“I’m passionate about what I believe in, and I’m not afraid to speak my mind.”
That’s what John Jay senior Jeremy Sabath said when asked to describe what he hopes to contribute as the next student board member of the Katonah-Lewisboro school board.
Elected by his fellow members of Campus Congress, John Jay High School’s student governing body, Sabath was officially sworn in as a non-voting member of the school board at its July 7 meeting. He succeeds and is the fifth student to take a seat on the board since the position was created in 2007.
Sabath sees the role as an opportunity to help make a difference for students.
“I will help to ensure people will be well-informed,” he said. “I’m confident that I can approach students and ask their views and stand up for my fellow students. I want to make sure we are being heard by the board and our opinions are not lost.”
He said he believed the student voice could be very effective on the board and cited the school budget crisis in 2009 as an instance when students played a role in disseminating information to the community.
“There were a lot of rumors then [about what classes were being cut]; and students would hear information and tell their parents and some misinformation was passed around. I went to a lot of meetings then and asked questions because I was concerned about the future of the arts,” he said.
For the upcoming year, he plans to have an ongoing dialogue with Jonathan Li, who serves as speaker for Campus Congress, and to create a page on eChalk, the school’s online communications platform, to keep himself and the student body informed of school board news and important issues.
Sabath plans to use another platform—Focus, the John Jay student newspaper—to exchange information. “I’d like to write about what’s going on in the school board every month, to continue the themes of transparency and communication,” he said.
In fact, he stressed communication as a main issue he wanted to work on in his election speech to Campus Congress. Sabath defeated two other students to win his seat on the board.
“I think some students are under the impression that school board can create dramatic changes to improve everyone’s life every day, but I spoke about change occurring slowly,” he said. “I think we can help make change in the years to come, for our brothers and sisters.”
Not that Sabath considers himself politically active. He said his outspoken nature is more about sharing ideas and standing up for what he believes in. He’s had public speaking practice on the school’s mock trial team for the past three years.
And, like and his father—who left the world of finance to pursue acting 12 years ago—he has a love for and talent in the arts. He is a member of the school's jazz band; his funk band, Hot in the Pocket, plays gigs around town and next year he will lead the Rolling Tones, John Jay’s male a capella group.
As an active member of his school community he also follows in the footsteps of his mother, Karen Sabath, who is involved in community organizations in Katonah and is a member and former president of the Katonah Village Library board.
Though he’s in the middle of a busy summer—he’s writing college application essays and shadowing the neurosurgeon-in-chief New York Presbyterian Hospital—he said he’s looking forward to getting to know his new fellow board of education members.
The next school board meeting on July 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the John Jay High School library.