Ritenour High School Senior Becomes Overland City Council’s First Student Representative
Ritenour High School senior Cailan Wooten made history at the Overland City Council meeting on Sept. 11, 2023, as she started her term as the first-ever student representative, a role that promises to bring a fresh perspective to the city's government. (Photo: Superintendent Dr. Chris Kilbride, Overland Mayor Marty Little and Cailan Wooten; photo by John Moyle)
Wooten, a lifelong Ritenour student who attended Iveland Elementary and Hoech Middle School prior to Ritenour High School (RHS), said she is eager to serve on the City Council to help bridge the gap between the schools and the community they serve.
“I wanted to serve because I wanted to be part of the process of getting more students involved in their own community and getting more students to have the skillset and willingness to advocate for themselves and their peers,” said Wooten. “My biggest goal is to help lay that initial foundation and groundwork for future students to be able to successfully and confidently advocate for a school, for a community, and for a world that they want to live in.”
Overland Mayor Marty Little is excited about Wooten's civic involvement through the end of the school year.
"We're excited to have Cailan join us and lend a different perspective to city government,” Little said. “We hope this program better ties the administration of the city with the Ritenour School District for the benefit of all."
Wooten has a strong record of leadership at RHS, which includes serving as: president of the school’s social justice club called the Game Changers; captain of the Speech and Debate team, secretary of the National Honor Society; concertmaster of the school’s Chamber Orchestra; an active member of the school’s Mu Alpha Theta math honor society.
Outside of school, Wooten’s strong commitment to social justice and community engagement is evident in her participation with local organizations. She has volunteered on the Youth Council (also known as Youth Advocates for Healing and Liberation) of the St. Louis Chapter of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), which is a social justice organization that focuses on systemic injustice. The St. Louis chapter has mostly focused on conversations about systemic racism in school systems and local communities, she said.
During the past two years, Wooten has also been a youth ambassador for Alive and Well, which focuses on community trauma and how that impacts the mental health of the people who reside in those communities.
Recently, Wooten also became the new executive of the St. Louis chapter of InteGirls, a non-profit that hosts math competitions and other events for girls and other gender minorities.
Despite her demanding schedule, Wooten works part time at ABC Ball Park.