At only 17 years old, Raymond Adderly III will likely be the youngest candidate running for a seat on the Broward County School Board this cycle. But he says he’s been on his way to public service since a tragedy over a decade ago.
“Yes, I’m a college student. Yes, I’m 17,” Adderly told Florida Politics during a conversation about his campaign. “But what really happened to me that sparked this passion for activism , this passion for helping others is the fact that at the age of 7, I saw a home invasion turn into murder. “
This murder claimed the life of Adderly’s father, Raymond Adderly Jr. The elder Adderly was a friend of the rapper Rick Ross and was a budding rapper himself. In December 2010, two men entered his house in Miramar with bandanas draped over their faces, demanding money.
Adderly Jr. gave them money. He was still kicked and then shot in the death.
The youngest Adderly is now seeking the general seat of School Board 8, which is currently held by a member of the school board Donna Korn. When talking about his campaign, Adderly III is confident and knowledgeable in a way that would stand out from most 17 year olds. This is all the more noticeable given his traumatic past.
“My father was gunned down in front of me, my two younger brothers and my mother in my own home in Miramar,” Adderly said. “And quickly I realized how speechless people really can be.”
Adderly, who is class president at Fort Lauderdale High School, wants his campaign to be a voice for students and others who he says are not fairly shaken by the current school board. Adderly, who will begin her senior year in the fall, says two of her biggest issues are increasing funding for mental health and focusing on renovating school campuses, especially in low-income communities.
On the mental health front, Adderly argues that county schools are operating without enough mental health counselors to serve a larger student body.
“If this continues to persist, we will continue to see children fighting. We will continue to see children become addicted to drugs in college to deal with their stress. We will continue to have a society where people don’t know how to empathize, ”Adderly said.
“When we start to take more initiative to deal with these issues, we will be in a much better position. “
He also pointed to the county schools which “have bad air conditioning, mediocre multimedia centers, very bad roofs.” Adderly submitted a partial roof collapse in March at Rickards Middle School in Oakland Park. Adderly echoed concerns from Broward teachers’ union Anne Fusco that some students and teachers were trapped during the event, but no one was seriously injured.
“The stories I heard from parents and students there were excruciating,” Adderly recalls. “It’s not something every parent should have to worry about when they send their child to a Broward County school.”
While the district worked to stabilize the Rickards, some students were sent to study at Broward College’s North Campus, while others learned at home.
“It’s not what parents want to hear,” Adderly said. “This is not what the students want to hear. They want to be in their classes. Someone has to be that voice to make sure the board knows it.
“When we have better facilities in Broward, we will stop losing children to charter schools and private schools. “
Adderly – who turns 18 on election day in August 2022 – and his young candidacy could be reminiscent of the school board’s campaign of the 19-year-old then. Elie Manley Four years ago. Manley also pursued Seat 8, but finished third in a three-way battle with Korn and the Parkland parent. Ryan small. Young Manley’s age was above his share of the vote, which reached just under 19%.
Korn won that race, but with her term expiring in 2022, she has yet to seek re-election. So far, only Adderly and John Moreno Escobar have officially filed with the county. Others might come in if Korn refused to introduce himself again. If she shows up again, Adderly would face a three-term holder.
Adderly told Florida Politics he would be ready anyway.
“Our campaign is ready to run for an open siege or against an incumbent,” he said. “It’s a movement. We are here to win it.