|Heather Clouston (right), Executive Assistant to the President and Board of Trustees, administers the oath of office to new Board student trustee and Student Government Association President Yasmin Cervantes July 15.|
ASHEBORO (July 31, 2019)
Randolph Early College High School student Yasmin Cervantes of Liberty was sworn in as Randolph Community College’s next student trustee July 15. Cervantes is the first-ever RECHS student to serve as RCC Student Government Association President.
The 17-year-old didn’t know she was making history until reading an email from Recruitment and Student Life Specialist Shane Bryson.
“I’m surprised,” Cervantes said. “A lot of Early College students have been involved with SGA. It just makes me feel like, ‘Wow, I must be doing something.’
“I feel like it’s my responsibility to hold myself up to the standards of past presidents and past trustees, but still bring in my own point of view as an early college student and a community college student.”
Cervantes said she got interested in SGA thanks to Bryson, who gave a speech to RECHS students about student government.
“I just thought it was really cool,” she said. “At the beginning, I found it really interesting — there are so many rules, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. ... The more you get involved, the more you understand and the more you know what students can do for other students and other community colleges. You can’t go change a law, but you can lobby to change a law or talk to your legislators — or even at the community college level you can talk to the trustees or have a meeting with the president or the vice presidents.
“I really like the opportunity to talk to other people and give them my perspective. And just to learn — I love to learn.”
Cervantes started out as a delegate and, the more conferences she attended, the more she enjoyed getting involved — even at the state level. She has recently served as secretary of the North Carolina Comprehensive Community College Student Government Association (N4CSGA), which is made up of the SGAs of all 58 community colleges in the state, and as secretary/treasurer of RCC’s SGA. Two of the past three N4CSGA Presidents — Toni Formato and Kirsten Stovall — have come from RCC, and the College has had one to three students on the 12-member board every year since 2013. Currently, RCC boasts five students on the N4CSGA, including Cervantes, and all are RECHS students.
“It’s really good that we’re really involved,” Cervantes said. “I see other community colleges or other students — even if they aren’t in early college — who aren’t allowed to run for state or they just don’t know anything about SGA. They just don’t have that student perspective on their campuses. I feel really lucky to have that privilege to serve on the board.”
While serving as RCC’s SGA President, Cervantes said she is hoping to make things more transparent.
“I want to make whatever happens at the meetings more public for the other students,” she said. “Sometimes it’s hard for students — you’re taking your classes, and you want to know what’s going on, but what’s going on is in a 10-page packet. I want to make it clear and concise to make sure everyone knows what’s going on and get their input.
“Students complain about things, but they don’t know it got voted on in the meeting, or they don’t understand what’s going on because of the language that’s used. I want to make it clearer and more understandable.”
While Cervantes said she has thought about running for offices beyond SGA, she knows college comes first. The older sister of two brothers is looking at majoring in business or, after recently attending a camp at North Carolina State University, studying textiles.