He'll have to give up his part-time job, but George H. Durham III thinks the sacrifice will be worth it.
In July, the East High School junior, who is known by his nickname Troy, will trade fixing bicycles at Guthrie Bicycle after school for debates about high-school enrollments and earthquake safety. Durham will become the newest - and at 17, the youngest - member of the Salt Lake Board of Education.Durham, the son of Salt Lake pediatrician George H. Durham II and Utah Supreme Court Justice Christine Durham, was selected by the board Tuesday night to replace student board member Stanford Pugsley, who will graduate from Highland High School this week.
Pugsley became the state's first student school-board member last year after he petitioned the school board for membership. Pugsley had researched an obscure Utah law that states a student aged 18 or younger who collects the signatures of 500 peers, or 10 percent of the enrolled high school students in smaller districts, may request appointment to a local school board as a non-voting member.
Impressed by Pugsley's initiative, the board appointed him. He has regularly attended meetings throughout the year, occasionally commenting on issues that affect students. Pugsley thanked the board Tuesday night for accepting him and "treating me like an adult."
The Davis Board of Education recently followed Salt Lake's direction, appointing its first student member.
Salt Lake board members decided that to be fair, they should rotate the board membership among the high schools. The 1991-92 student seat was assigned to East. Durham collected the necessary signatures and was nominated by Principal R. Kay Petersen as East's representative.
A history buff, Durham hopes to make his own and student history by speaking up on a variety of issues affecting students. He thinks he can offer a fresh perspective, speaking as one "who sees the schools close up."
He has spent his entire school career in Salt Lake City. He attended Bonneville Elementary School and Clayton Intermediate School.
Durham also vows he won't forget to communicate with his constituents, the students. He hopes to clear up "the confusion on some of the issues such as whether they (school board members) are going to retrofit or rebuild the schools."
Even though Durham will serve as East's student-body president while he sits on the school board, he plans to be the board's voice for all students, including those at rivals West and Highland.