Soccer Player Joins School Board
It was not too long ago that Adam Mennig was a student in the Dubuque Community School District. Now, he is helping shape the school districts future as a newly elected member of the local school board.
Mennig, a sophomore defender on the Clarke College mens soccer team, won his seat on the board after an unsuccessful campaign last year in his Iowa hometown.
I decided to give it another try, and a lot of people were supportive and wanted to see a younger person on the board, said Mennig.
After playing in a soccer game on Sept. 13, a 3-2 loss to Cornell College, Mennig made the trip back to Dubuque and headed straight to the courthouse to find out the election results and that he was a winner this time around.
One of my former teachers was there and said ˜congratulations, said Mennig. There were two precincts still out but I was up by 800 votes.
Mennig ended up winning 18 percent of the votes in the seven-person race to nab one of the top two spots for a seat on the eight-member board. The body is responsible for making decisions on policies for 10,500 students in 18 schools with a budget of $85 million.
An education major who has always loved politics, Mennig campaigned for the position by knocking on doors and putting up yard signs, but he gained most of his support through word of mouth, including his opinion on a key issue.
One issue was that the board had prevented drug dogs from being in the schools, and everyone was up in arms, said Mennig. I supported it, and I would say that was in my favor.
Mennig also believes that the school district will benefit from a different perspective than that of the usual board member.
I think the fact that I graduated high school in 2004, I know whats going on at the ground level, said Menning. Its one thing to take a tour as a school board member, but to actually be there on a daily basis not too long ago is quite helpful.
One of the improvements that Mennig would like to make in the system is to have more community involvement and volunteers at the schools including some from his own peer group.
College kids have a lot of extra time to volunteer " more time than people think, said Mennig. If you just give an hour or two a week, its amazing what you can do.
With school board meetings every two weeks as well as separate committee meetings added to his academic and soccer team responsibilities, Mennigs schedule is full but hes kept a sense of humor about it.
There are a lot of people on the school board with a job and kids, so I see school as my job and soccer as my kids, said Mennig.
Mennig also has the added benefit of having a supportive family nearby, including his sister Melissa who plays for the Clarke womens soccer team and was the 2004 Northern Illinois - Iowa Conference Player of the Year. The Crusaders head coach Pat Herbst has helped Mennig with scheduling conflicts while his teammates have jokily called him ˜school board.
Only a few weeks into his post, the 20-year-old Mennig hopes hell learn a lot as a board member, but mainly wants the students in the district to keep improving.
It was a little stressful beforehand not knowing what to expect, but the people on the board are really nice, said Mennig. When you get to know them, its not as daunting of a task. They help you out.
Mennig has aspirations of becoming a history teacher when he graduates from Clarke, but said theres always a chance of another campaign for public office.
Its possible, said Mennig. I would never rule anything out. Im going to school for education, but I could see running for other things in the future.