Compton Unified's newest student board member is an aspiring research sociologist and psychologist, but for now her focus is on first reaching college while serving on behalf of the school community.
As CUSD's new student board member Dominguez High School 12th-grader Niccolette Portillo wants to bring attention to the issues that are most important to students, teachers, and families.
"They all have voices but not all of them feel that they do and not all of them are heard," she said. "Being a board member will make it easier to reach out and hear the voices of Compton..."
For Niccolette, her new position gives her the opportunity to help her fellow students succeed in school while also changing negative perceptions of Compton.
"I hope to push students foward towards success by showing them their potential," she said. "I want to help increase graduation rates. I also want to help provide better resources for students so they can achieve their goals."
Niccolette credits Dominguez High School's teachers, principal, and staff for guiding her towards her new position as school board member and towards her goal of attending San Francisco State University.
"My teachers are very supportive and are always willing to help," she said.
But it was the combination of great staff and her own determination that motivates her to achieve in school and to serve as school board member.
"I was nominated for student board member by my principal Dr. Landesfeind because of my persistence. For about two weeks on a daily basis I'd go to her office trying to find out if the position was taken or not."
Although she didn't grow up in Compton her whole life, Niccolette said she is proud to call it home.
"Since Compton is mainly known for gang related violence...people who have have never been near the city see it from a negative perspective. They tend to belittle and negatively label the community without first knowing them. It's very degrading. It makes it harder for students to believe in themselves," she said.
"I have a huge soft spot for the city and all the members in the community. Compton needs support, especially academically. That's why I plan to come back and volunteer or donate whatever I can to help our schools and community."