Most members of the School Committee set out for their seat, but for Student Representative Dyna Louis, the decision was a divine placement rather than a major decision that the Everett High rising junior made.
Louis is the first student representative of the Committee for many years, something that was championed by Chair Frank Parker and finally brought to fruition this past winter. Since joining the Committee, Louis has been an active member of the Committee – contributing numerous questions and leading a survey for the Committee with the Student Advisory Committee and the student body regarding diversity at Everett High.
“Basically, for me, I feel like I didn’t necessarily choose to be where I am,” she said. “I feel like I’ve been chosen by God specifically to be a representative in my life right now. I’ve been surrounded by so many school and spiritual leaders that I feel that’s the case. I’ve learned from Asst. Supt. Cory McCarthy and I have a better relationship with my pastor. I’m just surrounded by great leadership in both places and my pastor used to be a principal and his wife was a member of the School Committee. Most of the people in my church have a tie to education. I just feel like right now God put me in this place to get counsel from these great leaders – my teachers, school officials, City officials and my spiritual leaders.”
Louis said with that respect, it’s been about growth for her in all aspects of life – whether as a student or as a Christian, her unexpected term on the School Committee has been about learning leadership and sacrifice in representing others.
One sacrifice she cited was getting used to attending School Committee meetings, as they aren’t for the faint of heart due to the fact they can last for many hours on a school night. For Louis, she said she has often held on late into the night, though felt the stress of having homework to do afterward.
“I’m still getting used to it,” she said. “I do have school work and other stuff to do, but I’m going to the meetings. I do get tired and I have homework, but I keep in mind this is important work and it’s where I’m supposed to be and my input has been important.”
Louis said she has learned in her six months on the Committee that there is a lot that goes into the meetings, and patience within the process is something new she has uncovered.
“When you see all of these things at the meetings, the graphs and presentations, it’s like 1-2-3 and it’s perfect,” she said. “It really helped me learn the patience through the process they do. Even as a student representative, I have to prepare to have the proper questions and be ready. I’ve learned preparation is very important.”
Louis came to Everett in the seventh-grade after attending elementary school in Florida. She said there was a cultural shock for her coming from the south to the north, and one she could readily tell.
“When you first move from the south to the north, there’s a difference you can tell,” she said. “It’s definitely a different set of people down there. There was definitely a cultural difference here and there was more diversity and more diverse cultures here. I did think there were more people in Florida that look like me, so there was a shift. Everett if very great in that there are so many cultures mixed in here.”
When she arrived in Everett, she attended the Keverian School, and then went on to Everett High School. She will be a junior next year for the 2021-22 school year, but said she has enjoyed her time on the Committee during this year – even if most of the time it was on Zoom.
“A lot of students would want to run for Student Council president or vice president, but this is something where you can make a difference in the community,” she said. “The important thing is what did you do and not necessarily your title…I do want to give honor and thanks to my church family, Full Deliverance ,led by my pastor, District Elder DaQuall Graham and his family who helped pray me through my journey: and most importantly my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for pushing me into Purpose.”
She also said she was grateful to the entire School Committee for welcoming her and helping her out in onboarding with them, and also to Supt. Priya Tahiliani.