Candidate speeches give student body a sense of who they are voting for

USC CO-PRESIDENTS.  Cerena Karmaliani and Annie Zhang stand confidently after running unopposed for USC co-presidents
USC CO-PRESIDENTS. Cerena Karmaliani and Annie Zhang stand confidently after running unopposed for USC co-presidents
Tamari Christopher

After weeks of campaigns, upper school councils held their election speeches on May 7 for the Student Technology Committee, Student Activities Committee, and Upper School Council. The speeches were short, giving the contenders for each position a chance to share what they think would be good improvements and what features the school is lacking.

The first speakers were junior Milan Mishra and Freshman Mattias Halloran, who were running for STC co-secretaries. While they did run unopposed, they spoke about new initiatives they want to implement, such as adding AI into learning by working with faculty to make safe rules and regulations surrounding the topic.

Junior Lorenzo Good and sophomore James Welsh spoke next. Both ran for STC co-presidents, and also ran unopposed. They want to work to improve access to the student newsletter.

During the SAC speeches, students first heard from freshman Florence Barrera who ran for treasurer. While she has represented the student body all year, standing in front of the whole school was a frightening task. “I think I was quaking. It was very scary to present in front of the whole school, but I think I did okay,” Barrera said.

Sophomore Nijah Johnson and Violet Pitcher both ran for SAC vice president. Both Pitcher and Johnson have had SAC experience and have helped curate school playlists. She wants the council to connect more with affinity groups and help plan more activities within those groups. Johnson also wants to make dance themes more open to the student body, giving everyone a say in the themes. Meanwhile, Pitcher’s love for planning and organizing activities within the school was evident in her enthusiasm during the speech. She wants to make eating with dietary restrictions at this school an easier experience for all and implement more fresh air areas at school events.

The last speech for SAC was from junior Aarushi Bahadur. She and fellow junior Natalie Waibel are running for SAC co-presidents. While they ran unopposed they still wanted to let the student body know their goals for next year, including reviving the group’s social media presence and hanging up more informational posters around the school.

Speeches from USC candidates finished the assembly. The first speaker of the USC speeches was freshman Isaak Senaratna, who was the only candidate for USC treasurer. Senaratna expressed interest in an open gradebook, and also discussed how he would manage the USC fund. This year, the group ended with a surplus of money that will go back to a general fund, so Senaratna hopes to use next year’s funds for student initiatives and charities instead of losing them at the end of the year.

Two candidates ran for USC secretary: freshmen Gavin Leuthold and Nabeeha Qadri. Leuthold began his speech with a witty introduction which grabbed the crowd’s attention, comparing his looks to Mark Zuckerberg. He spoke on the topic of sustainability and how he wants to reduce the school’s carbon emissions. Qadri also came into the speech with a charming greeting. She wants to improve the USC monthly newsletter so the student body will be able to understand how USC is advocating for the student body.

It was not a struggle because all of the people [I voted for] I felt a deep connection to.

— Laura Kimmel

Next were the USC vice-president speeches. The first co-VP speech was given by sophomores Thomas Chen and Carys Hsiung. They aim to bring house cup competitions back, with activities ranging from Squid Games to soak-the-senior. They also suggested bringing air fresheners into the Schilling bathrooms, which elicited a cheer from the audience.

Their competitors were sophomores Evan Morris and Shefali Meagher, whose primary goal was bringing back open campus during exam week, instead of required attendance at all blocks. They also want to revive the council’s social media accounts.

Finally, running unopposed, for USC co-presidents were juniors Cerena Karmaliani and Annie Zhang. These two have a lot planned for next year. They want to further their work on the culture fair and dress code and have more frequent grade sheets available to students.

The voting form opened after the assembly, in which the student body got to vote for who they thought would be the best fit for each of the roles.

Of the voting experience, sophomore Laura Kimmel said, “It was not a struggle because [of] all of the people I felt a deep connection to.”

The results were announced at 8:35 a.m. this morning.

Update 5/8 @ 11:19  This story has been edited for conciseness and style.

Update 5/9 @10:28 This story has been edited for style; corrected the name spelling of Nabeeha Qadri.

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    Nabeeha QadriMay 8, 2024 at 7:34 pm

    Hello! My name is misspelled – It’s Nabeeha Qadri, not Nebeeha Quadri. Thanks.