It was back to school Wednesday for Granbury High School senior Chris Willis, though he headed to class with a new responsibility as the district’s newest school board member.
Willis said he first got the idea to run over the summer when he learned Place Three’s Micky Shearon was stepping down.
“I really started thinking about is this something I can do? Can I legally run for this position because I’m so young?” said Willis.
While there’s little precedence, at 18 Willis was clear to run. And he had made a bet with himself that as long as it was legal, he was going to take on the race.
“I felt like we needed more people in our community with good, I would say Christian, values. I realized, ‘Hey. That’s kind of me. I have those Christian values. I’m able to be that light for people’,” said Willis.
He also believed it would be a way to support his school along with its teachers and students once he graduates in May.
“This whole thing hasn’t been political for me. It’s been, 'How can I help people? How can I help teachers? How can I help students? How can I help the administration?' It hasn’t been, 'What can I gain from it'?” said Willis.
So with his parents' blessing, the teen took on a full campaign against two competitors running for the seat.
While many of his classmates remained too young to vote, they supported him throughout by wearing his shirts, volunteering at the polls and encouraging their parents to vote for their peer.
Tuesday night, Willis learned from the superintendent himself that their efforts had garnered a win.
“It was so real to get that phone call from him because it was like, ‘I actually did it.’ Because most people don’t think a young person can actually do something like this,” said Willis.
As he looks ahead to his three year term, Willis said it's that opportunity to be an inspiration that he's most looking forward to.
“There’s going to be a lot of people who don’t like what you’ve got to say. But if you know it’s right, then you have to stand up and boldly say it. Because if you don’t stand up and boldly say it, then no one’s going to listen," said Willis.
After graduation, Willis plans to take classes at Weatherford College or through online seminary so he can stay nearby throughout the duration of his three year term.