By Joe Caltagirone and Matt Gorlewski
“She is never afraid of taking on any challenge that presents itself and she will 99 percent succeed at that challenge,” said Allison Macauley of her friend Olivia Murchie, a Batavia High School student ambassador.
Murchie is a junior, avid tennis player, and an overall involved student. She was recently selected to a seat in the student ambassador position with her partner, senior Chris Theros. The day before a school board meeting, Murchie and Theros sit down together and discuss their plan of action for the next day. This is when they present the issues that are currently facing students in the BPS 101 district. The Student Ambassador Program, an organization that provides the School Board with knowledge of what’s going on at the high school via student voices and opinions, allows them to do just that.
The selection process for becoming a Student Ambassador is fairly rigorous. Lots of people apply and only one student is chosen every year.
“The selection process starts with filling out and turning in a paper application. You then get called down and two board members interview you,” Theros said.
The interview for the position is also meticulous. Questions are asked about the student’s opinion of the importance of the role, their qualifications in and out of school, and the students’ ideas on what they would do if they were accepted into the ambassador program. If a student is chosen, they serve a two-year position.
The current dilemma that faces the ambassadors is the printing situation at the high school. Murchie thinks this is the most important issue they are currently dealing with.
“This year, there has been a change of printing systems that several students find inconvenient and confusing,” Murchie said.
Murchie and Theros are starting to compile data and research to help their case about the issue. They will present this information during their section of the meeting, and showcase the student opinion of the new printing system. Then, they will have to be able to answer questions proposed by the Board and the public, and potentially debate why their solution would work.
“(Murchie) presents herself as being very comfortable speaking in front of our group and the public. It is very obvious that she is a positive person and I love that she brings that positive energy to her role,” said Bob Baty-Barr, a school board member.
Baty-Barr also said he is impressed with what Olivia is doing and is looking forward to what she will do in the future.
Not only is Murchie involved with the School Board, but she also plays tennis and manages her time between friends, family, and academics. She is noted as being positive, bubbly and helpful by her friends and peers.
“She is, out of all my friends, by far the most caring person I have ever met,” Macauley said. “When someone or myself is not having a good day no matter if the problem relates to her or not, she will do whatever it takes to make sure that you feel good and make sure to talk you through what’s going on and how to fix it.”
“This role provides the Board of Education a connection to our student body,” said Dr. JoAnne Smith, principal of Batavia High School. “The ambassadors can relay information from the student body that is critical for the board to consider when making decisions. In addition, ambassadors learn the role of the board and can provide that information to students.”
Murchie has quite the arsenal of activities and skills to fill up a resume. Her academic and personal achievements have not gone unnoticed and have caught the attention of school board members.
“I am very impressed with how well Chris and Olivia work together in our meetings, even though it has only been a few meetings. I am very excited to see how their collaboration grows in the coming months,” Baty-Barr said.
Theros also says that he, “would highly encourage anyone interested in the position to apply…Overall, the experience so far has been nothing but positive and I am looking forward to the rest of the year”