CUSD board appoints new student advisor

Aliso Niguel High School senior Anchal Bhaskar was recently selected to serve as Student Advisor to the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees for the 2020-2021 school year.

Bhaskar is a member of Miracles for Kids, CSF, National Honors Society and Spanish National Honors Society at Aliso Niguel High School.  She also volunteers at Sea Country Senior Center where she is the president of Technology Tutoring, and is a member of the Youth Council at Algalita Marine Research and Education.

Bhaskar will represent nearly 50,000 grade K-12 students during all regular and special meetings, except for closed sessions, of the Board of Trustees during her one-year term.

She succeeds San Clemente High School’s Genavieve Koenigshofer, who served the board during 2019-2020; and Tesoro High School graduate Mona Amirseye, who served during 2018-2019.

CUSD Insider: Do you remember your reaction and what went into your head when you learned you were chosen as Student Advisor to the Board?

Anchal Bhaskar: I do remember my reaction! Unfortunately, my parents were asleep when I received the email, so I attempted to contain my excitement. Then I “quietly” ran down the staircase and informed my sister. We did a happy dance, and then together we went and woke my parents up to celebrate as a family.

CUSD Insider: Why were you interested in becoming the Student Advisor to the Board?

Bhaskar: I wanted to be Student Advisor to the Board because with my experiences, I have come to understand that policy is the most effective way to enact change. Youth are a key stakeholder and their perspective needs representation in the policy enactment.

CUSD Insider: What about the board position do you find interesting?

Bhaskar: I think the most interesting part of the board position is the opportunity it gives me to learn what it takes to run an organization, like a school district, ensuring that all stakeholders’ interests are represented. I also look forward to bringing the voice of the student body to the board and being able to bring the perspective of the board back to the student body.

CUSD Insider: What are you most excited about working with the Board on during the 2020-21 year?

Bhaskar: I’m excited to include more voices in the work of the Board as well as to create a more diverse curriculum and school environment where all students feel comfortable and represented. Because the pandemic has been so hard for our students, I want to work with the Board to provide greater accesses to resources for our students and create opportunities to connect and engage whether our students are learning online or in person. All students need the opportunity to feel connected and involved in the campus environment.

CUSD Insider: What grade are you in? Are you in any clubs or sports at school? What school do you attend? Do you have a favorite subject to study? If so, what is it and why?

Bhaskar: I am a rising Senior at Aliso Niguel High School! I am a part of Miracles for Kids, CSF, National Honors Society, and Spanish National Honors Society on campus; however, the majority of my co-curricular activities are outside of school. I work at Sea Country Senior Center as a Volunteer Coordinator as well as am the President of Technology Tutoring. I, also, am on the Youth Council at Algalita Marine Research and Education. These are some of my main co-curricular activities that I get the opportunity to participate in.

As for my favorite subject in school, I do not really have one. Each subject has so much to offer and is so different from each other that I truly enjoy each subject for different reasons.

CUSD Insider: What is your favorite thing about high school?

Bhaskar: My favorite thing about high school is definitely the people! I have had the pleasure of learning from some of the best teachers I have ever had. The teachers at Aliso Niguel are not only invested in you as a student, but are genuinely interested in supporting you as a person. Also, I have some of the most amazing peers who never cease to amaze me, and who support me unconditionally.

CUSD Insider: What is your favorite food?

Bhaskar: Wow, this is really difficult! I am a foodie, meaning I absolutely adore food. I do not think I could narrow it down to one food, but I can say my favorite cuisine is, probably, Thai food.

CUSD Insider: How has the pandemic affected your school experience? What, if any, silver linings do you see?

Bhaskar: The pandemic has completely changed my school experience! Obviously, the initial inability to attend school has changed the logistics of school, but more importantly it has changed the way we connect with each other. There were definitely times of frustration — trying to figure out the new systems, connecting with teachers, talking to friends, and trying not to go crazy were a few – but overall, it made me realize how much I value school and the people of my community. I think the silver lining is that it gave the CAPOUSD community the ability to connect and work together on an issue that affected every student. Also, because all of my friends were going through similar struggles, we were all able to depend on each other more than ever!

CUSD Insider: Are there any other things you want the CUSD Insider community to know about you?

Bhaskar: I am so excited to serve the CAPOUSD community in this coming year. I look forward to working with the Board of Trustees to ensure the needs of the students are met and that there is proper representation of all communities, but specifically the BIPOC community.

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