As an up-and-coming Boulder politico, Jasper Brockett felt advising the BVSD School Board was the perfect chance to further hone his public speaking and advocacy experience.
To him, it is an extension of one of the country’s founding principles: the people affected by big decisions should get a say in how those decisions are being made. Jasper was working on a municipal effort to allow 16- and 17-year-old Boulderites to vote in school board elections, but there was a change to the state constitution that killed the possibility of that measure.
As the son of a couple heavily involved in the Boulder community, perhaps it was natural for Jasper to follow in his parents’ footsteps and become politically engaged. His father, Aaron Brockett, is a member of the Boulder City Council, and his mom, Cherry-Rose Anderson, serves as the Assistant Treasurer and Civil Engagement Chair for the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Jasper said his parents did a great job of encouraging him to explore and expand his interest in debate, policy and public speaking.
“There’s never a rule without a reason with them and if you can come up with a good enough reason that the rule shouldn’t exist, then the rule can shift and change,” Jasper said. “Like when I wanted to get my learner’s permit when I was 15, I had to come up with a debate with evidence as to why it wasn’t a terrible idea.”
Jasper said that during his three years on the Student Advisory Board, he has enjoyed seeing his fellow students find their voices. He recalled that in his second year on the Board, they had an open discussion with BVSD stakeholders about curricula. Over the years, school board members and other district leaders are coming to the Student Advisory Board more for specific feedback.
“That’s a big shift. At first we just threw it at them and hoped it would stick, and now they’re coming to us and asking questions.”Jasper Brockett, Senior at Boulder High School
“Last year we had that conversation, and we gave feedback to the board unprompted, and this year they came back to (Impact on Education Executive Director) Allison Billings and said ‘We want the feedback again and here’s specifically what we want their views on,’” Jasper explained. “That’s a big shift. At first we just threw it at them and hoped it would stick, and now they’re coming to us and asking questions.”
Jasper said that he would recommend any student who feels like they aren’t being heard to apply to the SAB.
“If any student has opinions and thoughts they feel aren’t being heard, it would definitely be worth looking into the board to see what it feels like,” he said. “I know for a lot of my fellow board members, it helped them put their thoughts and feelings out in a space where they will be listened to.”
Perhaps surprising no one, Jasper plans to study political science at CU Boulder in the fall. He is also open to learning other skills he is passionate about.
“I plan to broaden my skills in order to open up pathways that I might want to connect with,” he said. “I’m going to look into culinary school at some point, and I know CU has a good mixology certificate you can get when you turn 21. So I’m just trying to build skills that I find interesting and that I could build a career with.”