Local student appointed to North Dakota’s First Student Cabinet

Langdon Area High School (LAHS) student Dawson Schefter was recently appointed to the first ever Student Cabinet along with 20 other North Dakota students.

Dawson Schefter

Posted on 4/11/15

By Melissa Anderson

The students will offer Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler their opinions and advice about educational opportunities and policy.

Schefter, who is a 10th grader at LAHS,  has several reasons for becoming a member of State Superintendent Baesler’s Student Cabinet.

“One of the biggest reasons I applied to be a member of the cabinet is that I thoroughly enjoy when my work, or the work of a team in which I am a part of, is able to reach out and help others or provide others with the tools they need to succeed. “ Schefter stated.

Schefter continued and explained that the satisfaction he receives when he is able to leave a positive impact on those he works with is indescribable. Schefter’s passion for planning, giving back, and hard work, made the opportunity to be on Student Cabinet a great fit for Schefter to showcase his skills for planning, organization, and executing plans.

Schefter learned of the Student Cabinet through an ad in the Cavalier County Republican. There was a request for applications for North Dakota students to sit on the State Superintendent’s Student Cabinet and this is what initially introduced Schefter to this opportunity.

“Immediately the ad peaked my interest, as I strive to be as active in my education as possible” Schefter said.

Schefter credits the support of LAHS educators, his parents Steve and Michelle Schefter, and other family and friends in helping with his decision to apply for the Student Cabinet.

One of the references that Schefter listed was Langdon Area Schools Superintendent Rich Rogers.

“He [Schefter] has demonstrated a lot of interest in being involved in government and has a lot of desire to pursue that type of activity. He is a good communicator and has a lot of goals that he likes to pursue” Rogers stated.

Schefter is already looking forward to the time he will spend on the cabinet and the goals he hopes to achieve during his time on the cabinet.

“As a cabinet member, I simply hope to improve education in whatever ways I am able to during my term” Schefter stated.

Baesler announced the names of the new Cabinet members Monday. More than 80 students from across North Dakota asked to be considered. The Cabinet will include students in grades four through 12. They were chosen to serve for 15 months.

“We wanted to have a group of students who reflect a variety of school experiences. Some have had very positive experiences, while others have been more challenging. Some have had a lot of school and community involvement, and others have not,” Baesler said. “We want to know what we can do to improve the school experience, build upon what is already working, and change what is not.”

The group will have its first meeting with the superintendent at 10 a.m. April 22 in the State Library on the grounds of the North Dakota State Capitol. Supt. Baesler will have students observe the legislative process during the Cabinet’s first meeting if the Legislature is still in session.

Applicants were asked a number of questions that included background information such as school and community involvement and to provide letters of recommendation. The main question that applicants were asked was why they wanted to join the Student Cabinet, and what they believed was the biggest issue facing students in North Dakota.

“To this I replied that a lack of adequate technology in schools was the leading issue that North Dakota students faced. Technology is the future, and this is very clear. With this established, I feel it is time we act on a plan to prepare North Dakota students with the skill sets required to thrive in a computer-based job market” Schefter stated.

Schefter hopes to make some headway towards his goal of getting more technology into ND classrooms by the time his term on the cabinet is up.

“In addition to seeing the impact which I am able to take part in creating, I anticipate forming many new relationships with the leadership of our strong, growing state and using those relationships to work toward a better North Dakota in the future” Schefter added.

The cabinet members were evaluated and recommended to Baesler by a planning committee made up of Department of Public Instruction administrators. Baesler and the planning committee made the final selections.

“Our focus is, we want to encourage more student engagement of all students, to ensure that every North Dakota student is receiving quality opportunities during their K-12 experience,” Baesler said.

Cabinet members were chosen from all parts of North Dakota. A map showing the Cabinet’s broad representation from all areas of the state can be viewed on the Department of Public Instruction’s website.

The group includes 11 females and nine males, coming from five elementary schools, four middle schools and eight high schools in 13 North Dakota cities. They will represent both public and private education in North Dakota.

Congratulations to Dawson Schefter on being appointed to the North Dakota Student Cabinet.