WEST ORANGE, NJ — West Orange High School seniors Aarushi Bhatnagar and Sessina Dani have been named as the first-ever student liaisons to the West Orange Board of Education. The two will attend board meetings, provide input, and present student reports to the board and public.
Bhatnagar is an active member of the West Orange community. She serves as vice president of the French Honor Society and is a member of the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society and Science National Honor Society. She is a member of the Asian Culture Club, the Interact Club and the Health Careers Club. Bhatnagar is also a Mountaineer Mentor and volunteers at Kessler Institute of Rehabilitation.
“I’d really like to attend New York University — it’s a great school and it’s really close to home, too,” Bhatnagar said. “I’d like to major in something related to pre-med — either biology or biomedical engineering — to secure a job in the medical field in the future.
“Anything concerning student body issues is important to me. Often, I feel like our concerns aren’t fully addressed — or known, for that matter. I feel like there’s a lot to cover regarding not only social issues, but issues revolving around our curriculum, as well. I hope to address those issues while I am a student liaison,” she continued. “It is for that reason that I wanted to be a student liaison. Last year, around April, Sessina and I got to discussing different issues we’d like to address within the district. We thought about how much of a change we’d like to make, and how much we’d like to work with the board members to make these changes possible. I hope I can contribute to making a positive impact on the school district.”
Dani has also been very involved at West Orange High School over the past three years. She is a member of the girls’ swim team, Royal Strings Orchestra, the vice president of the Science Honor Society and secretary of Rho Kappa, the Social Studies National Honor Society. She is a member of the Spanish Club, several science and math competition teams, and the Health Careers Club. Dani is also a Mountaineer Mentor and volunteers at Kessler Institute of Rehabilitation. She takes courses at Columbia University on weekends.
“I want to pursue a biology degree and continue to medical school, hopefully doing research along the way. I’ve participated in a research internship at NJIT the past two summers and I want to pursue this in college as well,” Dani said. “I’m most concerned with promoting student performance through a more inviting/conducive learning environment, as well as transparency and communication between the board and the students they decide over.
“That leads me directly to my purpose in being a student liaison,” she continued. “I’m looking to bridge the gap between our student body and our Board of Education. I also want to promote student engagement in government and society in meaningful ways, even if starts with making their board of education more accessible and approachable. I think it’s important to raise a generation that feels a sense of ownership over its future and is actively engaged in its government because, in a few decades, it will be my generation that decides the course of not only West Orange but the world.”