New GUSD Student Board Member Ready to be a Voice for All Students

Vahag Matevosian at his swearing in with school board president Jennifer Freemon at his side. Photos provided by GUSD


It took me quite a long time to develop a voice and, now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.  – Madeleine Albright

Respecting students enough to give them a voice in their own education is something Glendale Unified School District (GUSD) has done for some time by seating a student on the educational board.

On Sept. 26 Clark Magnet High School senior Vahag Matevosian continued that tradition of student leadership when he was named the student member of the GUSD board of education.

Being assigned the position of student board member is not a thing that “just happens;” it is a position that is earned.

Clark Magnet High School senior Vahag Matevosian outside the GUSD building in Glendale.

The journey to the board of education begins with first being seated on the Student Advisory Council, which has representatives from all GUSD high schools. Those who want to run for a seat on the Student Advisory Council must make a speech to its voting members on why s/he should be elected. Then there is a vote.

After being seated for a while on the Student Advisory Council he turned his attention to the board of education.

“I had three opponents,” Matevosian said. “Honestly, I was hesitant [at first] to go for the position but friends encouraged me.”

On Sept. 26 he proudly took on the role as the voice for over 24,000 students.

“The point is to capture the moments of students’ lives that adults don’t have that much insight [into],” he said. “The students have a voice with me.”

He said having a student voice on the board helps the adult members understand how they look at specific issues.

“The [GUSD board] is trying its best to have student voices heard. This [student board member position] is not mandatory for the board,” he said. “It is a very kind gesture to have the council [board] open to everyone.”

“Hearing input directly from the students we serve is vital to our work as district leaders,” said Interim Superintendent Dameika Watson. “Our student board member shares a valuable perspective with the board of education and advocates for the issues that are most important to our student body.”

Matevosian knows this position is going to involve a lot of work.

“I personally enjoy going to [related] events,” he said.

He said he also enjoys the challenge and really wants to reach all students, not just those in high school but also those in middle and elementary students.

He realizes that each school has different issues and in fact the Student Advisory Council has already looked into the diversity of each school.

“That is one of the issues [the Student Advisory Council] wanted to stress this year: make sure we address [the issues] in middle and elementary schools,” he said.

To help accomplish that, the school board invited students from GUSD middle schools to participate in a workshop that would guide them to high school.

Matevosian said each school is different – one school may have few bullying issues but worry about security while another may be dealing with a lack of school spirit.

He is excited about his new position on the GUSD board, even though it is going be a lot of work reaching out to so many students as well as keeping up with his own schoolwork.

“If something makes you happy it doesn’t feel like a chore,” he said. “This is what I want to do.”

Asked what he hopes he will learn at the end of his tenure on the board, Matevosian said, “My heart tells me I will get a lot of leadership skills and will be a better listener.”

He added as the GUSD student board member he will need to listen to the diverse voices within the schools’ student body and translate their concerns to an adult world.

Matevosian encourages students to reach out to him with any concerns. Students can contact him at

There have been a lot of volatile GUSD meetings lately riddled with protests with some speakers making negative public comments to the board.

“We are here to provide education to our students to the best of our ability,” he said.

When asked if he was worried about the negativity he said, “Not really. [I think] kindness always wins.”