Gabby Lenssen has always been interested in government. As a young child, she planned to be the President of the United States. And more recently, she’s participated in the City of Ferndale’s Civics Youth Coalition and been elected to Ferndale High School student leadership.
In May, Lenssen added another position to her resume when the Ferndale School Board selected her as the new student representative, replacing graduating senior Jazzie Gonzales.
“I was honestly really surprised that I got the position, but it was a really euphoric feeling,” said the FHS junior. “Now, I get to make a difference in my community; I get to have a voice.”
Lenssen said she applied for the Board student representative position after encouragement from Gonzales and current representative Kwabena Ledbetter. This school year, she will serve as FHS’ junior class president. Lenssen also plays middle blocker for the Golden Eagles’ volleyball team.
One of Lenssen’s main goals for her two-year tenure as student representative is to increase a sense of belonging and build strong interpersonal connections among her fellow students. In particular, she plans to advocate for more mental health resources.
“There’s a lot that school boards can do to help their students and make them feel connected and supported,” Lenssen said.
Lenssen also hopes to create a more welcoming environment at FHS by making community-building activities more inclusive for all students, not just those who typically participate.
“There are more introverted students whose version of school spirit isn’t everybody screaming and running around,” she said. “Maybe there are things we can do in a smaller group that can still foster connections.”
Still, Lenssen said FHS’ tight-knit atmosphere makes it an excellent place to attend school.
“I feel like Ferndale does have a great sense of community,” she said. “Everyone knows almost everyone; you at least know someone you can go to for support.”
After high school, Lenssen hopes to attend a four-year university (preferably on either the West or East Coast) and earn her teaching degree. Lenssen hopes to teach English or history at the middle or high school level. This would make her a third-generation school staffer – Lenssen’s mother, Sarah Lenssen, is an administrative assistant at Central Elementary School, and her grandmother taught at Harmony Elementary School in the Mount Baker School District.
Lenssen is also considering running for elected public office at some point in the future.
“I wouldn’t go for national-level government, but I do like the idea of being more involved in government within my city or county,” she said.
FUN FACTS ABOUT GABBY
Favorite food: Beef pho
Favorite hobby: Reading
Favorite book: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Favorite movie: Hidden Figures or A Dog’s Purpose
Favorite musical artist: Taylor Swift or Ronnie James Dio (“My taste in music is all over the place!”)
If you could meet any famous person (living or dead), who would it be: Suzanne Collins (author)
Which actor would play you in a movie about your life: Emma Watson