Student Spotlight – FHN’s Caroline Blanke Represents Students at the October Board Meeting

Posted on 11/13/2020
Student Spotlight - Caroline Blanke, FHN Senior

Francis Howell North senior Caroline Blanke possesses many of the qualities our world desires in a great leader – passion, a caring heart, and a voice for others. FHSD Board of Education recently welcomed the inspiring senior as the student representative for their October meeting.

Blanke has served as the president of FHN’s student council for two years now, allowing her to work heavily with the school’s student cabinet and also have a hand in the creation of FHN’s mission statement. What she is most known for, though, is her advocacy work to encourage cultural appreciation at FHN.

After noticing the importance of cultural awareness within the District high schools, Blanke organized the first Cultural Fair where students could share and express their culture with others.

In addition to her work with the fair, Blanke also formed a strong relationship with FHN’s Refugee Sister School in St. Louis—Nahed Chapman New American Academy (NCNAA)—by leading the Pen Pal Program. The program pairs FHN students with refugee students at NCNAA and provides a space for them to learn from and support one another. The refugee students are able to practice their English by writing back and forth with their pen pal and the FHN students are able to hear their stories, experiences, and perspectives on life.

“Blanke has been instrumental in building our partnership with the Nahed Chapman New American Academy, and even helped create the opportunity to host the Missouri Commissioner of Education at last year’s Pen Pal event,” said FHN principal Dr. Nathan Hostetler.

Blanke was asked to attend a Missouri School Board Association meeting in 2019, where she discussed FHN’s efforts to encourage cultural appreciation and invited Margie Vandeven, the Commissioner of Education for Missouri, to FHN where she could witness that work in action. Vandeven was full of gratitude knowing that initiatives such as the pen pal program are happening in Missouri.

“Caroline is a remarkable young woman,” said Hostetler. “Her leadership over the last two years will impact students who attend North years from now.”

Because of Blanke’s contributions, students in the FHN community and beyond can feel safer knowing that their cultures, background, and stories are worth celebrating!

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