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Wed, Oct. 23

Mingus’ Cassia Gehl ‘gets up on stage and takes charge’
High school senior represents students at school board meetings

As student body president, Mingus Union High School senior Cassia Gehl attends the monthly meetings of the school district’s governing board. Gehl is pictured with Kirk Waddle, business manager with Mingus Union High School District. (Photo by Bill Helm)

As student body president, Mingus Union High School senior Cassia Gehl attends the monthly meetings of the school district’s governing board. Gehl is pictured with Kirk Waddle, business manager with Mingus Union High School District. (Photo by Bill Helm)

COTTONWOOD – For the past few years, Mingus Union High School District board member Jim Ledbetter has encouraged the school’s student body president to attend the board’s monthly meetings.

But not just attend the meetings. Sit at the table with the board members, principal, superintendent and the superintendent’s assistant.

For Cassia Gehl, attending the meetings this year has helped her learn about the “inner workings if the school.”

“I knew it was complex,” says Gehl, who will graduate this week. “But speaking in public is now a lot easier for me. It’s a cool experience to address people.”

When the Mingus Union board meetings take a moment to recognize student accomplishments, it’s Gehl who gets to read the names.

If the student council wants to work on a special project, Gehl would bring that to the board at the monthly meeting.

Says her principal at Mingus Union, Jennifer Chilton, Gehl is “such a good speaker.”

“She has a presence,” Chilton says. “She gets up on stage and takes charge.”

It’s a “big shocker,” Gehl says, that her future will be in law, either corporate or family.

“I’ve always been interested in law,” says Gehl, who has been accepted to three schools, Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University and the University of Arizona. “I’ve been watching Mr. Ledbetter. He’s a lawyer, tool. I watch the way he talks.”

Another reason Gehl wants to be a lawyer? The paperwork.

“I’m definitely an organized person,” she says.

For some people, being put in the spotlight of a board meeting could be daunting. But Gehl says she “fit[s] in” on the board.

“I like stuff like this,” Gehl says. “As a high school student, you normally don’t get to see this kind of stuff. The students, they’re the reason we’re here. It’s all about the students. Every decision is centered on the students. It’s nice to be their voice.”

Tuesday, the Mingus Union High School District Governing Board will meet at 6 p.m. at the school’s library. Mingus Union is located at 1801 E. Fir St. in Cottonwood. Call (928) 634-0580 for more information.

The district will post a copy of the agenda no less than 24 hours before the meeting. The agenda can be found at www.mingusunion.com/Governing_Board.

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