AHS student says goodbye to board; Marconi winner of $3,000 MSBA Student School Board Scholarship award

Published 10:08 am Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Giancarlo Marconi, the student representative on the Austin Public Schools Board, received a plaque from the Board during his last board meeting Monday evening. -- Jenae Hackensmith/jenae.hackensmith@austindailyherald.com

Giancarlo Marconi, the student representative on the Austin Public Schools Board, received a plaque from the Board during his last board meeting Monday evening. — Jenae Hackensmith/jenae.hackensmith@austindailyherald.com

Giancarlo Marconi’s last report as the student representative on the Austin Public Schools Board Monday night in the City Council Chambers was a special one.

The board recognized Marconi, a senior, for being selected as a recipient of the Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA) Student School Board Member Scholarship award.

“I’m completely humbled and honored to receive an award like this,” Marconi, 17, said. “More than anything it’s just been an amazing opportunity to be a part of the school board, and getting this is just amazing, that I’ve been able to make a difference through my involvement on the board.”

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The $3,000 scholarship was presented to Marconi during the meeting by three MSBA representatives: Executive Director Kirk Schneidawind, MSBA President Kevin Donovan, and Austin school board member Kathy Green, who is the district director on the MSBA Board of Directors.

Marconi — who has served two years as the school board’s student representative — is one of only two students in Minnesota to receive the award. Proctor High School’s Amber Bennett was the other recipient.

Marconi plans to attend Wharton University of Pennsylvania in the fall and was honored by the scholarship award.

“There’s just so many different, interesting and cool fields out there and I really want to go to Wharton with an open mind,” Marconi said. “I feel like I have a passion for marketing, and that’s what I know so far, but I want to keep an open mind and see where that takes me and where my strengths are and where I can excel. But I know wherever I end up I really just want to be in a position that helps people.”

“That’s really what I care about,” he added. “Working for a company that gives back.”

Schneidawind said the scholarship is a way to reward and encourage students to become involved in the governing bodies of their school and highlight the importance of having locally elected school board members. He was impressed by the representatives this year.

“All of these student school board representatives are high achievers and they are going to make a huge difference in the future,” Schneidawind said. “And that certainly applies to Giancarlo.”

The school board also presented Giancarlo a plaque to honor his time spent on the board.

“We thank you for your two years of service,” school board chair Angie Goetz said. “We thank you for the character that you exemplify in this district as well as your hard work ethic.”

Marconi was pleased to take home the plaque and even got to take his nameplate with him. He said he will keep it as a reminder of being a part of the school board and being able to make a difference.

“I’m really glad I was blessed with the opportunity to participate in this because not only was I able to serve as a voice for the students, but I was able to learn so much and was able to give back to the community that has supported me and helped me along the way,” he said. “And it was just great that I got to do that.”

About 90 of the 332 public school districts in Minnesota have some form of student school board member representation. A committee of five MSBA Board of Directors selected the two winners from many applications. Donovan said although it was a tough decision, Giancarlo deserved the award and was impressed by his achievements.

“Our committee that deliberates for hours on this felt that Giancarlo was just a star above all stars and was most deserving for this award,” he said.

Giancarlo’s has a 4.27 GPA, he is a member of National Honor Society, he is an AP Scholar award, he’s a big nine conference scholar athlete, he went on a mission trip to Guatemala, he was an intern at Hormel Foods Corp., and he worked at Sterling Drug, among others. Giancarlo also went to the DECA International Career Development Conference in April in Orlando, Florida, along with senior Sawyer Myers, and participated on the district’s Calendar Working Group.

“We wish Giancarlo the best of luck in his future,” Donavan said. “And it’s a safe bet that he’s going to accomplish a great many things.”

The St. Peter-based MSBA is a statewide nonprofit organization representing roughly 332 Minnesota public school boards. MSBA provides technical assistance, advocates for public school students and offers training opportunities for board members.

Baylee Garroway will take over Giancarlo’s place as she moves into her senior year, and Mikayla Brunner will take over the junior place on the school board. Marconi has high hopes for Mikayla and gave her some advice.

“I know she’s going to accomplish great things,” he said. “I really recommend taking advantage of your time. There’s so many different things that you can focus on but narrow it down to maybe a few main things and really make a big impact on that, and it’s just really great to be involved in some of those big decisions. I know that her passion and her hard work will show through and she’s going to do a great job.”