Nathan Onibudo, a junior at South County High School, has been elected by the countywide Student Advisory Council (SAC) to serve a one-year term as student representative to the Fairfax County School Board, beginning July 1. Onibudo will participate in School Board meetings as a nonvoting member, filling the position currently held by Kimberly Boateng, a junior at Lee High School. He will be the 50th student representative to the School Board.
Onibudo entered Fairfax County Public Schools after attending private schools in grades preK-4. “I have had an overwhelmingly positive experience growing up a student in FCPS and I want to do what I can to make sure that that is the case for all current and future FCPS students,” he states.
Onibudo cites a spirit week several years ago at South County where a student wore a confederate flag as part of a costume. To counter the fracture that resulted among students, administrators held a series of student-led town halls, enabling students to voice their opinions and grievances. The South County Student Council was born from these town halls and brought together representatives from each class that reflected the diversity of the student body. “The student council has had a profoundly positive effect on school culture as a whole and has given the student body a new and accessible mouthpiece-voice,” explains Onibudo. “As a three-year member of the South County Student Council, I have witnessed firsthand the impact that students can have on their school, community, and education. We provide a new perspective…as students, (we) are best positioned to relay information on how policies and directives are impacting the individual lives of students in the county. Students, when given the opportunity, can influence positive change.”
AMONG THE ISSUES Onibudo wants to focus on as student representative are working to properly serve the increasing number of students in FCPS that are struggling with mental health issues and increasing student awareness about how to access mental health care, finding responsible and sensible ways to deal with the lasting effects of the COVID-19, technology inequity, increasing student exposure to postsecondary opportunities in addition to college, and ensuring that the increasingly diverse FCPS student body feels included in their school community. “The last issue mentioned is extremely important to me because I have witnessed what a broken school community can do to the educational environment of a school,” says Onibudo, who cites increasing numbers of students identifying as LGBTQ+ community and a growing number of ethnicities. “Mr. (Gary) Morris, the new principal at South County, made his ‘big’ thing this year at our school about family; he even printed T-shirts that read, ‘It's a family thing.’ As corny as it sounds, seeing signs all around the school that remind us that we are in a building with people that we can turn to when we need help is a stabilizing feeling.” Onibudo also wants to encourage all students to reach out to him with their ideas, concerns, and comments on how he can help make FCPS more inclusive via email or on his website, that will also include updates on projects he is working on.
AT SOUTH COUNTY, Onibudo has taken (or plans to take) Advanced Placement (AP) English Composition; AP U.S. Government and Politics; AP Environmental Science; AP English Literature, AP U.S. and Comparative Government; AP Micro and Macro Economics; AP Biology; AP Psychology; AP World History; Latin 1-5; Pre-Calculus and Trigonometry; Leadership; Photography; and honors classes in algebra, English, geometry, and biology. At South County, Onibudo has been a member of the varsity cross county, indoor track, outdoor track, and soccer teams; a member of the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, and National Latin Honor Society; a member of the school’s Model Judiciary and Quiz Bowl-It’s Academic teams; and Class of 2021 Student Council representative.