Norhan Fillo makes an effort to smile and say hello to teachers and students, as she walks through the halls of Stone Bridge High School. Her first-period class is peer counseling, where she and a handful of classmates train to listen to their peers’ problems. "We’re trained to listen and help other students," Fillo said. "If students are stressed, in a fight or just new to the school, we listen."
STONE BRIDGE HIGH SCHOOL principal, James Person, selected the senior as a Loudoun County School Board student representative. "During the summer, I approached guidance counselors and asked for names of students that stood out," Person said. "Norhan stands out because she is grounded, articulate and comfortable in her environment." Her extracurricular activities make her an attractive candidate. "Norhan is active in a lot of areas and I value her input," Person said. "She is a good listener, very thoughtful and a giving young woman. The organizations she is involved in reflect the way she gives back and helps others."
New this year, the Loudoun County School Board invited one student from each high school to represent the student voice at their meetings. "You learn and I learn," School Board chairman John Andrews (Potomac) said at last week’s meeting.
"I am a good representative of the average student," Fillo said. "It is good that I am average." She is a member of the Key Club, National Honors Society and French Honors Society and plans to study French or nursing at a Virginia state school.
FILLO WAS THE FIRST of eight students to sit alongside School Board members Tuesday, Sept. 12, at the School Administration Building. "She is a pioneer," Person said. "I am learning from her."
Fillo said her first meeting was a great learning experience. "I did not have an agenda. I am learning just how much the School Board does for students, like what to name schools and where to build them," Fillo said. "I am hoping to go back to school and share how students can get their voices heard."
Fillo will serve her last meeting Tuesday, Sept. 27. "I am hoping the School Board discusses issues that I am directly affected by, so that I can have better input," she said.
"Norhan is a terrific young woman, her feet are planted squarely on the ground and she is very insightful and we are really proud of her for taking the plunge and being the pioneer," Person said.
Fillo has taken the time to e-mail fellow student representatives, to explain the process to them. "I was wishing someone had done it before me," Fillo said. "I told them the order of events, and got replies, thanking me for the reassurance."
OTHER student representatives include Daniel Cohoon, Loudoun Valley High School; Michaela Ottenberg, Potomac Falls High School; Eric Scofield, Broad Run High School; Kelly Haller, Heritage High School; Andrew Cypher, Loudoun County High School; James Choi, Dominion High School and Jessica Koss; Park View High School.
"This may be a defining moment for Norham, an opportunity will not forget," Person said. "We may see her on the School Board one day."