Fresh Take on School Government: Freshmen Run for SGA Elections

Hope Williams, Staff writer

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Although the 2018 Congressional midterm elections are still several weeks away, another election closer to home has captured Chamblee Charter High School’s attention. On September 25th, the class of 2022, this year’s freshmen, heard their classmates speeches’ as they ran for Student Government Association (SGA) office.

The candidates ran for office for various reasons.

“I wanted to run because I wanted to make a change and make a difference [in] how they’re going to do [things] throughout the school. I get it, how hard it is to be in school… and how hard the transition is. I wanted to help people through that,” said vice president candidate Sanjeev Anand.

On the other hand, Ethan Santucci, who also ran for vice president, ran for the experience.

“I haven’t really run for anything else, hadn’t had much leadership experience […] and I figured I needed a little bit of experience before I really try to go for the higher up positions [in SGA],” said Santucci.

Samrah Khan, who ran for secretary, felt it was the best fit for her personality.

“I am pretty organized and I want to help the meetings run smoothly,” said Khan.

To run for office, the candidates had to get signatures from fellow freshmen endorsing them to run for office, as well as prepare and give a speech.

“I prepared for my speech by reading it out loud to my family and friends and taking their feedback,” said Andrew Pietkiewicz, who ran for president.

Others preferred a more casual approach.

“I really didn’t write much of a speech, I thought I would just sort of see how everyone reacts to what I was saying. My main idea was probably just to help the freshmen get used to the freshman academy and all this stuff,” said Santucci.

Topics covered in the speeches were diverse.

“I mentioned some ideas such as Wi-Fi. Maybe we can think about adding another Wi-Fi router,” said Anand.

Anand also discussed the possibility of fundraisers.

“I also thought maybe we could propose to the school that we could create some sort of weekly basis of sugary treats and candy that would benefit the school, a moderate price that would benefit the kids, as well as the school,” said Anand.

Freshman Dionne Nguyen enjoyed the speeches from her seat in the audience.

“I actually thought it was kind of interesting to hear what they would do for the freshmen and have our opinions on what to do for the school,” said Nguyen.

She was impressed at the initiative the candidates took to discuss new ideas.

“They covered a lot, especially about homecoming, since it’s coming up, and they covered just a lot in general about how we would feel, mainly [about] field trips and things kind of outside of school,” said Nguyen.

Besides the content of the speeches, the freshmen voters’ decisions were impacted by the candidates’ body language.

“I liked the one [candidate] running for president when he did his speech, he walked on stage and he was hype,” said Tahirah Abdullah. “It was good that he used the whole stage, instead of how most people just stood at the podium, and he talked to us and was happy and he made us laugh.”

Abdullah was referencing president candidate Aadi Saha. Grayson Joiner also agreed that some of the speeches were given well.

“Most of them were good and some of them really stood out to me,” said Joiner.

For Joiner, the social skills of the candidates were important.  

“The ones [speeches] that really were good were the ones that moved the crowd and everyone one responded to. The ones that were bad got no responses or just lots of interruptions,” said Joiner.

Besides the speeches, candidates had the opportunity the make posters endorsing their campaign.

“I made posters by designing it in Microsoft Word, then printing them. I also drew one out on a large poster board,” said Pietkiewicz.

Photos by Hope Williams.

Other candidates preferred not to make posters.

“I really didn’t make any posters, I think the only reason people make posters is to make sure that everyone knows they’re running, I don’t think posters make or break an election,” said Santucci.

Anand used his creativity to create a slogan.

“I used a campaign slogan, ‘a nice and caring friend’ because my last name is Anand, and I spread that out between three words… I made a couple of memes from it,” said Anand.

Nguyen especially enjoyed the posters including memes.

“There’s a lot of good posters out there, and I especially like the ones with puns and memes because that’s what a lot of kids look at,” said Nguyen.

The results of the election were announced on the afternoon of September 25th. The co-presidents of the freshmen class are Andrew Pietkiewicz and Alexander Jovanovic. The vice president is Sarah Duong. The co-secretaries are Oishee Akter and Maggie Phillips.

There were still valuable lessons to be learned, even for those who lost the election.

“For me, it was really just all about coming down and connecting to the audience… making sure my point was heard,” said Santucci. “Even if I don’t get elected, I’m still happy that I was able that I was able to go out there and make sure everyone knows what I wanted to do.”