New Council Promotes Student Involvement
By BRANDON KONG and XIN ZHEN
While everyone races to go home, the new student government rushes to the fourth floor to start the next half of their day.
“The enthusiasm comes with being in the student government,” said Matthew Perez ’21, the new sophomore vice president. “Being able to make a change and contribute is very exciting.”
The student government strives to create a more enjoyable high school experience for the student body. One of their first goals this year was to get the Junior Semi-Formal approved.
“We wanted to give the students something to look forward to,” said Tanisa Rahman ’20, the new mayor. Along with the process of getting the Junior Semi-Formal approved, they were faced with many challenges. All of their plans had to be approved by Mr. Michael McDonnell and Mr. Alan Stack. The student government needed to be well prepared to convince them that their plans are practical.
“The key to our success was that we had backup plans for the backup plans,” said Taskin Khan ’20, the new comptroller. “We anticipated the questions that Mr. McDonnell and Mr. Stack might’ve had and their reasons why.”
Jonathan Li ’20, the new junior president, said, “We were prepared to go into that meeting with Mr. McDonnell expecting him to say no, but in the end we were able to convince him to let us go through with our plans.”
After three consecutive meetings with Mr. McDonnell, the student govenment was finally able to get the Junior Semi-Formal approved.
Mr. Lawrence Kolotkin, the coordinator of student affairs said, “They got the principal to change his mind because they were so well prepared, so well spoken, and covered every detail. They did it so well that the principal called me on the phone and told me that he was very impressed by their presentation.”
Along with the confirmation of the Junior Semi-Formal, they also made other changes around the school. At the beginning of the school year, student government members recruited homeroom representatives.
“We branched out this year,” said Khan. “Some of us went to your official classes and asked for representatives so that they can contact us, and we can better our connection between the student council and the student body.”
All of the representatives agree that the most important aspect of the student government is to help the student body.
“When we represent people, we hear you and we want to do something to help you,” said Khan. “Even if it’s a slow process, we try to do something about it.”
Even though the student government is trying their best to make the school more lively, they want their peers to know that the cooperation of the student body is also important for them to achieve their goals.
“It’s hard to get students to contribute and get involved,” said Xiumei Wu ’19, the senior president. “We can try to get them to participate in things like senior days. But in the end, if they don’t participate, we can’t do anything about it.”
Rahman said, “One student said that if more people participated in the Spirit Days, maybe he would participate too. That’s why we participate in it: because we want a day to just have fun and be able to make fun of each other for what we’re wearing.”
The student government was able to overcome many challenges, but many of their goals would not have been achieved if there had been no cooperation within the group. According to Mr. Kolotkin, the members of the student government are like one big family.
“The thing about this group is that we’re all so close to each other, and it’s very sweet,” said Rahman. “We formed great bonds that I think will continue. We cooperate so well because we genuinely like each other.”
However, they are students too; Sometimes disagreements occur between them, but they quickly take steps to resolve it.
“Whenever we face a conflict, Tanisa is on it very quickly. We work it out,” said Laura Rosas ’20, the new junior vice president. “The cooperation that people see is encouraged by Tanisa. She makes sure that we all get along.”
Mr. Kolotkin stipulated that students should run based on their own merits and not on criticism of others. However, during the campaign, there was inevitably a lot of unspoken conflict between the candidates.
“It gets dramatic sometimes, but if you’re not elected, it’s totally fine,” said Rahman ’20. “You come here and you can talk to us, so you’re a part of the family, too. If you want to help the school, that’s good for us. You’re also a part of our team because we want to help the school, so why not do it together?”
Within the student government, it’s a mutual consensus that whether you’re the president or the vice president, you still contribute the same amount of work to the school.
“We don’t like to think of this as a student government, but more like a student council where we all come together with one goal in mind, and that is to make the school a better place,” said Mr. Kolotkin.