Senior Student Board Representative Emily Wang recognized by school board


Emma Malabanan, Managing Editor

Student board representative, an exceptional instrumentalist, and leader: Emily Wang is all of these, and more.

Wang is a senior at Monroe-Woodbury High School and was recently recognized by the school board with the district’s Community Connection award which “recognizes individuals, companies or organizations that have worked to better our school community.” 

When asked about her experience being the board representative, Wang said, “I think it’s extremely important to be as honest as possible with issues. The things I gather from my peers are real and important issues, and I think that my job in highlighting these issues during board meetings has sometimes created friction because many of them disagreed or were unaware of these perspectives from the students.”

This role comes with a lot of responsibility – Emily Wang is the voice of the students and she represents them all when she speaks up at the Board of Education (BoE) meetings.

Through these board meetings, Wang had brought up many important subjects that needed to be addressed, such as biased dress codes, how students felt about the hybrid and remote schedule changes, asynchronous Mondays, and updates from not only the high school students, but the elementary and middle school students.

I have enjoyed getting to know Emily through our interactions with the Board of Education and her work with the Social, Racial, Justice and Equity Student Union at the high school. She is an articulate, driven young woman who ultimately wants to make a difference in our schools and beyond. She has been, and will always be, an asset and a strong voice in the community,” said Superintendent Rodriguez.

Wang explained how it was “funny” applying for the Board Representative position. I vividly remember applying the day it was due, almost missing the due date, and not really thinking I would get it,” she said.

With this position, Wang said she wanted to “inspire and create change at our school.”

“I was always known as a proactive person who took the initiative. Therefore, I saw a lot of potential in this position to further my goal to help my student body with something meaningful. I also wanted to use my position and the power of it to encourage other M-W students to use their student voice,” said Wang.

Her ability to lead others, working with them as a friend instead of directing them, makes her extremely admirable as she manages to create a welcoming dynamic for others in positions of leadership and while on a team,” said Fiona Leitner, a close friend of Wang. Leitner reflected on how Wang has pushed her to “be a better person and grow along with her.”

 “She puts all her effort into whatever she decides to pursue and doesn’t fail to aid others who need it along the way,” Leitner continued.

However, this is not the only responsibility that Wang has. She is the treasurer for L.E.A.D., a member of three honor societies, participated in an internship for the re-election campaign of State Senator James Skoufis, is involved in the Orange County Chinese Association, created an SAT tutoring program for students, and organized a small chamber ensemble that performed at the Woodbury Senior Center.

One of her first experiences that lit the fire within her was being introduced to the piano, specifically, the competitive side of playing. Without this part of her life, Wang would have been completely different.

“I’ve been playing the piano since I was six years old,” said Wang. She continued, “I’ve sacrificed a lot for the sake of my piano playing because music is my life passion and it’s all I’ve really known because I started it so young.”

Through this, she gained opportunities to play at Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, Lincoln Center, NJPAC, and the MET. Wang had also been the National YoungArts Classical Music winner, six times New Jersey first prize winner, the MTNA Eastern Junior Division Alternate, and the VIVO international music competition first prize winner. She has also performed playing the piano in an All-State showcase.

“In addition to piano, I also really love playing the cello and singing. I’ve been attending a summer musical theater camp for five summers in a row and was supposed to be a camp intern last summer before COVID hit,” said Wang.

In her senior year, this current year, Wang has been going to school in the hybrid model. “This new model taught me the importance of cherishing and strengthening relationships with people, not only friends, but teachers as well,” said Wang.

“Emily has a wonderful demeanor and strong work ethic. I don’t know how she got everything done with her schedule of courses, work, and afterschool activities, but she always accomplished her tasks with positivity and a smile. She is a top 25 student but never was only about the grades. Maybe the grades came easy to her, maybe not, but she always handled everything leading up to the grade with ease,” said Mr. Gawron, Wang’s Government and Politics teacher.