On May 19, the PSESD Board of Directors approved the selection of four student representatives to serve as the student voice for 2021–2023. This inaugural class was chosen out of 46 applicants across King and Pierce Counties, and we are very proud of their drive and initiative to serve. Please join us in welcoming our very first PSESD Student Board Representatives:
Elijah Tuncap, Pierce County, Lakes High School
Student representative Elijah Tuncap is currently a Junior at Lakes High School and a Running Start student at Pierce College. He was born in Tacoma, Washington, where he has attended school since pre-K in the Clover Park School District. An active member of the community, Tuncap has played sports for the city and for his school team from a young age, and he’s even got the opportunity to coach youth basketball and soccer. He’s worked to promote social justice and cultural diversity, presenting for several years at the Washington State Students of Color Conference, as well as participating in Youth Action workshops with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Elijah received scholarships for the 2021 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) First Nations Conference, and the 2019 Ta Fan Apatte Chamoru Immersion Camp, also at UCLA.
In his spare time, representative Tuncap enjoys pursuing his passion for music, playing guitar, percussion, piano, bass, and ukulele. He’s been a percussionist in his school band for nine years, but a musician since he was old enough to stand. Some of his favorite artists include Queen, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, and Eric Clapton.
Tuncap is humbled and excited to join the board because he wants to make a positive impact on students. He navigates two worlds each day in learning how to preserve his PI culture, and he believes the best way to eliminate the opportunity gap is with academic excellence. He has faith that if more families and partners are included, each and every child can succeed.
Hyoju Park, King County, Auburn Riverside High School
Hyoju Park is a student at Auburn Riverside High School who is committed to the mission of providing insightful perspectives through their position as a King County student representative. They feel a strong connection to the importance of belongingness as a first-generation Korean immigrant. Park’s passion for educational equity led to the goals that Park hopes to achieve as a member of the board — the ability to equip each student with the tools and support to see their potential, along with the opportunities each student can use to fulfill their own reality.
Mustafa Agha, King County, Mercer Island High School
Mustafa Agha is a junior at Mercer Island High School. He has lived in Mercer Island since the summer of 2015, though he has spent time in other parts of the globe such as New Orleans, Karachi, and Maputo. He has had great experiences in a variety of different schooling systems, from private to public, and has gone through school in the south and west coast of the United States, Southern Africa, and South Asia. Being a member of Mercer Island School District, he has witnessed the progression from elementary to middle to high school in his district and gained a good perspective on how we uplift students steadily in correlation to the growth of responsibilities and maturity. Similarly, he believes our school systems should provide children with a place to grow and explore new sides of life in a safe environment.
“I believe that anxiety and worry of the future are the major concerns of students today. A lot of my friends and peers voice to me their pressure and overexertion at school, as they feel overwhelmed by everything thrown at them in this time of their lives to prepare them for adulthood. Anxiety and mental health are two huge areas of the lives of everyday students. We all get anxious, and it hurts our soul to constantly be stressed and confused, which leads to worse mental health conditions and less happiness. We need to help one another combat this feeling of hopelessness by sticking together and advising one another to take a breath, and heal through the support of our peers.”
Mustafa works hard to exemplify values of Mercer Island High School, as he is always ready to give his full attention and effort into helping others. He believes that being kind and understanding towards our peers is one of the most considerate things we can do in life, and so he is always respectful to teachers and to his classmates, because everyone works hard, and we should be able to recognize people for their successes and not only tear them down because of their mistakes. He pushes himself to be a better person and not give up no matter what. Mustafa applied for this position because he is inspired to make a change in our community and serve as a representative of all students, to help bring out all our best interests and ideals. He is extremely grateful to have gotten this opportunity and will not disappoint the Puget Sound region as a PSESD Student Board Representative of King County.
Nevaeh Ladson, Pierce County, Science and Math Institute
Puget Sound representative Nevaeh Ladson (she/her) currently attends the Science and Math Institute, class of 2023. Born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, with a diverse family, she finds the love and hospitality of the Puget Sound community to have a special place in her heart. Her favorite hobbies are learning languages and understanding different cultures. She has a passion for problem solving, trying new things, and bringing people together! Nevaeh is an active member of Key Club, Latinx Club, Restorative Justice Council, and the new Science and Math Institute (SAMI) Student Union; all of which work toward promoting the most welcoming, supportive, and inclusive environment for students and giving back to the community. SAMI has further fueled her determination to create inclusive, caring environments and advertise resources throughout all schools in the way that SAMI did for her. Nevaeh is studying to debunk medical phenomena and become a research scientist. Science is her favorite subject, as she thinks the patterns and hands-on work in both natural and physical science provides the most fun and interesting learning experience! However, English does have a special place in her heart; she has a love for classic poetry.
“Everything is better with a team. It feels good to succeed together, it feels good to have that ‘aha moment’ and see the click on everyone's faces when you find a solution to a problem, it feels good when you can see all the different ways your partners think and see all of the ideas come together. Together we will work towards the end goal of success for each child and eliminate the opportunity gap by leading with racial equity. We can make a difference and we’ll do it together!”