Redwood Valley High School senior Deon Estebo was named as a recipient of the Minnesota School Boards Association’s (MSBA) $3,000 student school board member scholarship. The scholarship is one of only two in the state and is given as a way to reward and encourage students to become involved in governance of their school and learn about the importance of having locally elected school board members.

Kirk Schneidawind, MSBA executive director, said school boards are there to help students. That is why board members run for office and why they put all the time and effort into being on the board.

“There is no better way to get input as a board member than getting it directly from a student board member,” he said.

According to the MSBA, 102 of the 332 public school districts in Minnesota have a student school board member at the table.

“Redwood area should feel very proud to have Deon working with them,” said Schneidawind.

Jeanna Lilleberg, who is an MSBA board member, said a committee of five MSBA board members selected the two winners from nearly 40 applications.

“Let me tell you, it was a tough choice. Out of all these high-achieving students, Deon stood out from the rest,” Lilleberg said.

Judges cited Estebo for not only personal high academic achievement, but also for his involvement in school and community activities, from sports to robotics to involvement as a Ruby’s Pantry volunteer. The committee also liked his insight and contributions as the board constructed an addition that focused on technical, medical and trades education.

“His insight on the teamwork needed from a school board to build a project like this shows how much more a team can accomplish than any one individual,” said Lilleberg. “It is no wonder that his recommendation letters refer to him as a strong servant leader who doesn’t run from a challenge, but embraces it.”