Student Spotlight: Kathryn Mangus


Photo Courtesy of Kate Mangus

Senior Kate Mangus is redefining the role of students on the school committee.

For decades, students have had a seat at the Wachusett Regional School Committee. This year, however, the Mountaineer’s student representative has elevated this role to a new level. 

“When everything went chaotic with Covid-19, I really felt that we needed stronger communication between administration and students. I knew that being a student representative [on the Wachusett Regional School Committee] would allow me that opportunity,” said senior Kathryn Mangus. “My role is to be the voice of all the students across the district. I talk about what student life is like and give a student opinion and perspective.”

The school committee governs the Wachusett school district and includes members of all five towns.

“They [the school committee] come together to work with the district administration on everything from budget issues to reopening plans. They work on pretty much anything you can think of,” said Mangus. 

Several students said that the role of school committee representative has experienced a tangible change since Mangus’ election. 

“I have known a few of the previous school committee representatives and I think that difference is that she [Kathryn Mangus] has been able to communicate through sending out her reports and it makes [the student committee representative role] more transparent,” said junior Isabella Leblanc. 

Mangus’ Instagram page – wrsdc.student.reports – has 1,128 followers. 

“Her [Kate Mangus’s] efforts have really stood out in using social media and communication to make sure not just that the voices that she hears are heard by the committee, but also that there is excellent communication outwards to the students and the general public about what is being discussed by the school committee,” said Kenneth Mills, an active member of the school committee since 2012. 

Mangus said she simply sees this transparent communication with students as a part of her role as a representative.  

“Not everyone can watch the five hour school committee meetings,” said Mangus. “I went in with a student mindset of what are the important things that need to come out of these meetings and what information needs to be emphasized and shared with the public.”

Beyond increasing the transparency of the school committee role, Mangus has also helped increase student voice and engagement across the district. 

“We’ve been able to send out multiple surveys [to the student body] and present that data to the school committee. This helps us look at ways we can better increase student life at the high school,” Mangus said. “I also worked to talk about racism in the district and created a Google form to share with the whole committee. That helped create the new racism course that is going to go out next year and was one of the main pushers towards getting the diversity education and anti-racism subcommittee started.”

Mangus said she still feels she has more work to do.

“I hope to increase student voice,” she said. “I think getting a student vote [in the committee] or increasing the importance and presence of the student voice is going to be really important. I think that any way in which we can get more students to share either experiences and to talk about what student life is like will be important to give a more accurate picture to the committee. I also want to continue with the level of engagement we have now and maybe increase it,” said Mangus.  

Mangus will remain school committee representative until elections in June. 

“Hopefully, one day, she [Mangus] will be sitting on a school committee in her town when she is ready to run for elections downstream and continue her civic involvement,” said Mills.