The newest LBUSD student board member was officially sworn in during Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting. Jordan High School senior Axel Aguilar was welcomed on as the student representative for the 2023-24 school year, becoming the second Jordan student in a row to hold that position.
According to School Board President Diana Craighead, more than 30 students applied for the position this year, with six finalists earning interviews with Craighead and LBUSD Superintendent Jill Baker.
“These students are the best and the brightest of the district,” said Craighead. “You can’t believe their accomplishments, and of those six, we made the choice of Mr. Axel Aguilar. I could not be more thrilled for everyone to have the opportunity to get to know him. He is a fabulously compassionate, caring, incredibly smart, and accomplished student, and we are lucky to have him as part of our board.”
Last school year, the LBUSD added an official role for student board members in order to increase student participation. Jordan’s Frania Lopez was selected as the first to hold the newly formalized position.
Aguilar said he hopes to use his position to give students a voice and to help increase access to extracurricular activities for students.
“I wanted to be a student board member for the Long Beach Unified School District because I wanted to make a difference in my community,” said Aguilar from his new seat on the dais. “Growing up in Long Beach, I grew up around people from all walks of life. As a first-generation Mexican-American, I never saw much representation for first-generation students, and navigating the academic system was something that was foreign to me and my parents. However, through LBUSD’s commitment to equitable and excellent education, I was able to find my voice in the district, and it’s through this voice that I want to help all first-generation LBUSD students to a higher education.”
Aguilar is a standout student in the AIMS pathway at Jordan, where he is currently the AIMS club president, ASB vice president, and the editor-in-chief of the school’s yearbook. He’s hopeful that his role with the school board will help him bring more positive changes to the J-Town campus.
“Growing up on the Northside of Long Beach, Jordan was the school centered around my community,” Aguilar said in an interview. “When I was growing up, Jordan did not necessarily have the best reputation. It was seen as a school with rampant gang activity and high crime rate. However, now Jordan is changing for the better, and I want to be a part of the process of changing Jordan’s narrative. I was able to experience how Jordan used to be before all of the new buildings and what it is now. It is through that experience that I appreciate all of the positive changes at Jordan High even more, and I want to share that with the rest of Long Beach.”
In his role on the board, Aguilar will be able to attend all board meetings, except for those held in closed session. He will be permitted to ask questions and engage in discussion during open sessions, with access to the same briefing materials received by the rest of the board.
Aguilar will also be able to cast preferential votes during meetings, which will be recorded as a formal expression of opinion in the meeting minutes. The preferential vote will not be included in the vote count and thus will not impact the outcome of a vote. He will also be given the opportunity to participate in subcommittees and can make motions to be acted on by the rest of the board.
Aguilar hopes to be a resource for students across the district and plans to use his influence to express their concerns with district leadership.
“When a student board member speaks, faculty listen,” Aguilar said. “This is an opportunity to gather my peers’ thoughts, common concerns about school and how things are done on campus, and effect positive meaningful change. As a student board member, I can use my voice on behalf of the district student body and convey their thoughts to evoke positive change.”
After high school, Aguilar said he hopes to attend an Ivy League university, with plans to study neurobiology and anatomy before attending medical school. His goal is to one day become a trauma surgeon to help people in need of emergency surgery.