Less than one year after his graduation from Wakefield High School, a lifelong town resident has announced that he's running for school committee.
19-year-old Evan Kenney is a member of the Wakefield High School Class of 2012, and he is currently a freshman at Fitchburg State University and majors in film and video production there.
He credits his time in the WHSTV program with getting him a summer job last year in a video control room at Harvard Medical School, and for fueling his passion and love for video as a career path in general.
Kenney said he had the benefit of "so many fantastic educators" at Wakefield High School, citing his former principal, Dr. Kimberley Smith, for encouraging him to express himself while also helping him develop his communication skills. Other teachers from the high school he credits as mentors are TV production teacher Jonathan Berecz, TV production teacher Chris Constantine, and English teacher Jim Martin.
As a candidate, Kenney says that his young age and recent experiences as a student would bring valuable insights to the school board - particularly in areas like technology. He strongly supports bringing more and upgraded technologies to the classroom, while also providing sufficient time to train teachers in their use. Also because of his work with video production, he reported that he would work hard to protect arts programs.
Kenney ran last summer to be a delegate to the Republican National Convention but emphasizes that this effort is strictly non-partisan in nature. He also maintains that attending school in Fitchburg would not keep him from attending meetings and carrying out his full range of duties as a school committee member - including keeping steady communications with faculty, students and administrators.
"For me this isn't about politics. My heart really is is at the core of Wakefield education," said Kenney in a phone conversation this week with Wakefield Patch.
In the coming days, Kenney says he plans to do some door to door campaigning and that he looks forward to re-connecting with some old friends and teachers. "I'm really excited about this," he said.
In a follow-up email to Wakefield Patch, Kenney also offered this statement on his candidacy:
"I don't look at this race as me running against other candidates. As a student representative to the School Committee, Mr. Markham and Ms. Butler were role models to me, and I know them well. I looked up to them as professionals. Mr. Liakos has a great reputation. For me, this race is about a community vision for Wakefield education. If Wakefield residents decide that my insight and experience are valuable to their School Committee, I would be honored to serve them. If the voters choose otherwise, they will have chosen excellent candidates. It's a win-win for Wakefield. I'm just excited. I'm ready to take this job seriously."
Below is a letter that Kenney provided to local media announcing his candidacy for Wakefield School Committee:
To my fellow Wakefield residents,
Less than one year ago, I was a student at Wakefield Memorial High School. I am a proud member of the WHS graduating class of 2012.
In those years I spent as a student in Wakefield’s public schools, our phenomenal educators provided me with lessons that continue to impact me in ways immeasurable by grades or standardized tests. It was our Wakefield High School that introduced me to my passion, and to my career. I became an adult in the school system that my community provided for me, and I could not be more grateful for that reality.
Now, I am asking you to help me give back to the town that has given me so much. I’ve decided to step forward into community service by seeking a role on our Wakefield School Committee.
My relatively young age puts me on the cutting edge of 21st century classroom developments. With technology constantly changing, my experience will offer a fresh voice for the future of Wakefield education. I will work together with parents, students, teachers, town organizations, and fellow committee members to create a concrete vision for our children. Our students deserve a standard of education that prepares them for work in this rapidly changing and very challenging world. I will make it my first priority to create that kind of professional environment in our Wakefield schools.
I need your support to serve on our School Committee, and I’m humbly asking for your vote on April 23rd. I would like to ask you personally for your support, and I hope to meet you on my journey to Election Day.
In an age of instant accessibility, I am always readily available. You can give me a call directly at 781-733-8265, or e-mail me at Evan@EvanKenney.com.
I would be honored to serve you.
P.S. Wakefield has always been my home. I hope I can earn your vote to serve on our School Committee. For more information about my platform, please visit www.evankenney.com.