Gavin Rogers presented his campaign in Farmingdale. (Photo credit Rogers for School Board on Facebook)

21 Year-Old Runs For Farmingdale School Board

Hopes to represent present and future of the district

Recently Gavin Rogers, a 2020 graduate of Farmingdale High School, announced his campaign for Farmingdale School Board. Rogers will be running against incumbent board members Kathy Lively, Anthony Giordano, and Shéree Jones. While young, the 21 year-old has big goals for the future of his home town.

Rogers took to the stage at the Knights of Columbus Hall center in Farmingdale to explain his candidacy, why he is running, and what his important talking points will be. He also shed some light on significant issues he hoped to focus on, such as armed security, union wages, and financial waste.

Gavin Rogers (center) with parents Theresa (left) and Shawn (right). (Photo courtesy of Gavin Rogers)

Rogers is a third generation ‘Daler, whose grandfather and both parents are Farmingdale High graduates. He and his sister are also graduates, and Gavin has lived in the district his entire life. “I always loved the district,” he said. “I always thought I had a great education.” But looking back, he explained, he can see some areas where the district could have been more successful. “They weren’t failures, just misses that could have been better. That was initially why I wanted to run. Going through the programs myself, I know how they work for both myself and people of my generation.”

Rogers is a graduate of St. John’s University, with a bachelors degree in government and politics. He currently works for the Town of Babylon as a community service aide. His time after college has shed further light on the ways in which Farmingdale gave him a leg-up in life. “Going from being in school to working full time I’ve seen what the [Farmingdale] programs did for me, how they’ve benefited me. But I’ve also seen now what’s worked [to help me] after school.” He said that the college classes offered during his time in the district, in partnership with various colleges and universities, showed him early on what his path in life would be. “I was able to graduate college after only two and a half years of actual coursework, and that was because of the college class offerings I had while at Farmingdale High School.”

Yet, when he reviewed the district’s statistics and web presence, he noticed that these class offerings were hardly mentioned. A much greater emphasis seemed to be on AP classes which, according to Rogers, looks good on paper but serves as a detriment to the students, who are not made aware of all of the great options available to them. Clued in to this odd communication gap between the district and its students, Rogers became more interested in getting involved as a board member.

But of course, he is much younger than the typical board member, though this has not changed his mindset towards running. “For me, age is not a factor. We have a member of the school board who has been there since 2006, when I was four years old. And I wouldn’t question their age [and still being on the board]. I think being younger offers me an advantage, because I know a bit more about the current generation, since I’m one of them, and I know where the school has a lot to offer them, but also where things maybe fall short.” He believes he can offer a fresh perspective to the board that is much needed.

Rogers not only grew up on Long Island, he hopes to stay here and make Farmingdale his lifelong home. But, like other people of his generation, he faces bleak prospects. “I look to the future and see that most people in my generation can’t afford to stay on Long Island, because our salaries won’t match those that came before us. We won’t be able to afford the mortgage rates and property values. Property taxes have increased drastically,” he explained. “While Farmingdale has tried to keep them down as much as possible, they still equate to 60 percent of property taxes across the Island. While I would love to stay in this school district — which is what I’m fighting for — and have my own family here, raise my own family in the Farmingdale School District, I don’t see how that’s possible for me.”

One of Rogers’ primary goals is encouraging the district to think through long-term means of making the Island equitable and sustainable for the populace of the future. What would it take to keep the next generation on the Island? “I am a voice for the worries of my generation,” he said. He hopes to help formulate a budget that is fair to the students but also fair to the taxpayers. “The town has attempted to fix this issue, but it’s still not realistic.”

The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the academic landscape. Schools did the best they could, but no one was prepared for the fundamental upheaval of a system which had been in place for decades. Education has changed, students have changed, and it is more important than ever to hear their voices when designing a district meant to give them the best possible future.

Rogers is finding support for his nomination throughout the community. “Please support Gavin Rogers for Farmingdale School Board. I had the pleasure of seeing him announce his intentions to run today,” posted ‘Daler Ray Rienecker to Facebook following Rogers’ announcement. “I find he is an intelligent, principled and caring young man who is passionate about making our community better and ensuring families have a voice in our school district.”

Members of the district interested in learning more about Gavin can visit his Facebook page “Rogers for School Board” or email [email protected]

Just Getting Started

Kevin James Thornton’s super second act

By Amanda Olsen • May 10, 2024


Dining guide-spring
  • No events