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SAHS teen trades shyness for leadership

Trevor Schwartz—a newly-retired representative to the school board—is a continuation high school student, and a Claremont Unified School District success story.

The two are far from mutually exclusive, but Trevor didn’t know that when—after an illness left him short of credits—he landed at San Antonio High School the second semester of his sophomore year. 

“My parents were really upset, because of the stigma the school has,” Trevor said.

Trevor was apprehensive too, even though he had hardly thrived at his former school. “At Claremont High School, I had nothing going on. I wasn’t part of anything. I wasn’t well known. I was intimidated and stayed at the back of the class,” he said

In less than a week it became evident that Trevor, now a senior, was in the right place.

“At San Antonio, I liked the classroom sizes, the personality of the kids and the personality of the teachers—the fact that teachers want to help you grow and get back on track.”

SAHS was “the perfect place for Trevor,” his older sister Kim Noyes agreed.

“Before that, he never felt connected to anything or anyone at school. He was just a student trying to make it through,” Ms. Noyes said. “When he started at San Antonio is when he started loving himself as a student. It was the first time he felt connected and interested in school.”

San Antonio High School Principal Sean Delgado was determined to push Trevor, who he said was “very much a kid in his shell,” past his comfort zone. He began by urging the teen to enroll in student government.

“Joining ASB was an amazing decision,” Trevor said. “It’s a place where I can openly share my ideas. I don’t feel like I’m going to be criticized or talked about.”

Impressed with his fledgling leadership skills, Mr. Delgado called the teen over the summer to ask if he would serve as San Antonio’s student representative to the school board. 

“I didn’t really have a choice,” Trevor clarified. “He said, ‘You are the student board member.’ I was nervous. I wasn’t used to being in a position where I’m looked up at and things are expected of me. I’ve always been terrified of public speaking.”

But Mr. Delgado told him he had what it takes to be great. “I trust him, so I decided to go along with it,” Trevor said.

After being sworn in, it was time for Trevor to deliver his first report on the doings of several schools in the district, including his own.

He took a deep breath and launched into his report. Trevor not only survived the experience, but enjoyed it, particularly the chance to update the board on events at SAHS.

“That was one of the most amazing moments,” he said. “I felt like I was saying something relevant that was good toward my school. I want to move past the stigma and see the school look better.”

Trevor was looking good himself, thanks to a secret weapon or, more appropriately, some armor he used to get past that first meeting. Wanting to make a good impression, he wore the nicest suit he could find. It was his first suit but. since then, he has acquired a dozen. “I kind of became obsessed with suits,” he said.

After the first couple of school board meetings, Trevor said, “I really got into it. It became second nature to me.”

Trevor has thrown himself into a number of other extracurricular activities, from Key Club and school site council to a spot on the SAHS flag football team. He manages to have fun amid his commitments, but don’t expect to find him in the party circuit. His pursuits include drawing tessellations, artwork consisting of repeating patterns, and arguing philosophy.

“I also do a lot of math. I try to solve unsolvable math problems,” Trevor said. “I try to do the impossible. That’s my hobby.”

While on the job, Trevor became known for being dependable and friendly.

“I thought it was good for Trevor and good for the school district. He was very enthusiastic about the role and he paid attention to a lot of the details,” Board President Dave Nemer said.

Trevor’s dapper attire didn’t escape Mr. Nemer’s notice. “I don’t know where he gets the closet space,” Mr. Nemer joked at the January 19 meeting where the school board bid Trevor a fond goodbye. 

The board also saluted Danielle Pichay after her term as Claremont High School’s student rep, but took special pains to send Trevor off with a flourish. After all, the SAHS senior is the district’s longest-running student representative.

Trevor liked being student rep so much he asked if he could come back for a second term. He returned for a third term this fall, at the request of the board.

San Antonio High School Principal Sean Delgado and a few board members told Trevor his lengthy tenure is unprecedented. “I didn’t know what the word meant before then,” he laughed. 

At the February 2 school board meeting, Trevor passed the torch to San Antonio’s new student rep, Ray’Yana Davidson. New student rep Maissoun Hussein from CHS also took her place on the dais.

Trevor is embarking on a new undertaking, taking a Citrus College course called Strategies for College Success. He’s decided to go to Citrus after he graduates, figuring community college is a good place to decide what he wants to do.

Mr. Delgado has no doubt Trevor will be a success in college, in part because the confidence being student rep to the school board has instilled in him.

“He’s learned to speak in public and interface with everyone in the community,” Mr. Delgado said. “He’s outgrown the position and I feel like he’s outgrown the school. He’s ready for something on a collegiate level. Trevor has the world at his fingertips, he just needs to grab it.”

—Sarah Torribio

storribio@claremont-courier.com