23-year-old running for seat on Lake Oswego School Board
Twenty-three-year-old Jini Stupak is trying her hand at a school board race in the district she grew up in.
She said hindsight is 20/20 and after reflecting on her own education in Lake Oswego, she knows she has a fresh new perspective to bring as a younger member of the community.
"For me, my initial response — I was scared of being ridiculed for not knowing (everything) because I am so young. I'm not saying here that I'm going to solve every problem, but I can be a good person to ask. I can always ask people," she said.
Stupak is running for position 4 of the Lake Oswego School Board against incumbent Liz Hartman.
After graduating from Lakeridge High School in 2015, she attended Oregon State University where she studied environmental science.
Now, she's back in Lake Oswego and working in data entry.
Though her main goal on the school board is to listen and advocate for questions people have, she does have a few areas of concern.
"I can't tackle everything. I'm not going to be the person who can give you the answers to everything, but I can be the person to ask the questions," Stupak said.
Specifically, she wants to focus on bridging the gap between members of the board who are parents and the student board representatives. She explained that currently, there are board members who are also parents in the community, and there are student representatives. She seeks to fill a niche of a community member who doesn't have children but cares about the district.
Additionally, she'd be the only board member who recently went through the LOSD education system.
"I have valuable insight on how school actually did prepare me for life after graduation," Stupak said.
She said there are also areas in which the curriculum is lacking. She'd like to see a health curriculum that emphasizes communication skills, body positivity and consent.
"We want to build smart kids, but also good kids and kind kids and compassionate kids," she said.
On the topic of diversity, equity and inclusion, Stupak says there's more to be done in the curriculum there as well.
"Our history classes definitely do skew Eurocentric," she said.
She said when she thought about her qualifications for this position, she remembered she was very involved in the community as a student growing up in Lake Oswego.
She participated in student government and was also a member of the Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Youth Action Council and the Library Teen Advisory Board.
"I have been doing this the entire time one way or another, representing Lake Oswego," she said.
All in all, Stupak said she's running for the same reason anyone else is: She cares about the schools and about the community.
"I do care a lot and I think that as Lake Oswego citizens, we have a lot to offer and I would hate to diminish my value because I don't have as much experience," she said.
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