Student Board Representative
Student Board Representative Fauna Engstrom values her position on the Board as a way to give a voice to all types of students in the Peninsula School District. “I want to give a voice to students that may be struggling or may need help in this district. How can the District best support these students? I want to help the Board understand how to reach each kid.” Fauna has lived in Gig Harbor since the age of two when her family moved to Washington after living abroad in Germany and England. She has grown up in the District, attending Harbor Heights, Goodman, Gig Harbor High School for freshman year, and finally Henderson Bay High School for her remaining three high school years.
After facing difficulty during her freshman year at Gig Harbor, she decided that the environment wasn’t suited to her needs. “The environment and support I’ve found at Henderson has allowed me to succeed when I don’t think I would have at Gig Harbor. I came to Henderson and was able to turn my life around. I came here, I made friends, I’m getting my work done, I’m feeling fulfilled, and I am part of a community. I’m almost hitting a 4.0 and I’ve never had that happen for me. Everybody really cares about each other; it’s magical, something about the community and the positive atmosphere here.”
Fauna speaks lovingly about her experience at Henderson. The support from teachers and students has allowed her to “come out of her shell” and become a leader. She serves as the President of Interact Club and works closely with the Rotary in Gig Harbor to lend her hand to the community. She enjoys donating her time to the Fish Food Bank and has participated in three Habitat for Humanity trips. With the desire to pursue a career in Zoology, Fauna volunteered at the zoo this past summer and clocked over 110 hours. Along with her passions in this area, Fauna also enjoys expressing herself with artwork.
Because of her clear dedication to service and community involvement, Fauna’s Principal, Brian Tovey, and Communities in Schools Representative, Robin Malich, urged her to apply for the open student representative position on the PSD Board. Fauna was interested in the position but explains that support from Brian and Robin was what finally convinced her to submit her application. “I was insecure about my ability to be a board representative, but knowing that the people around me were so confident in me made me realize I need to be confident in myself as well.”
Fauna explains she is honored to be a student representative on the Board, and she has had nothing but good experiences. “The board members don’t care how I look, and that is something that has sometimes gotten in the way. Having piercings in my face, something simple like that can get in the way, but I’m just a normal person. I’m a hard-worker and I’m nice, but some people automatically judge me. Not with the Board. It’s so welcoming and I feel valued with the other Board members.” She has also appreciated the Board’s focus on the students in the District. She emphasizes that PSD works hard to reach every kid and make them succeed in their own way.
While on the Board, Fauna has noted that her confidence and ability to express her opinions has improved significantly. Her main goal as a representative is to give a voice to students of all backgrounds and personalities. “I had the bad grades, I was struggling. I know how it is to be THAT kid and I know what it’s like to be different. I want to contribute to the Board and make sure we aren’t only considering the standard A-B student. There is a multitude of different types of students in this district, and they all deserve a chance to succeed.”