GMSD Nominates Emma Grace Benzing for the 2021 TSBA Student Excellence Award

Germantown, Tennessee—April 21st-- Each year the Tennessee School Boards Association recognizes rising senior students from across the state who have distinguished themselves in academics, community and service activities, and leadership roles and activities.
Emma Grace is no stranger to the school board, as she serves on our Student Communications Intern team.   Principal Rob Taylor chose her after spending time serving on engagement committees with her—impressed with her leadership qualities as she represented the students of Houston High in all kinds of matters for the district administration this year.  Emma Grace grew up in our school system, with both a mother and father who are school teachers.  She has spent her entire life at our schools.  Fascinated with the behind-the-scenes aspect of school, she has been an emissary of ‘student perspective’ ever since she can remember.   As a member of the student intern team, she organizes social media for the district, features good teaching and learning in a journalistic style for our website, and assists in event planning.   Her favorite role, however, is advocating for her fellow students.  She is a fixture in all engagement meetings (from school calendar, grading practices, facilities master planning, to family engagement).  More than just a committee member, she conducts research prior to each of these meetings and arrives prepared.  Emma Grace runs an Instagram page where students can engage in quick surveys about days off from school, their grading preferences, and their ideas about future capital investments for the district.  Often students find her for one-on-one conversations in which they share their perspectives and ideas.  She’s a born presenter and relays these ideas back to our committees and administrators.  This has been a valuable asset during the pandemic as it’s hard to imagine life as a teenager navigating the national crisis and attending high school partially from a computer.  
Emma Grace is an excellent student with a 4.2 G.P.A., but told us she prefers to retain a well-balanced approach to school.  While she takes a full roster of honors and advanced classes, she made a conscious effort to spend time in her school schedule to explore different career pathways within our CTE programming.  She’s studying dual paths in Health Sciences and Business Communications.  Emma Grace is also enrolled in the work-based learning course and spends each seventh period working at the school district in the public relations/community department.
Outside of school, Emma Grace participates in the theater programs in roles both on and off the stage.   This year, she was excited to take on the role of set designer for the spring musical.  “It was a great experience to lead a team of adult volunteers in constructing the set,” she said.  Emma Grace also volunteers a lot of her time to support theater programs at each of our feeder schools—running lights, assisting with choreography or direction.  She’s also one of Germantown’s most sought-after babysitters.  Children love her.  At her church, Germantown Baptist, she was named a lead teacher at VBS and led/planned the Kindergarteners’ last summer.
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