Class of 2023 Amps Up Freshman SGA Campaigning


Photo by Ashley Veazey.

Chamblee’s Student Government Association sign.

Henry Diep, Staff Writer

With the beginning of every new school year comes election time for student government freshman-office positions. This year, the class of 2023’s campaigns were highlighted by cereal box slogans, social media campaign posts, and Tik Tok-inspired posters.

The Speeches

Candidates were given the chance to convince their peers to vote for them through their speeches, which were given in front of the entire freshman class. This part of the campaign was, according to some candidates, at the very least a little bit stressful.

“I mean, I realized that everyone would be there, but it was just kind of nerve-wracking to see all of them there,” said Naa Adua Annan, who ran for president.

Krishna Srivasta, who ran for vice president, also found the large audience to be a little intimidating.

“It was like the first speech I ever gave, and it was a lot of people, so […] I was very nervous,” said Srivasta.

However, some of the candidates took on mindsets that suppressed their nervousness, keeping them relaxed and collected.

“I was pretty nervous, but at the end, I just realized that whatever I said, it’s not like people would really remember, […] so it didn’t really matter,” said Anna Zhai, who also ran for vice president.

To prepare for their speeches, candidates practiced and recited what they were going to say before going up on stage.

“I went online and read examples and stuff, and then I tried to add some of my personality into my speech. To prepare, I wrote my whole speech on a sheet of paper and read and recited it over and over again until it was really in my brain so [that] I wouldn’t stutter a lot,” said Zhai.

Humor played a particularly significant role, as students found the most notable speeches to include some type of comedic feature.

“I liked Krishna’s [speech] because Krishna made a ‘Joe Mama’ joke,” said freshman Cannon Quinn.

Freshman Kadie Quill found that a combination of humor and seriousness made for a quality speech, something that secretary candidate Demetrius Daniel excelled at. 

“I really liked Demetrius’s speech,” said Quill. “He was just really funny, and he talked about what he was going to do for our class of 2023, and I just thought that was very important.”

The Motivations to Run 

The candidates decided to run for office for a number of different reasons.

“I ran because it was [an open position], and I thought it would be good for me to get involved in the Chamblee community,” said Annan. “I just thought that would be the best way, to run for president.”

Vice presidential candidate Sophia Kim ran with the intention of making a contribution to the school and SGA.

“I ran because I thought that I could make a difference at the school and have a part in student government council,” said Kim.

Meanwhile, some candidates saw the election as an opportunity to gain experience, adding to their list of high school qualifications.

“[I ran] because it would look good on my resume,” said Neathan Aresh, who ran for secretary.

The Campaigning Process

Photo courtesy of Sophia Kim.
Freshman Sophia Kim’s campaign poster.

To spread the word about their campaigns and to garner more votes from their peers, some candidates made posters featuring catchy slogans to place around the school.

“For my posters, I had two campaign managers that helped me come up with my slogans and spread the word that I was running, [telling] people to vote for me,” said Annan.

Daniel enrolled the help of his mother to create catchy slogans.

“My mom […] was class president at her high school, and so she wanted to help me out,” said Daniel. “My name’s Demetrius and not a lot of things rhyme with that, so I was just thinking for a long time, and I [also] had some friends help me with campaigning and making up slogans. I had a lot of fails and had to keep printing out posters.”

Others went the route of using pop culture references in their campaign posters.

“I asked friends what I should do [for my posters] and what appealed most to the crowd,” said Srivasta. “There’s this movie called ‘Vice’ that came out a year ago, so I took the movie poster for that and wrote ‘Vote Krishna’ on it.”

Their peers seemed to find these clever slogans and eye-catching posters especially memorable.

“I liked Coco’s [poster],” said Quinn, referring to presidential candidate Coco Bradford. “She had the slogan ‘Coco for Cocoa Puffs’ except it was like, ‘Vote Coco!’ It had a humor aspect [to it], and it was also just practical.”

Meanwhile, other candidates opted to not make posters and instead endorsed their campaign through other means.

“I didn’t have any posters,” said Grant Polk, who ran for vice president. “I just had things up on social media.”

Of course, only four of the candidates were able to win the election. The election results named Annan president of the freshman class, Polk and Srivasta as co-vice presidents, and Daniel as secretary.

The Election’s Aftermath

However, even candidates who didn’t win the election enjoyed the campaigning experience.

“I think overall, running for the position was super fun even though I didn’t win,” said Zhai. “It was a nice opportunity to work with my friends.”

So what’s next for the election winners? What kind of changes and improvements are they hoping to implement so that their peers have a good freshman experience?

“So far, not many freshmen know the highschool [well] yet because we’re all new,” said Annan. “But I think once we all settle in, it’d be nice to make some changes and get different input from different people in our class.”

Co-vice presidents Polk and Srivasta, along with secretary Daniel have similar goals in mind: garnering input from other freshmen and giving them a voice in the school.

“I just plan on improving student awareness because a lot of people don’t know that they can have a voice, so I [will] try to get more people involved so that our SGA can do more,” said Polk.

In addition to communication though, Daniel plans on making other changes as well.

“I plan on improving the dress code and having a lot of more fun activities than what we had at the middle school,” said Daniel.