La Cañada High School senior Averi Suk is a true go-getter.
Fostering a natural passion for politics, advocacy and civic engagement, she's served as an intern and campaigner for notable California politicians and volunteered for a number of organizations, from the National Charity League and Girl Scouts to the Associated Student Body and the Asian American Youth Civic Empowerment club.
And, as a leader in Model United Nations, the Constitutional Rights Foundation's Mock Trial and vice president of world affairs for the LCHS speech and debate team, Suk is no stranger to speaking up on issues of national and global importance.
Given her talents and political will, the 17-year-old seemed more than fit to serve as this year's student representative on the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board. Suk joined board and cabinet members on the dais Tuesday, where she delivered the first of many reports on student life and activities districtwide.
The position is intended to give school board members a glimpse into the minds and lives of the students they serve, and to provide La Cañada Unified students a valuable inroad into the decision-making process that occurs at the district.
In an interview before Tuesday's board meeting, Suk explained her interest in applying for the student rep position came from a desire to see up close the inner workings of how school districts operate and get involved.
"I believe politics is something that needs to be acted on, and not just something we passively watch and get upset with or feel guilty about," said Suk, whose goals include an internship at the White House and, someday, a career in politics.
"The school board representative is unique in that they get to talk to the school board, attend all the meetings and give a student voice to the school board," she continued.
A student more predisposed to academics and civic involvement than to athletic pursuits, Suk maintains a 4.86 GPA and balances her volunteerism and heavy course load by playing the double bass in the LCHS orchestra and continuing to play the piano, which she began at age 5.
Suk enjoys photography as a hobby and often goes on excursions that let her use her digital camera, vintage Yashica 635 twin-lens reflex model or her Polaroid SLR-680 instant camera.
"I like the idea of taking candid images," she said of her affinity for Polaroid. "To take a good Polaroid makes the best kind of photographer. There's such a limit, it makes you more focused and precise."
Although she admitted being a bit nervous in the application process — which included in-person interviews and a written statement expressing her intent — Suk had a bit of an inside track from Spartan alum Alex Zhao, who served as student representative last year and was a fellow speech and debate team member.
He advised her to approach the position with the same poise and professionalism practiced in debate. As of Suk's first public appearance at Tuesday's school board meeting, it seems the advice has paid off.
"Welcome to our board," Board President Dan Jeffries addressed Suk at the meeting. "Thank you for joining us here."