18-year-old makes bid for School Board seatJul 26th, 2010 | By Chad West | Category: Community
Most teenagers run for the hills when high school is over, but not Rashelle Vandenborre. The 18-year-old Chalmette High graduate is making a bid to become the St. Bernard Parish School Board’s youngest member and aims to bring what some say is a welcomed new perspective.
“It comes as a surprise because she’s so young, but on the other hand, it might be refreshing,” said Dirk Tillman, Vandenborre’s former English teacher at Chalmette High. “It might be nice to have a voice on the School Board who is so young and is connected with the youth.”
It’s that connectedness that Vandenborre said she hopes pushes her through.
“I feel like I know what’s going on,” she contends. “I feel like I know what needs to be done. I’m just fresh and new and I would know more about it. I’m not saying (older people) don’t, but they haven’t been in a classroom for a while now. I think they need a mixture of both in the school board.”
Vandenborre said her priorities reflect what she experienced in school, and few could argue with them: Curbing the dropout rate and reducing teen pregnancy.
“I have friends who’ve gotten pregnant all throughout high school. And not just seniors. It’s getting pretty bad, to freshmen and sophomores,” she recalled. “It’s going to affect their lives and everyone else’s life. It could create poverty in St. Bernard.”
Vandenborre’s no stranger to politics. At age 16, she campaigned with her father, Henry Vandenborre Jr., in a successful run for Ward C constable. And according to her parents, that’s probably when the bug bit her.
“She’s the one who got out there and walked with her daddy,” said her mother, Marina. “She walked door to door with her daddy.”
Though her campaign will soon be in full swing, Rashelle wasn’t the first Vandenborre seeking the position. When her brother, Henry III, decided not to run for the same office, Rashelle stepped in at the last minute, Marina said.
The intrepid 18-year-old graduated from Chalmette High in May with a 3.8 GPA. She participated in Future Business Leaders of America, Pride Platoon, Science Club and Beta Club, where she helped raise money for other students to attend Beta Convention, said Tillman, the school’s Beta Club sponsor.
“She has a real sense of morality and volunteerism, just doing the right thing, which is really special and I think we need more of that,” Tillman said.
Despite her youthful energy and eagerness, neither her father nor her former English teacher have any delusions about her lack of worldly experience. If she wins, Henry said, she’s in for a rough ride.
“To be honest with you, that first year is going to be a lot for her to take on, but she can do anything she wants. She can do anything she puts her head to.”
Politics can be a dirty business, but Marina and Henry said they told their daughter to take the high road.
“If people are out there knocking the other person, why would you want them?” Marina said. “Who else do you think they’re going to knock around?”
“I don’t want her to say nothing about nobody,” she continued. “As long as she keeps it a clean deal, she’ll go ahead and take it.”
Vandenborre will face off against Darleen Asevedo and Louis Wineski III for the District 3 School Board seat. Her opponents were not available for comment by press time.
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