Woodford County student selected to serve as the Kentucky Board of Education’s new non-voting student member

Meeting notice graphic featuring the Kentucky Department of Education and United We Learn logos

News Release

Media Contact: Jennifer Ginn

Director of Communications

Office: (502) 564-2000, ext. 4601

Advisory 24-173


July 5, 2024

A man stands in front of a window that has the letters "WC" in gold on it.

Preston Graham, a junior at Woodford County High School, became the fourth nonvoting student member of the Kentucky Board of Education on July 1. Photo courtesy Preston Graham

Woodford County student selected to serve as the Kentucky Board of Education’s new non-voting student member

(FRANKFORT, KY) – Preston Graham, a junior at Woodford County High School, said helping his community and growing his leadership skills are just two of the many priorities he has as the newest Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) non-voting student member.

“I am here to use this position to the best of my ability. I plan to work hard and truly make the most of this position,” said Graham, who will be entering his junior year at Woodford County High School this fall.

Graham is the board’s fourth student member in its history. The board has one student serve for each term, with Graham’s beginning on July 1 and ending on June 30, 2025.

“I hope to ensure the protection of such a valuable resource (education) for thousands of students,” said Graham. “To develop and update the system to meet the demands of the time and to reintroduce the value of education to students who do not recognize the opportunities available to them.”

He expressed great regard for the educational system and the teachers who helped shape him into the learner he is today. With this new opportunity to serve on the KBE, he said he wants to give back to his community.

“It is important for me to give back to the community that helped raise me into the leader I am,” said Graham. “I just love doing anything that I can be a leader in and opportunities for me to grow my leadership skills.”

Graham said he looks forward to bringing his perspective as a student to the board to raise awareness on topics and ideas he has seen, such as updated policies and systems within schools.

“In the modern world, advanced computer technology is necessary to keep up with the ever-changing times, and there is no better way to introduce this technology to growing children than in schools,” said Graham.

However, after attending recent educational conferences, he understands that not everyone in the state has adequate access to this technology.

“This means that students can miss out on an excellent opportunity to be prepared for the working world,” he said. “It is my goal to help these areas and potentially work to increase the accessibility of modern technology.”

He said during these conferences he met students from different high schools across the state and nation and has been intrigued to learn about the different backgrounds and perspectives of students whose schools have different expectations of learning.

“I'm from a high school with a graduating class of about 320 and then I met some students with a graduating class of 40. It made me think about how some of these students don’t have access to the same things other high schoolers may have and it is important to support those students and schools,” said Graham.

Commissioner of Education Robbie Fletcher said the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) is excited to have Graham join the board to provide insightful feedback on issues concerning Kentucky’s public school students.

“When debating policies that will affect students in the classroom, our board members and I have always expressed how crucial it is for us to have the opportunity to hear the viewpoints of the students,” said Fletcher.

Graham said he is excited to share the opportunities education can provide with students and remind them of the many benefits of applying oneself to learning. He said volunteering is a passion of his and he currently volunteers for Mentors & Meals. The nonprofit organization is based around high school students and interns from Midway University, who tutor middle school students.

“I have worked with many different students who are struggling in class. They don’t appear to be struggling due to a lack of understanding of the material or intelligence, but seemingly a lack of care for the content,” said Graham.

“These students have lost a love for learning, which will be detrimental to their growth,” he said. “It is my hope with this position that I will be able to remind students across Kentucky of the importance and joys of learning so that they will become the next generation of great leaders and thinkers.”

Graham is currently enrolled in the engineering pathway at Woodford County High School, and upon graduation, he hopes to pursue a career within the engineering industry.