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SJHS student appointed to State Superintendent Student Advisory Council

Reagan Williford is a shining star of Johnston County Public Schools. Born and raised in the small township of Meadow, Reagan comes off as shy and soft spoken with a sweet, southern charm. 

When it comes to education and learning, however, this South Johnston High (SJHS) junior is neither soft spoken nor shy. Reagan Williford is making the most of her high school experience and plotting a course for her future.

Reagan was recently appointed to the North Carolina State Superintendent Student Advisory Council (NCSSAC).  Already a member of the leadership team for the North Carolina Youth Legislative Assembly, one of Reagan’s advisors recommended she apply for the student advisory council. 

The two-year tenure provides Reagan and other student advisors with the opportunity to meet once a month and discuss state education issues, advocate on behalf of their fellow peers, and ultimately advise decision makers in the NC K-12 education space.

Reagan will also meet with personnel at the Department of Public Instruction, the State Board of Education, and the General Assembly. She will learn about issues facing K-12 education and what can be done to support students, teachers and their local school districts and charter schools. 

When asked why education is so important to her, Reagan replied ,“It helps prepare you for the real world and is a way to succeed.”

At the conclusion of each year, the student advisors present a proposal to the Office of the State Superintendent as well as other state leaders that addresses an evolving state education issue.

Reagan is focused on providing more student leadership opportunities in rural communities. 

“Leadership roles present students with a window of opportunity to not only learn, grow, and prepare for the future, but also to voice their opinions,” she said. 

 “While there is student government, clubs, and sports in school, there are other ways to expand those opportunities to create more options for students to choose from such as internships and volunteering in the community, “ she said. 

During her appointment on the student advisory council, Reagan hopes to become more educated and gain more confidence. Although, confidence does not seem to be a problem. Reagan admitted that she strives to insert herself into positions that involve leadership.

South Johnston High Principal William Weaver has watched Reagan’s transformation.  “When she attended the SJHS Student Leadership Retreat in October 2021, it was apparent that she had developed into a student leader at our school,” he remarked.

Success in today’s global economy may require a two-or four-year degree, a certificate or diploma. Through Career & College Promise (CCP), qualified high-school-age students in North Carolina have the opportunity to pursue these options, tuition free, while they are in high school, allowing them to get a jumpstart on their workplace and college preparation.

Outside of school, Reagan enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She likes all sports, but softball is her favorite, especially going to her younger sister’s games.  When asked about that sister-sister relationship, Reagan replied, “It’s actually pretty good. We get along.”

Her love of sports also extends to volleyball where Reagan is the scorekeeper for the volleyball team at South Johnston High. Coach Amanda Smith is more than just a coach, she is one of Reagan’s heroes. “She’s always trying to push me, and the girls,” Reagan said.

Another hero that is very close to Reagan’s heart is her grandmother. “She always has worked really hard to provide and give everything she could to help her family,” Reagan said as tears filled her eyes. “I also want to say thank you to my mom and my daddy for always encouraging me.”

After high school Reagan would like to attend a four-year university and seek a degree in the medical field, possibly occupational therapy. As far as which college she wants to attend, Reagan said, “There’s still a lot of deciding to do.”

Principal Weaver said, “Reagan’s character, determination, and knowledge will provide her a solid foundation for success in her future endeavors.”

No matter which college Reagan attends, one thing is for certain, she will move mountains to ensure others have viable leadership opportunities no matter where they live.  “I just want to help be an advocate for other people (to learn).”