What did you learn from your experience on the Highlands Youth (HY) Advisory Board?
I gained incredible leadership skills and confidence to speak in groups and share my ideas, learned I loved working with kids, and know I’ll be able to take the values instilled in me from serving on the HY Board to college and beyond.
What did you enjoy about your experience on the HY Board?
I really enjoyed the phenomenal opportunities I was given to be a leader; whether it was attending a Ripple Effect Leadership Conference or helping take the lead in planning a Global Grub and Groove event to celebrate my cultural identity, I was afforded so many experiences where I grew as a leader. While it’s not very often adults take a step back so middle and high school students can take the reins in effecting positive change in the community, that’s exactly what the HY Board is about and I’m so proud I was able to be a part of it.
Knowing what you know now, if you were just joining the HY board, would you do anything differently?
I would start sharing my thoughts and reaching out to other HY Board members to make friends right from the very beginning. When I first joined, the idea of doing either of those things was nerve-wracking because I initially didn’t have confidence in myself and was intimidated by the members who’d been on the Board for a while. After learning how important and valued my voice really was, contributing my ideas to the group and making really great friends was a breeze.
What is your legacy contribution to the HY Board?
I’m hoping I leave behind a legacy of kindness, particularly in welcoming new members to the Board and helping them feel like they belong. I remember how hard it felt to take the first step in getting to know the other teens, so as an older member, I’ve tried to make sure I can be the one taking that step and I hope that’s something all future members will do as well.
What is your message to the remaining HY Board members?
You play an integral role in the Issaquah Highlands community, and you can use that privilege to create change for the better. Though you may think you’re “only” a teenager (or younger!) on the HY Board, there are so many kids who look up to you as role models, who see themselves and their identities reflected in you; never doubt your capabilities or the importance of your voice as a leader. Finally, if there’s ever an issue or event you’re passionate about, bring it up, even if the idea of doing that scares you. Gaining confidence to speak your mind in front of your fellow HY members will serve you incredibly well in your journey on the Board and beyond.
How did your experience on the HY board build your self-confidence?
Being a part of the HY Board was a fantastic way to foster my self-confidence, including learning how to communicate effectively with team members and adults in the community, delegating jobs to my peers, speaking in front of crowds, and presenting my own thoughts and ideas. From growing as a leader to developing interpersonal skills, I’ve grown so much as a person, student, and team member over the past five years.
Did making new friends through HY improve your high school experience?
Absolutely! One of the best parts of being a HY member was making a positive impact in my community alongside the friends I made. Learning how to reach out to other members (even though I didn’t attend the same school) was something I applied to my high school experience and elevated my senior year.
Do you feel you are better prepared for your next life chapter because of your HY board experience?
While the idea of starting the next chapter of my life scares me, I know the experiences I’ve gained and the lessons I’ve learned while on the HY Board leave me as prepared as I could ever be. Not only have the “Art of Adulting” workshops taught me about basic civic duties, cooking, career planning, and networking skills, I know what I learned in those workshops will help me throughout my college experience. I now also understand the importance of joining (or even starting) clubs for things I’m passionate about and building my own little community.
Anika Mehta is a senior at Eastside Preparatory School and a Magnolia Park resident.
Now Accepting 2022-2023 HY Board Applications
The HY Board is now accepting applications for the 2022-2023 school year. Ideal candidates are motivated, outgoing, creative, and dedicated to making our community better. Candidates must live in Issaquah Highlands and enter seventh through 12th grade in Fall 2022. The deadline for application submissions is May 1.
Top applicants will be invited to a personal interview for final consideration. Click here for more information and application details.
Submit Your Free Graduation Announcement!
Highlands Council seeks graduation announcements for publication in the July 2022 issue of Connections. At this time, we are seeking announcements for graduates from high school, college, and technical/trade schools.
To be featured, graduation announcements must be submitted by May 31, 2022. Be sure to select “Graduation” in the announcement form to provide all the relevant information for your announcement. Click here to submit your free announcement.