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Welcome Indy and Star!

Release Date: 

January 10, 2023

This month, SBE welcomes Indiana Hilmes (Selah) and Star Mendoza (Puyallup) as student interns - the first SBE Communicators to join the team! Both are juniors, passionate communicators, and storytellers. 

Indiana Hilmes (Selah High School, Selah)Indiana
One of Indiana's earliest passions was writing. Her first novel came to life in the pages of a green spiral notebook at age 10, and she hasn’t been able to stop since then. These days, she focuses on truer tales in the Yakima Herald-Republic’s “Unleashed” section for high school journalists, but never quite lost her storytelling spark. Indiana is currently a junior in eastern Washington where she’s a captain on the cross country team and a player on the tennis team. She’s also a member of a national award-winning FCCLA/LifeSmarts Knowledge Bowl team.

At school, you’ll often find her in the band room, playing piano in jazz band or tenor saxophone in wind ensemble. She also is a student representative on the Selah School Board, where she gets to travel around the district and learn how policy impacts students in every grade level. Outside of class, she’s a member of the Association of Washington Student Leaders Student Voice Network, where students from across the state come together to provide input on everyday issues in schools. Indiana would describe AWSL as both a second family and a catalyst for her growth as a leader. Indiana finds joy in serving her community through leadership, spending time with family and friends, and settling down with a good book and some quality music.

Star Mendoza (Governor John R. Rogers High School, Puyallup)Star
Estrella or “Star” Mendoza is a junior in high school. She enjoys the arts, but enjoys filmmaking the most. From writing and directing, to post-production it’s her true passion! At school she’s involved with the video production program and makes weekly segments for the Character Strong curriculum. She has loved the challenge of being on camera and advertising and communicating to her fellow high schoolers. Beyond video, she loves to try new hobbies such as sewing, photography, and ceramics. 

As a Student Communicator for the State Board of Education, she’s excited to continue her passion of video and editing. She hopes to help her fellow students in high school find opportunities that make their experience personal to them. She’s eager to learn and take on the challenge! 

Short Q&A with Indy & Star:

  1. What are you most looking forward to when you think about working with the State Board this year? 
    Indy: I think that policy can be incredibly influential on the experiences that students have in schools, and I really value transparency and understanding in our education system. I'm looking forward to creating tools that can help students use their voice, and making sure that voice is valued by every adult across the state of Washington.
    Star: I am looking forward to using and improving my skills all while improving each students high school experiences. I’m also excited to hopefully meet and communicate with new people to share and learn to perspectives.
  2. Why do you think students should care about/be active in state government? 
    Indy: Students now have the opportunity to mold their education into whatever they need it to be - and I believe they should have the ability to mold our laws into what they need, too. Kids know better than anyone how kids think, and it's only right that we include their thoughts and wishes in every bill and policy.
    Star: I think students should keep up with the state government in order to improve their own community and prepare for voting at 18.
  3. If you could be an animal or plant that lives in Washington, what would you be and why?
    Indy: I would love to be a cougar, mostly because big cats are really cool, but also because I'm a passionate WSU fan. Go Cougs!
    Star: If I were an animal in Washington, I would want to be bear so I could sleep a lot and live in the forest.

Media Contact: 

Stephanie Davidsmeyer
Director of Communications