Racing into Student Government

Racing into Student Government

Helena Haynes, Staff Writer

As student government elections are in full swing, many of the candidates are working hard to get their message and stance on important issues out to the student body. Candidates, Justin Korman (President), Oliver Rose (Vice President), Patrick Jones-O’Brian (Treasurer), Zoe Brown (Treasurer),  Caycee Ohl (Parliamentarian), and Taran Samarth (Parliamentarian) gave their input on issues and why they are choosing to run.

Disclaimer: All candidates were reached out to, these were the candidates that chose to respond.

 

Justin Korman

Why are you choosing to run for your desired position?

I feel like running for student government office is a fantastic opportunity to bring issues that my fellow students and I care about to the forefront. I feel like our student voice goes unheard more times than not, and it causes a lot of headaches for the district.

What qualifies you for this position?

After serving as Student Council President at Mount Nittany, I immediately joined Leadership Council upon entering 9th grade. I served on the LC for two years, and was elected to the Student Government Vice President position for my junior year. That is my current position in Student Government.

If elected, what would you like to achieve during your term?

I would like to focus on expanding student involvement in the decision making process throughout the district. I would like for the Student Government to meet with members of the administration on a regular basis, keeping them updated on issues that my constituents bring up on a regular basis.

What is your opinion on issues such as the plan to start school later, the physical education program, and increasing student power?

I fully support the decision to start school later, and I wish it would take effect for my senior year. Scientific studies unanimously conclude that students who get more sleep will perform better academically. In terms of the physical education system, I believe athletes should receive gym credit as they go above and beyond the gym curriculum through their respective sports practices. Increasing student power is very important to me, as I believe there is no one that knows the daily life of a student better than…a student. We see how administrative decisions affect us on a day-to-day basis, and our input is invaluable to a district that has struggled with student relations in recent years.

What strategies are you using to campaign (posters, networking, etc.)?

I plan on campaigning the old-fashioned way. Posters, going on the announcements, and talking to people face-to-face about the issues that matter to them.

What other clubs and activities are you involved in?

I am currently a captain on the SC Boys tennis team, a member of Mock Trial, and, most importantly, a dedicated I.M.B.A. participant.

 

Oliver Rose

Why are you choosing to run for your desired position?

My party (which includes Aja, Taran and Patrick) are contesting all the positions that we are eligible for. As a party, we want to radically change the way student government operates, making it more democratic and productive to better advocate for student interests.

What qualifies you for this position?
I have been one of the most active members of leadership council over the last year. Besides that, the only qualification you should need in order to become an officer is dedication to student government, and my party’s extensive agenda proves we are dedicated and will not waste the opportunity if we are elected.

If elected, what would you like to achieve during your term?

Our platform is here

The first part of our main poster is here and the second part is here
 What is your opinion on issues such as the plan to start school later, the physical education program, and increasing student power?
Again, refer to the platform
What strategies are you using to campaign (posters, networking, etc.)?
My campaign is completely integrated with my running mates’ campaigns. Together we are putting up posters (some of which are mysteriously being taken down even though they were approved) and make a highlight real of the debates to send to supporters.

What other clubs and activities are you involved in?

Besides my activities in student gov I do model UN and debate

Patrick Jones-O’Brian
Why are you choosing to run for your desired position?
I, and the organization (or party, if you will) that I am a member of have a very powerful and far reaching agenda. To implement this agenda we hope to secure a strong and comfortable mandate in the Student Government. As such, we decided to divide the roles of student government between the members of our party based on the difficulty of the race and our individual abilities. For example, I chose the Treasurer race because of what I perceive to be my personal ability at and understanding of economics.
-footnote: The slate we are running includes Oliver Rose for Vice President, Myself for Treasurer, Aja Kukic-Bartoo for Secretary, and Taran Samarth for Parliamentarian.
What qualifies you for this position?
I am qualified for this position because of my passionate opinions and fairly robust understanding of economics as well as my active and important role in Student Government Leadership Council, where I rose to be a leader of the apparent majority bloc in that body.
If elected, what would you like to achieve during your term?
My party has a substantial platform of very intricately crafted and far reaching policy. This includes efforts to make the student government more accountable and more democratic through measures to increase Student Government’s contact with Journalism and by introducing increasing numbers of modernized and improved elections for a more legislative system of government. In addition we would like to increase the power and rights of the Student Government and the student body, with an effort to get a vote for the student body representatives on the school board as well as a stronger voice for the Student Government, and thereby the student body in the processes of curricular review and other vital policy decisions of the administration. In addition we will take a much stronger stand for the school in negotiations with the administration, and bring a far stronger diplomatic ability that will give us, the student body, the upper hand.
-footnote: Our platform is located on this google doc.
What is your opinion on issues such as the plan to start school later, the physical education program, and increasing student power?
I fully support the first to issues, and I was personally involved in bringing the third issue to the forefront of politics in the Student Government. All of these issues are part of the bedrock of our campaign, but especially increasing student power. As I gave an overview of in my answer to the previous question, a large increase in student power is central to our campaign.
What strategies are you using to campaign (posters, networking, etc.)?
Our party is beginning our first wave of posters, starting with sets of large informational posters in well known places. In the works are further waves of posters and some video ads, all to a greater and more evocative standard than political advertising has been in recent times.
What other clubs and activities are you involved in?
I participate in Rugby (when it’s in season), I am an officer in Model UN, and Boy Scout Troop 380, and a member of Quiz Bowl, and Student Government Leadership Council.
Zoe Brown

Why are you choosing to run for your desired position?

I am really excited about getting involved in student government. I bring a depth of experience managing bookkeeping in a business. This experience will translate well in my hope to take on the position of treasurer.

What qualifies you for this position?

I am a manager at Tannenbaum Christmas Tree Farm. Here I have a multiple responsibilities, some that directly relate to the position as treasurer include; reconciling the books and counting the cash everyday because like the Waffle Shop we are a cash only business, completing payroll, mediating customer service issues, clearing accounts with outside vendors, procuring supplies/materials, managing staffing needs as well as scheduling.

If elected, what would you like to achieve during your term?

I want to serve and support our student body. As the treasurer I will also help guide the student government by offering solid financial solutions as we lead our student community through both exciting and challenging times.

What is your opinion on issues such as the plan to start school later, the physical education program, and increasing student power?

Personally, I would support school starting later because getting to have those extra minutes in the morning to either sleep in, do homework or go to breakfast sound very appealing even though we have to stay a little bit later at the end of the day. The research really does support that we will succeed better as students with a later start. I do believe that physical education is important, however student athletes are completing numerous hours of physical activity through practice and games and I think that they should be granted some sort of P.E. credit for this work. Students should have a say in what is going on in their school, although there is already numerous programs that allow student to have “power” like student government/senate and the student school board representative. So students do already have of good amount of power if the choose to try and gain it.

What strategies are you using to campaign (posters, networking, etc.)?

Word of mouth has proven to be an effective method in running for office in a smaller community like ours and I have been following that path.

What other clubs and activities are you involved in?

I am also involved in the field hockey and lacrosse teams, HOSA, National Honor Society (secretary) and Leadership Council.

 

Caycee Ohl

Why are you choosing to run for your desired position?
I’m choosing to run for parliamentarian because I feel as though my faith in the United States constitution can be directly transferred to the implication and following of the student government constitution.
What qualifies you for this position?
After being in student council for one year, I feel as though my deep interest national politics, variety of leadership roles in and outside of school, and my understanding of a variety of district policies, the student code of conduct, and the student government constitution makes me qualified for this position.
If elected, what would you like to achieve during your term?
If elected, I would really like to push the idea to my co-cabinet members, leadership council members, and administration of making State High an open campus. I feel as though this would allow for more cafeteria spaces during lunch, take stress of students by giving them time to leave campus, and strengthen independence within students. I am aware of how large this goal is so I hope to at least make progress in actually getting it to happen. However, my fellow students can 100% count on the fact that as parliamentarian I will be sure the student government is justifiably serving the student body.
What is your opinion on issues such as the plan to start school later, the physical education program, and increasing student power?
I feel as though the late start to the school day will be really beneficial for students to be at their maximum level of alertness and decrease tiredness/stress for students.
What strategies are you using to campaign (posters, networking, etc.)?
Im relying heavily on just talking to all forms of students. I’ve branched out to people of all grades and have had meaningful conversations with everyone about what they want in a student government as well as how they feel about school issues.
What other clubs and activities are you involved in?
-Journalism
-Best Buddies
-Dance
Taran Samarth
Why are you choosing to run for your desired position?
Student government has almost always been reactive: only after the administration or Board have taken steps has the student government spoken. I’m running for parliamentarian to stand up to the administration, be vocal, and be proactive in the school’s policy making. Aja, Oliver, Patrick, and I want to democratize student government so the administration hears the student body’s voice loud and clear.
What qualifies you for this position?
Over the last year, I’ve been an active member of the leadership council and participated in the amendment and ratification of the constitution passed last month. The parliamentarian is charged with the duties of interpreting the constitution and addressing conflicts, so my involvement in the creation of the new constitution gives me a thorough understanding of the document and the ability to address issues that may pop up in the future.
If elected, what would you like to achieve during your term?
The Popular Front (Aja, Oliver, Patrick, and myself) is running to fully democratize student government and give it the power and voice it needs to address issues of student life here. Along the line of democracy, we want to implement a fresh constitution that requires the election of more offices and transparency between the government and the student body. We’re also working towards creating a class review system that gives people access to information created by students and for students when they’re signing up for classes so they know what they’re getting into. You can see the rest of our platform and everything we want to accomplish here.
What is your opinion on issues such as the plan to start school later, the physical education program, and increasing student power?
Well, increasing student power is a centerpiece of the Popular Front’s platform. We aim to empower students to participate in student government by giving them a real platform to stand up to the administration and make their voices heard. I support the plan to start school later, considering the variety of experts and studies recommending so, as it’ll help students focus more in classes and be more successful in the long term. I’m also looking forward to finally implementing a program that ensures physical education credit for student athletes who compete under the school’s banner.
What strategies are you using to campaign (posters, networking, etc.)?
We’re relying on posters and personal communication. Students deserve to know who they’re voting for, and a chat with one of us or a look at our platform gets our message across clearly.
What other clubs and activities are you involved in?
I’m a debate captain in Forensics and a member of Quiz Bowl.
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