WINDHAM — When Megan Osgood’s mother passed away several years ago, the then-seventh grader leaned on her involvement in student government for support.
“It was really challenging for me, but I knew that I had a big support system that I had come to find at my school. I just wanted to get back in my routine and and get back into being around the people that I had been around,” said Osgood, who is preparing to graduate from Windham High School with about 200 classmates Sunday, June 11, at the Cross Insurance Center in Portland.
Starting in middle school and continuing today, Osgood, the daughter of Kevin Osgood, has been heavily involved in student leadership and volunteering. She currently serves as both the student representative to the RSU 14 Board of Directors and as Student Council president.
“I took that loss as a way to take more advantages in my life, of the opportunities that I had,” Osgood continued. “And I looked at it as a chance to see how time is valuable.”
Osgood, 18, is originally from Sebago and her family moved to Windham when she started middle school in sixth grade. She says her interest in leadership was first fueled by her sixth-grade advisor, who was also the student council leader.
“She kind of pushed me towards being a leader, and I just thought it was really cool to help the school in different ways,” Osgood explained, adding that she was drawn to “the act of being involved and feeling like you had a say. ”
Osgood has taken that passion for leadership to the RSU 14 school board this year, where she provides a student perspective and helps to keep her fellow students informed about board decisions.
“Megan has been a great addition to the RSU 14 Board of Directors. She has helped bring the voice of the students to our meetings and keeps us and the public informed on current activities at the school,” said school board Chairwoman Marge Govoni. “We value her input over the last school year and we wish her the best as she takes the next steps in realizing her dreams.”
Osgood has enjoyed her time on the board, and sees value in the student representative role, which allows her to weigh in during meetings without actually voting.
“I think other school districts that don’t have that really should,” Osgood said. “It’s a really valuable experience for the student and also for the school, because I can come back and tell my peers about what is happening at school board meetings.”
She would also encourage her peers to sit down with talk with school board members when they made monthly visits to the school.
For Osgood, who says she was asked to serve as the student representative by Windham High School Principal Christopher Howell, the time on the board has been a continuation of her involvement in leadership and volunteering.
“She was chosen for this position because of her demonstrated track record of identifying an area of need and following through with a solution. I have observed her advocacy skills time and time again as she has worked to support the efforts of the Student Council at Windham High School,” said Howell. “I had little doubt in my mind that Megan would be able to transfer those same skills to the RSU 14 board.”
Osgood got involved in student council as a sophomore, and started a jean drive that ended up collecting over 120 pairs of jeans for homeless teenagers that year.
“I really wanted to do something different for my school,” said Osgood, who now heads the student council on top of her school board responsibilities.
“I like being busy,” said the soon-to-be high school graduate who also plays volleyball year-round and volunteers teaching Spanish weekly at Windham Primary School, among several other volunteer activities.
“I really like volunteering with kids, because I think it’s good to be a mentor figure,” Osgood continued. “Just to show them the things that you do and tell them about your life, while encouraging them to be a better person, and to take the opportunities. I think that’s really important, to just learn more and then take the opportunities that you can to better yourself.”
As much as she aims to help others learn, she also has looked to learn more about leadership from school district officials, including Superintendent Sandy Prince.
“It was good to put a face to the person that I had heard so much about, and then see how he has responded to the opinions of everyone and seeing what he thought, and how he wanted to move forward on a lot of the issues,” she said about Prince.
She says the single biggest lesson she has learned in the experience is the importance of communication.
“Communication is definitely the biggest thing,” Osgood said. “You need a lot of opinions before something can be a good idea. You can’t just come up with something and then think it’s going to be great, because you need the cooperation of other people to help you.”
This fall, Osgood will be off to the University of Tampa, where she plans to major in marine biology and minor in both sustainability and Spanish.
“I hope to do some sort of student leadership there too,” she added.
Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.
Megan Osgood will graduate from Windham High School in June and has served as the student representative on the RSU 14 school board this year. She is also the Student Council president.