Her high school principal describes Ashley Gordon as a poised young woman – someone who relates well with her peers and exudes remarkable confidence as a student leader.
“She has an incredibly strong work ethic,” said Carolyn Eggert, principal at DeVry University Advantage Academy High School. “When Ashley says she’s going to do something, it always gets done. And she has excellent project management skills, so she makes sure her peers get their work done as well.”
This dedication, along with her steady grades, robust extracurricular activities and strong attendance record made this high school senior an ideal choice for the role of Honorary Student Board Member. At DeVry High School, Gordon is the president of her class for the second consecutive year and is a member of the school dance team. She is also a member of the Cisco Training Team – a group of DeVry students focused on college and career development. When not at school, Ashley enjoys baking, sewing, and spending time with the cat she’s had since third grade.
Born and raised on Chicago’s south side, Ashley is close with her family, which includes a brother and sister who are about ten years older.
“They’re my support system,” said Ashley of her siblings. “It can be a challenge sometimes to live up to them, especially since school is so different now than when they were students. But they always push me to do better, and it’s nice to have an older point of view that isn’t always my mom.”
Ashley applied to be the SY2013-14 Honorary Student Board Member at the urging of her principal.
“She gave me the application and told me to go for it,” said Ashley. “And the more I looked into it, the more intrigued I was.”
She was drawn to the idea of representing the interests of 400,000 students, which is the primary responsibility of the Honorary Student Board Member.
“It’s a huge opportunity,” said Ashley. “There are so many issues that are important to CPS students. I lliked the idea of conveying their views in a way that is helpful to the district.”
After completing the application, Ashley went through a two-tiered interview process where CPS representatives asked her how she thought she could best contribute in the role.
“They told me that the biggest challenge would be gathering feedback from such a large student body,” said Ashley, “but I told them I thought it was something I could do, especially if I used social media tools like Facebook. This is the best way to reach out to students, and I think I can help create systems to do it better.”
This week, Ashley attended the October Board of Education meeting, where she was officially named to her role by Board President David Vitale.
“He and the other Board members made me feel welcome,” said Ashley. “And the meeting was more interesting than I expected. I saw that there are different sides to every story and that the Board has to decipher solutions for a lot of different issues. My job will be to reflect on those issues from the perspective of the students.”
Ashley plans to attend all Board of Education meetings for the remainder of the year, and hopes she will lend a helpful perspective, particularly to those issues that directly impact students.
“I know that students are concerned about safety, grading scales, and a lot of other things,” she said. “This role will force me to be much more aware of what those things are, and will help me build my communication skills. I learned in my first Board meeting that if you have something to say, you need to be quick and focused with the point you want to make.”
When she graduates in June, Ashley plans to continue her education, either at DeVry University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, or a handful of other schools that she is still considering.
“I definitely want to get my B.A., probably in Business, and maybe even a graduate degree at some point,” she said.
Whatever her plans, Ashley’s experience as the Honorary Student Board Member for CPS will be a valuable experience along her path.
“CPS is all about getting students ready for college and career,” said DeVry principal Carolyn Eggert. “What better way to do that then to be a part of the governing body for the third largest school district in the country. There is no comparable experience.”