Bath High School student actively advocates for education

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BATH — Serving on education boards both locally and in Augusta, playing three sports, and being involved in several other community activities, Noa Sreden’s young and fruitful life pretty much stays in the fast lane.

And the Morse High School junior wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sreden received an application to serve on the state Board of Education through her guidance office during her sophomore year. She submitted a resume, wrote an essay and sat for an interview with the board members.

The top three nominees were sent to Gov. Paul LePage for review, and in May 2015 he chose Sreden, who then gave a presentation before the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs in Augusta.

The Bath resident is one of just two students on the board. Her two-year term representing District 1 expires next year, while the District 2 term of Gwendolyn Viles of Athens is up this year.

“I knew it’d be pretty competitive, but I was really happy when I found out I got it,” Sreden said in an interview March 2.

Her experience with nonprofit groups, education and leadership drew her to the position, said Sreden, who has served as vice chairwoman of the Student Community Liaison Council, and president of the Wellness Committee. She has also been involved with the Green and Interact clubs, Students Associated for Equality, and the National Youth Council, through which she took part in the Fuel Up to Play 60 school nutrition and exercise program.

Along with serving as class treasurer, Sreden plays three varsity sports – soccer, basketball and lacrosse – and has also participated in intramural sports.

“I figured it was something that I’d be interested in doing, and it would be a position that I’d love to have and be able to contribute to my community and state,” Sreden said.

“Once I got to the state board, I was obviously very happy with my position, but there was always this feeling of, ‘I can’t be contributing enough, or doing enough,” adding she found much of the education policy that directly impacts students comes from the local school boards.

So she set her sights a bit closer to home as well. Early this year, just a few months after joining the state board, Sreden applied and was appointed to serve as a student representative on the Regional School Unit 1 Board of Directors.

Despite her status as a student on both boards, Sreden feels very much heard, with other members asking her viewpoints on matters.

“People want to hear students’ voices,” she said, adding that experience has given her greater confidence in herself, and in what she can provide to her community.

The state board meets once a month, primarily in Augusta this winter, but at alternating locations such as Sanford and Mars Hill last fall.

“We go and have our meetings at schools,” Sreden said.

While serving on the Career and Technical Education Committee in Augusta, she can teleconference for those meetings.

Growing up, Sreden always wanted to be a doctor. Once she joined the state board, “I realized that education policy was really a passion of mine. … I’d love to work in a more behind-the-scenes position in government, and with education policy. And then I would love to have my own nonprofit that’s centered around education; providing education equality.”

Despite having enough on her plate to fill a set of China, keeping active and contributing is a happy way of life for Sreden.

“I’ve always loved being involved,” she said. “I couldn’t think of myself not being busy. I do a lot of running everywhere, and I like the lifestyle. I guess it’s ‘always be moving fast.'”

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Noa Sreden, a junior at Morse High School in Bath, serves on both the local Regional School Unit 1 Board of Directors as well as the state Board of Education.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.