The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

Khan leaves behind legacy as voice of the student body

Kate Kelly
Khan poses for a photo by the exterior of the school.

With the workload that comes from rigorous classes, clubs, sports, and more, it can become nearly impossible to find the time for students to voice pressing opinions. Westford Academy’s student body exceeding 1000 students is no help to this challenge. This, however, is the task that senior Mysha Khan has taken on since junior year: representing the collective student body.

Since her junior year, Khan has served as a member of WA’s newly founded Student Advisory Committee (STAC), and represented the student body as the STAC senior representative on Westford’s School Committee. Her role has been pivotal in advocating for the betterment of students and acting as a role model for future generations of STAC representatives. She leaves behind this legacy as she commits to Boston University in the coming fall, majoring in international relations.

STAC is a newly established group at WA, spearheaded by WA Class of 2023 graduate Eric Plankey, to accommodate the state law mandating every school to have this outlet for student voices to be heard. Khan took on the position at the beginning of the committee’s establishment, and has been a main contributor in molding expectations for future representatives.

“As students, we are the people most impacted by changes to education policy, and we deserve representation in the decision-making process. The student representative to the school committee is a key part of this, but they cannot act alone,” Plankey said. “Together with the Student Advisory Committee and Senate, the student representative is part of an ecosystem of institutions that integrate student voice into the educational process.”

WA STAC elects one representative from every grade except seniors, in which two are elected. One senior is then appointed as Student Chairman of the School Committee and is responsible for attending the committee meetings most Mondays at 7:00 pm. All five members then also schedule frequent meetings with the School Committee Liaison, which in Khan’s case was Chris Sanders.

“STAC meets regularly, and the School Committee sends members to each of those STAC meetings to both get student input on matters before the committee and to also generally hear what’s on the minds of WA students,” Sanders said. “Last year, [Khan] served as the junior class member of that inaugural STAC, and I was one of the School Committee members who attended those meetings. Right away, I was impressed with how energetic and forthcoming [Khan] was, and I felt she very effectively represented the student perspective.”

Khan presents meeting items at the March 11 School Meeting. (Courtesy of WestfordCat)

Khan expresses how she has always had an inclination towards leadership in her community, and in combination with her knack for public speaking and keen thinking, she knew she was interested in running for a position in student government as she entered high school. However, entering her freshman year after the initial impacts of COVID-19 had delayed this goal.

“It was during my sophomore year that I was thinking of running for STUCO, but I actually knew some of the people who had originally started the campaign for [the] student senate and the student advisory committee […],” Khan said. “So when I was talking about what position I was thinking of running for, they convinced me [to run for either Student Senate or STAC] […] So then I started looking into it, and I’m eternally grateful that they convinced me to switch over to run for Student Advisory Committee.”

Elected to start her position junior year, STAC was not the only group Khan had a formative role in that year. Khan was also one of the founding members of WA’s South Asian Student Association (SASA), and has served as the club’s secretary since its start. Khan explains how this experience has expanded her interactions with all grade levels and improved her skills in communication overall.

During her junior year Khan also played a pivotal role in a movement to better represent student opinions while the School Committee discussed the possibility of reorganizing the district. She and other STAC members decided to meet with groups at both Stony Brook and Blanchard middle schools to present and survey students on how they would feel about the possible outcomes. Here, the committee proved their devotion to supporting not only current WA students, but the generations to come. 

“There is honestly a disconnect between admin […] and students because, again, they don’t get a chance to necessarily talk one-on-one with students and hear directly from students about their experience,” Khan said. “They look at graphs all day, they can look at reports and stuff, but actually talking to students, […] that stuff, they don’t usually hear unless they’re talking to [the STAC].”

Come her senior year, Khan was appointed to sit as one of the Student Representatives on the School Committee, with the other representative being senior and STUCO member Alex Popelka. Her responsibilities amplified as the budget discussion became prevalent at meetings, but Khan continued to be an outlet of reliable information, cross-referencing all WA communities to give the committee a comprehensive report on WA.

“[Khan] has been an important voice at our meetings, sharing her thoughts during a number of committee deliberations. I especially appreciated her thoughtful and helpful comments during the conversations last fall around the decision to not have an 8th grade trip to Washington, DC,” Sanders said. “Additionally, at STAC meetings this year, [Khan] has been a very active participant in conversations around a number of topics, including school start times and the difficult budget decisions that the district is facing.”

Persevering through countless presentations on the budget and other heavily anticipated discussions, accumulated in hours of monthly dedication to the role, Khan leaves her mark in the representation of the WA student body and humbly expresses her appreciation for the opportunity.

“I think what I’ll take most from [the committee] is genuinely my ability to speak in front of people. I remember when I was a lot younger, I was really shy. I remember when I moved here in third grade I told myself I would never speak […] because I was a new kid,” Khan said. “But being here and just throughout the years I’ve learned that I honestly just like talking, which is an ironic thing.”

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About the Contributor
Kate Kelly
Kate Kelly, Features Editor
Hi, my name is Kate Kelly and I’m a sophomore writing as a Features editor for the Ghostwriter. This is my second consecutive year on the staff and I'm excited for more to come! I also enjoy listening to music, playing soccer, and biking.

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