Don’t tell Lindsey Luis that kids these days aren’t getting involved.
The 18-year-old senior at Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies is running for Vancouver Public Schools Board of Directors, for the position currently held by Michelle Giovannozzi. Luis announced her candidacy on Saturday — her birthday.
“I’m trying to change this from the bottom up,” she said.
Luis has been a present figure at school, organizing a school walkout following the death of 17 students and staff in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. She’s also pushed her friends and peers to register to vote and turn in their ballots despite only recently reaching voting age.
Luis said she’s running to give students and young voters a voice on the governing body.
“If we have a teacher, a worker, a student, a mother, a father, these decisions that we’re deciding go back and affect these communities,” she said.
Luis also pointed to the district and community’s growing Latino/Hispanic population as part of her motivation for running. Luis is the National Youth President of League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC. She’s completed public service projects through the organization, and she recently met with members of Congress at LULAC’s annual Washington Youth Leadership Seminar.
Fort Vancouver High School has the largest percentage of students of color and Latino/Hispanic students of any comprehensive high school in Clark County. About 41 percent of the school’s nearly 1,600 students identify as Latino/Hispanic. About 62 percent identify as a race other than white.
“I feel like I can bring a lot of hope into these communities who might be underserved,” said Luis. “I think I can communicate with them.”
Luis intends to go to WSU Vancouver in the fall, where she plans to major in political science.
Giovannozzi is the director of the Center for Executive and Professional Education at Portland State University. She was appointed to a vacant seat on the board in 2015, then elected after running unopposed for a different seat that same year.
Giovannozzi has not publicly declared whether she is running to keep her seat, nor has she filed financial disclosure paperwork with the Public Disclosure Commission.