Student Voices

Resources for Students by Students - Home of the Student Advisory Council​​​​​

ISBE’s Student Advisory Council welcomes you, the students of Illinois, to explore resources and ask questions that we can bring to the State Board from a student’s perspective. We are here to represent you and we want to hear your voice!

Each year a group of students are chosen from around the state to be student advisors to the board. This group of students have the opportunity to see the State Board’s policymakers in action and work with them to provide student perspectives and concerns on the state’s education policies. Students come together a handful of times throughout the year and work remotely on a research project that is presented to the Board. Applications are available in the spring and students are chosen over the summer with their work beginning in September and culminating with a presentation to the Board in March.​​​​​​​​​  ​​​​


Meet the 2021-22 Student Advisory Council

Congratulations to the Illinois State Board of Education 2021-22 Student Advisory Council. The 21 members will provide ISBE with student perspectives and concerns on the state's education policies. The main focus areas for the 2021-22 Student Advisory Council are to develop ways to respond to post-COVID 19 achievement gaps, create a diversity, equity and inclusion framework, ensure the safety and emotional well-being of students, and address the teacher shortage and rethink recruitment​​​.​​

2021-22 SAC Map of Member Locations​PDF Document


  • Araha

    Araha Uday is a senior at Schaumburg High School. This is her second year on the Student Advisory Council. Outside of the SAC, Araha is a member of the speech team, Junior State of America, National Honor Society, and golf team. Next year, she plans to attend college and major in public policy.​

  • ​Lia

    Lia Rivera Mendoza is currently a junior at Jefferson High School in Rockford. This is her second year as a member of the Student Advisory Council. She is involved in several extracurricular activities, including tennis, track, and field. She is also part of the Latin Culture Club and is planning to inaugurate a new club related to wellness. In her free time, Lia enjoys playing the guitar, exercising, and spending time with her friends, family, and pets.

  • Leo

    Leo Krueger is a senior at Vandalia Community High School. This is his third year on the Student Advisory Council. In his free time, he likes to ride his bike and spend time with his family and pets. He is involved in a number of extracurricular activities, including yearbook, Interact Club, CEO, Student Council, and Scholastic Bowl. After high school, Leo plans to attend a four-year university and study business and Spanish.

  • ​Murad

    Murad Shahzadah is a senior at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire. This is his first year on the Student Advisory Council. In his free time, he likes to volunteer in his community, spend time with his friends and family, read, travel, exercise, and watch and play sports. He is involved in numerous extracurricular activities, including playing club and high school volleyball, running his own nonprofit organization, and participating in Future Business Leaders of America.

  • David

    David Ramirez is a senior at Monmouth-Roseville High School. This is his first year on the Student Advisory Council. In his free time, David enjoys working out and going out with friends. He is involved in FFA, football, speech, and track.

  • Lori

    Lori Martinez is a senior at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights. This is her first year on the Student Advisory Council. She is the student body president and a member of the President's Advisory Council, Student Council, and the Latin American Student Organization. In her free time, Lori enjoys volunteering at her church as a youth group leader.

  • Elle

    Elle Jones is a sophomore at Tuscola Community High School. This is her first year on the Student Advisory Council. In her free time, Elle likes to bake and read. She is involved in Student Council, Student Government Association, Key Club, Scholastic Bowl, and Students Against Destructive Decisions at her school. Outside of school, she participates in 4-H and likes to volunteer in her church’s children's program.

  • Oscar

    Oscar Boccelli is a senior at Walter Payton College Prep High School in Chicago. This is his first year on the Student Advisory Council. In his free time, he likes to play board games and listen to music. He is involved in his school’s student government and freshmen mentorship program. He aspires to become a consultant for startup companies.

  • Amulya

    Amulya Jonnalagadda is a senior at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville. This is her first year on the Student Advisory Council, and she’s looking forward to being an advocate for students across the state. Amulya is on the executive board of Distributive Education Clubs of America, Inc. She is also involved in Science Olympiad; Model UN; Rho Kappa Social Studies Honors Society; and You Matter, a mental health awareness club. Outside of school, Amulya enjoys traveling and spending time with friends and family.

  • Serena

    Serena Thakkar is a senior at St. Charles East High School. This is her second year on the Student Advisory Council. At school, she is involved in many extracurricular activities, including president of Key Club and editor of the Features section for the newspaper. In her free time, Serena enjoys reading, rock climbing, and exploring Chicago with her family.

  • Harrison

    Harrison Clinton is a senior at O’Fallon Township High School. This is his first year on the Student Advisory Council. In his free time, he likes to volunteer in his community with Police Explorers and Civil Air Patrol and is involved in extracurricular activities, including cross country, Student Council, and Mock Trial.

  • Avery

    Avery Heinonen is a senior at Bloomington High School. This is his first year on the Student Advisory Council. Avery spends his free time fishing, playing video games, taking care of his pets, and learning about politics. Avery enjoys participating in Scholastic Bowl, National Honor Society, Scouts, and Student Council. Avery plans to attend college next fall and study political science.

  • Kaylee

    Kaylee Horn is a junior at Carrier Mills-Stonefort High school. This is her first year on the Student Advisory Council. In her free time, she likes to read books. Deb Caletti is one of her favorite authors. She is also involved in numerous extracurricular activities including Service Club, Student Council, and Math and Science Club. Kaylee aspires to go to college in New York City.

  • ​Anna

    Anna Lagacy is a senior at Mahomet-Seymour High School. This is her first year on the Student Advisory Council. In her free time, she likes to spend time with family and friends and is involved in numerous extracurricular activities, including FFA, swim team, and basketball.

  • ​Eric

    Eric Veal Jr. is a senior at Willowbrook High School in Villa Park. Eric is a native of Chicago and now resides in Lombard. This is his second year on the Student Advisory Council. He is active in more than 22 clubs and extracurricular activities at his school. When Eric is not working at school, leading an after-school meeting, or discussing curriculum, he enjoys traveling, singing, working in equity and education, watching politics, and spending time with family and friends.

  • Dhruv​

    Dhruv Patel is a junior at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. This is his first year on the Student Advisory Council. Dhruv serves on the leadership team of his school’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council. In his free time, he enjoys editing videos and playing recreational basketball.

  • Ranyia

    Ranyia Cox is a junior at East St. Louis Senior High School in East St. Louis​. This is her second year on the Student Advisory Council. She is a member of the Beta Club and the Superintendent’s Council. Ranyia is also an AP Ambassador and currently participates in TRIO Upward Bound, Running Start, and a college preparatory program at Washington University. Her favorite colors are pink, yellow, and blue.

  • Langston

    Langston Span is a junior at Champaign Central High School. This is his second year on the Student Advisory Council. Langston is involved in swimming and diving and the African American Club. He enjoys writing and event planning.

  • Cruz

    Cruz Garza is a junior at Zion-Benton Township High School. This is second year on the Student Advisory Council. In his free time, Cruz enjoys hanging out with friends, running, and doing yoga. He is also involved in cheerleading.

  • Jayla

    Jayla Davis is a sophomore at Springfield Southeast High School. This is her first year on the Student Advisory Council. She participates in the Physician Pipeline Preparatory Program or P4. This is a program for students who aspire to be in the medical field. She also plays the piano, and is in the marching band, where she plays the alto saxophone. Jayla also volunteers at her church and is on her school volleyball team.

  • Ala’a

    Ala’a Tamam is a senior at Chatham Glenwood High School. This is her first year on the Student Advisory Council. In her free time, she likes to write poetry, volunteer throughout her community, and play in the school band as a mallet percussionist. She is passionate about creating a more equitable and diverse K-12 education that envelops every type of student. She hopes to pursue a career in law and politics.​​​​​​​​​​

Application for Student Advisory Council Now Open!

Are you passionate about education policy and want to use your voice to represent the students of Illinois?

Applications for the 2021-2022 Student Advisory Council are now open. If you are interested in applying and you are going to be a sophomore, junior, or senior at a public high school during the 2021-2022 school year, please submit your application by 5​ p.m. on June 30, 2021.

2021-22 SAC FINAL PROJECT

The Illinois State Board of Education developed a three-year Strategic Plan to respond to the needs of students. This year, based on their research to explore ways to achieve goals outlined in the Strategic Plan as well as ways to best utilize the influx of education funding, members of the 2021-22 Student Advisory Council presented and discussed their recommendations to the Board during a webinar hosted by the Region 9 Comprehensive Center. Issues discussed included the post-COVID-19 achievement gap; student safety and emotional well-being; and diversity, equity and inclusion.

Explore More...​​

  •   Student Support
    We recognize that many of you have to deal with some pretty heavy issues on top of your education.
  •   Plan for Your Future
    ​We are committed to supporting schools and educators that enable every child to graduate from high school college and career ready.
  •   Funding Your Future
    It's never too early to start planning for the cost of your future.
  •   Student Work Information
    The first step in preparing for a future career is simply getting your foot in the door!
  •   Student School Requirements
    If you’ve ever found yourself sitting in class wondering, ‘Why is the school making us do this?’ then this is the page for you!

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"You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength."

- Marcus Aurelius


submitted by: Rinna Kim

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