Photo by Deborah Bethel
Isaiah Mizell, a junior at Granite City High School, is a new member of the Illinois High School Association’s Student Advisory Committee. He will represent his high school, along with 35 other high schools, and plans to implement ideas that will help the schools in leadership, sportsmanship and communication.
GRANITE CITY — One of Isaiah Mizell’s biggest takeaways from attending last year’s Illinois High School Association Leadership Conference was how high school students were able to present along with adult presenters.
Now, the Granite City High School junior is set to have his own presentation at the conference.
That’s not where the honors end for Mizell, either. He recently also became a member of the IHSA’s Student Advisory Committee, an exclusive group that represents 36 schools in Bond, Madison, Monroe and St. Clair counties.
The process of becoming a committee member is a long one. Members have to be nominated for the position — Mizell was nominated by the school’s athletic director, John Moad. In addition to the nomination, committee members must be involved in at least two IHSA-sponsored activities, excel in school, be a freshman or sophomore at the time of nomination, be active in school and the community, and pass interviews. A prospective member also must display strong character and commitment to sportsmanship and integrity and demonstrate leadership and a commitment to representing the interests of all students.
Moad said Mizell was the “perfect candidate” for the nomination.
“I think the biggest thing is his excitement to be a part of it and able to express his opinion and bring ideas back to us so we can actually implement the ideas,” Moad said.
This March, Mizell was notified he was chosen as District 19’s SAC representative. As a representative of the district, Mizell is the liaison between the IHSA, all of the high schools in his district, the administration of these schools and any student in an IHSA-sponsored activity.
According to his mother, Debbie Mizell, the districts that the 21 students of SAC represent are based on old legislative maps, and each district has only one high school representative.
So far in his two-year representation journey, Mizell has been to one meeting in April and the National Leadership Summit in Indianapolis for a weekend retreat. At both events, he met other representatives from Illinois as well as SAC representatives from around the country to discuss future plans within the committee.
“The summit in Indianapolis was a really cool experience because we were split into groups with a different state representative in each group,” he said. “My group was bigger so there was another representative from Illinois, but regardless it was a great thing to be able to go to.”
At the summit, the national representatives listened to presentations, focused on organizing the upcoming Leadership Conference and helped with Indiana’s Special Olympics, an organization that has been in discussion with the SAC of Illinois.
“We’ve been working with the Special Olympics of Illinois, and we’re working on getting unified sports in our schools, which would be a team made up of a mixture of athletes with and without special needs,” Mizell said.
In the six months Mizell has been a committee member , he has already been involved with implementing new ideas in his district.
“We discuss things that can will help our schools and the state in general,” he said. “We’ll have things that we want to bring back to our area, so we’ll bring it back to our athletic director and try to get it implemented in our school and the surrounding schools in our district. We’ll get it started in our school, and if it works out well we’ll bring it around to the other schools.”
Along with the Special Olympics plans, Mizell has brought the ideas of starting a student advisory committee for student-athletes and the continuation of the Student Section Showdown, along with his own idea, a “Recruiting 101” informational program, to his principal, Daren DePew, and Moad.
“We’re very proud of Isaiah and the things that he’s done,” DePew said. “We’re excited to have him as part of this committee; we think he’s a great representative of our high school. I think his opportunity to meet other students from all over could bring some fresh ideas to some of the things we do, and not just in athletics.”
As a member of a committee focused on leadership, sportsmanship and communication, Mizell has gained skills that will help him in his last two years in high school, as well as college and beyond.
Through the conference and national summit, Mizell saw his communication skills skyrocket and has learned much about leadership.
“One of the things that really stuck with me from the summit is leadership is influence,” he said.
The scholar bowl, baseball and cross country teammate at GCHS is known as a quiet leader, one who influences many with his respectful and kind demeanor. Already looking forward to the future, he has toured Indiana University and is looking into Butler University and Arizona State University. Having an interest in criminal justice and law, Mizell one day wants to be a U.S. marshal or FBI agent.