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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Meet the 21-year-old college student running for a school board seat

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Khrisma McMurray appears to be the typical college student. She’s a 21-year-old senior at IUPUI, working toward a psychology degree and navigating the obstacles brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But McMurray has another significant responsibility: She’s running for a school board seat in Warren Township.

McMurray, a 2017 graduate from Warren Central High School, has a few motivations. She’s always heard people talk about what they would do if they were her age again, for one, and this difficult year showed her the importance of organizing and trying to do more for her community.

Anyone who’s otherwise eligible to serve on the Warren Township school board just has to be 21 years old, so McMurray, who is also going for minors in English and African American studies, decided to give it a shot now rather than wait and run the risk of constantly making excuses later.

Plus, she thought, how can she be a leader in the future if she doesn’t get this experience now?

“It’s important for young people to see themselves in the political field,” McMurray said.

Crystal Puckett, a 39-year-old running for an at-large school board seat in Lawrence Township, said younger candidates should “follow that nudge” when asked what advice she would give to someone thinking about getting involved in politics.

“I think there is such a thing as born leaders,” she said. “They tend to be those trouble makers, those strong-willed students. Lean into that and don’t allow older people to disqualify you because of your age.”

That’s the main criticism McMurray said she gets — that she’s too young and doesn’t have the necessary life experience to hold an elected position. She’s quick to point out that unlike other candidates for school board, she’s logging into Zoom for classes just like so many K-12 students have been doing since spring.

Youth and inexperience are facts, though, and McMurray is learning along the way. She didn’t realize just how expansive the school district is, for example, until she started running for an at-large seat that represents the whole district.

Still, it will take new leaders to understand the changes school districts and society are going into, McMurray said, and a school board seat could be that entryway to becoming a leader.

“That won’t happen if people won’t give us the opportunity to come in,” she said.

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

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