Multimedia: Medha Atla, Paly’s representative

Arohi Bhattacharya and Ori Gal

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated the incorrect last name for Medha Atla. This has since been corrected.

Sitting through multi hour-long meetings, Palo Alto High School senior Medha Atla is one of few students who work directly with the district’s council members as the Student Board Representative of Paly.

Atla applied to become the representative for Paly her freshman year, but only got the job her senior year after gaining experience in public speaking and collaboration during her sophomore and junior years as Associated Student Body site counselor and club commissioner, respectively.

Reopening Palo Alto Unified School District’s secondary schools is one of the many discussions Atla contributes to during board meetings. She says she is relieved that the eventual return plan is inevitably shifting to only distance learning for second semester after Santa Clara County returned to the Purple Tier on Nov. 17, and that the shift opens a window of opportunity for the plan to be re-evaluated with more community input.

“I think students were being asked to choose between two not-so-great options for their education, and it was a compromise that nobody liked,” Atla said. “Now that the plan has been postponed, maybe we could go back to the drawing board and this time come up with a plan that will suffice to everybody’s needs.”

Atla said one of her primary objectives is to reduce student apathy at board meetings, which she said was a common theme she found during meetings. Atla also wants to have students feel more comfortable in participating in discussions and board policies with adult members.

“I felt like we [students] are the biggest stakeholders in all of the decisions they [board members] make,” Atla said. “Our voice needs to be heard.”

Hear more about what Atla has to say about being Paly’s student board representative for ASB in the multimedia video below: