While regular elections are less than a month away, one seat on the Kenai City Council seats up for grabs has already been filled.
Kenai Central High School senior Allie Ostrander will be taking the Kenai student representative position.
The student seat is one of the few exceptions to the voting age requirements in public elections on the Central Kenai Peninsula.
Principal of KCHS Alan Fields, said he had no trouble approving the final vote from the student leadership class, the group of residents required by city code to elect the student representative, who chose Ostrander.
“Allie is already well-known for her talents in running,” Fields said. “She is also gifted in academics and leadership and this position will give people the chance to see that.”
Ostrander has set various records in Kenai Peninsula Borough School District cross-country meets, and won the coed junior race at this year’s Mount Marathon in Seward.
This fall’s seat became vacant when previous representative, Courtney Stroh, founder of ROC the Kenai, graduated this summer.
Ostrander’s role will only be an advisory seat, Fields said. While the council deals with city issues, student concerns sometimes overlap and that younger voice has been valuable in the past.
When Stroh was running Respect Our Community, or ROC, the Kenai her onsite knowledge and understanding of the efforts required for beach clean up following the dipnetting season was very helpful said Kenai Mayor Pat Porter.
“She was there on the spot,” Porter said. “She knew what Kenai was going through.”
Porter said with every new representative there is an initial learning curve. She also said there is nothing currently on the agenda that affects student-age residents.
While students’ opinions are not frequently heard, they are always very full of thought and good advice, Porter said. The student receives an agenda before every meeting just like regular council members, Porter said.
Student representatives have weighed in on the issue of electronic cigarettes and the Kenai skate park, Porter said. The position has always been a good voice for the general public and helps the students gain experience that may look good for college scholarships or on future resumes, she said.
Porter, who works as a substitute teacher at KCHS, said she has known Ostrander and seen her various talents develop since she was a freshman.
“I hope she comes with an open mind,” Porter said. “I hope she is ready to take part in the council.”
Fields said the council has had a student seat for almost a decade. It has elicited a great partnership between the two bodies, he said.
“Ostrander is already outstanding,” Fields said. “She will be a great representative for our school, and she is already an excellent representative in her athletics.”
Ostrander has also been on the KCHS student council, is a member of the national honor society and participates in community service.
“She is just a great kid all around,” Fields said.
Kelly Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org