Reflections of a President
By: Connor Reardon
At the beginning of the most chaotic school year in a lifetime, the Student Council election was held. Many ambitious students ran for positions with unique ideas and innovative plans for the school going into 2021. After the extraordinary election, held at the beginning of the year and with voting opening on federal election day, two unprecedented circumstances, and several weeks of hard campaigning, Natalie Delacruz was elected President of the Student Council. For the entirety of the school year, with all of its shakeups and challenges, Student Council had to build itself from scratch in a way, as the institution had never operated under conditions such as there were just after the election. Following a year of organizing the Council, planning initiatives, and executing agendas, Natalie was kind enough to agree to an interview with the Courant to hear her reflections on the hectic months now behind us. The interview was conducted over the phone, with a wealth of fascinating answers.
Question 1: What first motivated you to run for president?
Answer: It was something I’d been wanting to do for a long time, and I eventually want to be a politician. I feel that the experience and skills I develop in student government will be very valuable later in life: representing people, working a campaign, etc.
Question 2: What were your thoughts when you got the news you’d been elected?
Answer: I was very excited because it was a really busy time of year, and I’d decided to graduate early and was busy with college applications, and hearing this good news was just invigorating. I was really excited to get started, and I had tons of ideas.
Question 3: What were your big goals for this term, and to what extent do you feel they were accomplished?
Answer: I wanted to make student council less of a planning committee and more of a representative body, and a lot of our initiatives this year were successful in doing that. We sent out forms to students and communicated on social media, and staying in touch with the student body was a success. Although we certainly had some failures. We tried to hold Q&A sessions, and we had hoped for further engagement, but considering the extraordinary circumstances of this year, I’m happy that we managed to set up the framework for more student involvement.
Question 4: What was it like serving as president in such a chaotic year, and how did you navigate the challenges presented by Covid?
Answer: It was really weird since the election was so rushed. It was held at the beginning rather than the end of the year, and there wasn’t much time to plan. It was all pretty sudden. But we used what we had, and created a Student Council account on Instagram to interact with people, and we used virtual meetings to engage with people as much as we could. It definitely wasn’t ordinary, but we made do with what we had.
Question 5: On the whole, how do you feel your term as president has gone? Was it a fun time? An educational experience? Successful or not?
Answer: It was definitely stressful adding the presidency to an already packed schedule. I hadn’t even planned on it this year but figured it was now or never since I’ll be graduating early. I think it was enjoyable despite whatever stresses there were, and I think it’s been a successful year considering how we worked within chaotic circumstances. We achieved a lot considering we had to operate in the middle of a pandemic.
Question 6: Do you think your experience campaigning and serving as president will be beneficial going into college and adulthood?
Answer: Yeah, it’s definitely shown me that I want to stay involved in student government. I think every school can improve its student government to make it more representative and to have it serve as a more vital organ of school communities. I didn’t think I’d have an interest in it after this year once I’d entered the presidency, but this past year had given me a lot of new perspective. Not to mention the experience can definitely be used going into an actual political career.
Question 7: What would you like to see out of future student councils and presidents?
Answer: As Covid becomes less of an issue, I’d really like to see town hall-esque meetings where everyone can show up to voice their opinions, ask questions, and seek advice. I also think Student Council should take a more philanthropic role, maybe doing at least one food, clothing, etc., drive per year. There are lots of people in our community who need support, and Student Council can definitely help them get what they need.
Question 8: Do you have any tips for future presidents and council members?
Answer: If you’re thinking about running for Student Council, definitely plan ahead and have concrete ideas. Ideas for your term, and the process during Council meetings, that is. Have plans for initiatives, know teachers you can talk to, and have a concrete idea for what you want your time in office to look like so when you get started, you can hit the ground running.
Following a most extraordinary term in office during a most extraordinary year, Natalie Delacruz will be graduating from Conard, having certainly left her mark in the halls of our school.