Boston School Committee Student Representative Xyra Mercer, a junior at the Dr. William W. Henderson K-12 Inclusion School in Dorchester. Photo courtesy City of Boston.
BOSTON – Wednesday, April 28, 2021 – Boston Mayor Kim Janey welcomed Boston Public Schools (BPS) student Xyra Mercer to City Hall for a swearing-in ceremony to announce Xyra as the new Student Representative to the Boston School Committee. Xyra was elected by her peers on the Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC).
“I am excited to welcome Xyra as the newest student representative on the School Committee, and I’m appreciative of the continued leadership of the Boston Student Advisory Council,” said Mayor Janey. “As BPS transitions into five days of in-person learning this week and prepares for a strong summer of enrichment and opportunities, student voices are going to remain at the center of all educational conversations. Xyra and her peers in the BPS community will play a critical role in shaping our plans now and moving forward.”
Xyra is currently a junior at the Dr. William W. Henderson K-12 Inclusion School in Dorchester, where she is deeply engaged and involved in her school and her community at large. Xyra is a tour de force at her school, serving as the captain of the Debate Team, a member of Student Government, a leader of Vanguards (the Henderson’s women’s empowerment group), a member of the Black Student Union, a voting member of the Henderson Governing Board, and an active member of the Berkshire Partners Blue Hill Boys & Girls Club. No stranger to public speaking or leadership roles, in 2019, Xyra gave a speech to BPS teachers, principals, and district leaders at the BPS August Leadership Institute.
“I am grateful for the opportunity that my fellow peers have entrusted me with. As a student, I believe that it is important and necessary for our voices to be heard in regards to our futures. We should be able to know the changes that are going to come and be able to also make those changes,” said Xyra. “Education is the key to the future. Schools provide many students a safe space, and when sudden changes are made without students’ knowledge, that safe feeling can be violated. That is what I am here for, to include the students’ voices that need to be heard.”
Xyra Mercer was born and raised in Boston in a Jamaican household. Growing up, she traveled back and forth between the US and Jamaica while learning about her Caribbean culture with family and friends. She intends to pursue a career in education, with the ambition of obtaining a doctorate. She could also see herself pursuing a career in politics, as she believes there are many current issues in the country that are not being addressed. She would like to be a catalyst for change.
“Xyra’s perspective will be critical as we continue to review all of our policies and support systems for students,” said BPS Superintendent Brenda Cassellius. “Our schools are committed to creating joyful and welcoming learning environments that foster the powerful voices of students like Xyra. Students have and will continue to be the focus of all that we do. Incorporating Xyra’s voice into our School Committee will enhance and guide our most important decisions as they directly correlate to our students.”
“The Boston School Committee enthusiastically welcomes Xyra as our colleague,” said Alexandra Oliver-Dávila, Chair of the Boston School Committee. “We have really important work to do in the next few weeks. I am glad Xyra will be there to share her experience and represent her fellow students so the Committee, BPS, and public will have a better understanding of how our decisions impact students and their families.”
Xyra will serve on the Boston School Committee for the remainder of the school year and throughout the 2021-22 school year.