First-year student runs for local school board

Ryan Williams ’21 isn’t your typical college student.

Not only is he learning the ins and outs of college life at Cornell as a first-year student, he’s also running to become elected to the local school board.

Picture of Ryan Williams
Ryan Williams ’21

“It’s been a lot to deal with for sure,” Williams said. “I have had to reschedule activities to try to make everything work between the campaign and college.”

Williams graduated from Mount Vernon High School last spring and just started at Cornell. He’s interested in majoring in economics and business, so that he can go into the real estate market.

For now, however, he’s passionate about helping students.

“I really want to be an advocate for the students of Mount Vernon when it comes to promoting an education-first platform,” Williams said. “I want to make sure that academics comes before extracurriculars and allowing for more opportunities to give the students an enhanced education to prepare them for whatever they decide to do after high school.”

Williams said a large part of the reason he chose to come to Cornell was because of the block plan. With classes always ending at 3 p.m., he can still have time to dedicate to other activities.

“I liked the One Course At A Time curriculum that allows me to focus on a single class and participate in activities outside of class, instead of having a schedule with several classes occupying all my time—none of which would be getting my full attention,” he said.

Williams has participated in a forum and has done a lot of digital campaigning. He has created a website that details his platform.

The election is Sept. 12, 2017. Whether he wins or loses, he hopes others learn from what he is doing.

“I hope other young people can see that they can make a difference in their community and that they do have every right to express their thoughts and opinions on what can be done to improve,” Williams said. “I hope to see more young people getting involved in government so that there are more diverse voices on school boards, city councils, and even at state and federal levels.”