
You’re both involved in so many things at school. Why do you think it’s important to get the most out of your high school experience that you can?

ERSKINE: I’ve always been drawn to leadership roles–not from a controlling standpoint, but from a learning standpoint. I love listening to and learning about other people. Even if I’m not part of a group, I want to know about it. I’m naturally inquisitive, so getting involved in as many things as I can comes naturally to me. 

You know how they say that when you walk out of a room, you should leave it better than you found it? I feel that way about my time at Heritage. I want people to remember me by how I helped them. You never know how many people are watching you. I still remember seniors who mentored me when I was a freshman on the cheer team. In the past couple of years, I’ve had the opportunity to mentor underclassmen on an athletic, academic, and personal level. The byproduct of that has been the irreplaceable relationships I’ve built along the way.

WHITE: If I’m a part of something, I’m passionate about it. I can’t just sit back and watch it happen. I’m involved in lots of extracurricular activities, but it's more important to me to feel like I made a change during my time in high school than to have a full resume. 

When I was first starting on the field hockey team, I wasn’t used to being in athletics, since I’d mostly done theatre and music my freshman year. This one girl on the team was so kind and welcoming. I will never forget how welcome she made me feel. I want all freshmen on the field hockey team, SCA, and the clubs I’m in to feel comfortable and know someone will be kind to them. 

With such impressive high school careers, I’m sure you have big aspirations for the future. What are your plans and dreams for after high school?

ERSKINE: I plan to join the air national guard and take a gap year for training. I want to pursue a bachelor’s degree in astronautical engineering and a master’s in computer science, either through Virginia Tech or the Air Force Academy. I’m interested in working in cybersecurity, aerospace engineering, and/or computer science for the military. 

WHITE: I definitely want to do something creative and writing-heavy. I really came into myself as a writer this year and decided it’s something I want to pursue as a career. I also want to expand my worldview by studying abroad and experiencing cultures and traditions in other countries. 

White talking at School Board meeting
White gives a presentation before the board.
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