By Karen Antonacci
Abby Cohen knew she was an opinionated Fairview High student, so when the opportunity arose to advise the Boulder Valley School District board, she jumped at the chance.
“I’ve always said that the school district needs to listen to the students more, and I always felt kind of frustrated like we don’t really have much of a voice. Then the Student Advisory Board came along and it was perfect,” she said.
Abby is a senior this year and started on the SAB her junior year. She said she enjoyed advocating for curriculum changes within the school district, specifically making sure high school students receive unbiased civics classes.
“It’s so important, especially right now, to understand politics even if you’re not interested in it. It’s really an important component to being a contributing member of society,” Abby explained. “And Boulder is a very liberal place, and if kids are not learning about those topics in school, they are getting it from their parents and their friends and only getting one opinion in the Boulder Bubble. I think that only getting one side to everything is really dangerous.”
“I’ve always said that the school district needs to listen to the students more, and I always felt kind of frustrated like we don’t really have much of a voice. Then the Student Advisory Board came along and it was perfect.”Abby Cohen, Senior at Fairview High School
Abby remembered a pre-COVID town hall that the Student Advisory Board members attended with other BVSD stakeholders about curricula.
“There were so many parents and educators and staff, and we were the youngest people in the room. Everyone was kind of blown away like ‘Woah, why are you guys here?’” she said. “We are the ones that the decisions actually affect, so that was really cool to be able to talk to people and share our experience and have them say ‘Oh, I didn’t even know that.’”
The SAB had to shift their focus to helping the school district transition everyone online during the pandemic, but Abby is hopeful that the next cohort can refocus on the curriculum evaluation work.
She said being a high school senior during COVID-19 was tough, but her college-level criminal justice class at the Boulder TEC kept her sane.
“I’m not doing in-person classes at Fairview because I don’t see the point for myself really. Sometimes it is easier for me to learn at home and part of me is glad to not have to be in high school every day. But I think I would go crazy if I wasn’t going in person to any sort of school at all,” she said.
Abby is very interested in criminal justice and will be studying justice and law at American University in Washington, D.C. in the fall.
“I definitely would like to become a lawyer, and so law school might be in the future for me, but I’ve got to finish undergraduate first,” she said.