Presidential candidates envision better school

In the past few weeks, there has been an intense student-body presidential race. As an effort to disseminate each candidate’s ideas, The Woodstocker caught up with them.

Veer Arya, running for the position of school president, has maintained a theme of channelling student voices throughout his campaign; Arya’s slogan is “Speak Up.” He believes that students already have distinct voices which need to be heard and acknowledged. Arya has many ideas in relation to the improvement of the academic situation at school. He plans on introducing an inter-grade buddy system where the Class of 2020, the rising seniors and the last AP batch, can help the Class of 2021, rising juniors and the first IBDP batch with their college applications, which are universal regardless of the curriculum. Arya’s buddy system will involve each grade level in high school. He wants to create an environment where everyone can help each other.

He also plans on introducing a weekly or biweekly study hall at dorms for collaborative work where boys and girls can meet and discuss their projects. Arya believes that this initiative would “tie-in very nicely with IB as there are many group projects.” Arya also plans on introducing student-made music playlists that will play during lunch, which he considers to be a small idea that can make a difference. He also wants to introduce student referendums for important policy changes. However, he maintains that he will make sure the faculty will know what exactly the student voices are. Arya’s main platform is the representation of the student body, especially in front of the board and faculty. Apart from this, he also emphasizes the preservation of Woodstock traditions. 

Priyansha Agarwal’s campaign slogan is “Come Together”. She believes that almost nothing can be accomplished alone. The school, the students and she, if elected, must work together as a team for anything to be accomplished.

One of Agarwal’s points of concern is communication; be it between the administration, teachers, or even within the student body. In relation to academics, Agarwal believes that communication between the teachers and students is vital and that meetings between the two will make the transition to IB easier for the juniors and maintain a balance for the seniors who are a part of the AP curriculum. Agarwal plans on continuing the previous School Presidents’ feedback platform called “Talk to STUCO” however, she wants to make sure that is recognized and frequently used. Agarwal plans on creating a collaboration with the Student Council and Curriculum Advisory Committee, which focuses on academic activities and changes in the school.

Furthermore, she also plans on introducing a juice and smoothie bar for Upper Years’ students by will be managed by the Tangerine Boxx, the same company running the teachers’ lounge. This will be located where the current dorm store is, and the dorm store will be shifted to the dorm level. Agarwal is very serious about continuing what the former Presidents’ introduced, like the movies at Ritz cinema. Agarwal has plans to create a lounge for the juniors so that they have a place to relax. She also recognizes the difficulty of adjusting to high school and wants to make sure the freshmen fit in easily.

Radha Laplamool’s campaign focuses on the school as a whole rather than just the students. She wants to strengthen the plans that are already set at school. She did not introduce too many new ideas, as there is already a lot of change with the transition to IB and a new principal. She wants to emphasize the Guiding Principle “Tread Lightly on Earth” by enforcing a recycling plan. She realizes that this will be a long process but maintains that even a small percentage of change will make go far. Laplamool also plans on improving the communication system at school between the students and staff, she is also planning on having a feedback form on the Upper Years’ website. She believes through this, students can give constructive feedback. The form would not be anonymous to avoid any misuse of the privilege. However, the teachers will not have access to the names, it will only be the Head of Department concerned who will know the student, to ensure follow-through.

Laplamool also plans on creating a gradual distribution of privilege through grades 9 to 12. She believes that this increase in privilege will make sure students do not feel overwhelmed when they are given more freedom. Another idea that Laplamool introduced is a student-led YouTube channel. This YouTube channel would be separate from the official school channel.  She feels as though this YouTube channel would be a “really good way for Woodstockers to connect and share experiences with one another.” Laplamool’s main theme is stability, she believes that her ideas are realistic and will only serve to strengthen the school’s current system. Laplamool feels really strongly about her slogan “We not Me”, as the school needs to work together as one to accomplish any positive change.

Abhick Mehrra has been at Woodstock for seven years and has seen the school go through significant change. Mehra is passionate about having more open Student Council meetings, where anyone who wishes to attend these meetings can do so. He believes that this will increase transparency and allow students to directly voice their concerns. Mehra also had the idea of bringing Little Llama’s food to school. He wanted students to be able to order food for lunch but due to conflict with the MARS caterers, he proposed for the orders to be for snacks rather than lunch. This idea is still in progress, however, he said that it is “surely approved that Llama’s will be in dorms.”

In addition to this idea, Mehrra wanted there to be a pre-ordering system for tuck-shop as he has seen many students leave tuck-shop without getting what they want. He also stressed on increasing the importance of houses at school. Mehrra feels as though there isn’t enough value given to houses at Woodstock. He plans on preparing more inter-house events like sports and cooking competitions and creating a house award at the end of the academic year. He wants to put more focus on house captains so that those who are interested in sports can also obtain a leadership position. If elected, Mehra wants to bring teachers from Princeton Review to dorms on Saturdays to help students study for the SAT and ACT. He has spoken to the authorities but some logistics need to be addressed.

 

Nupur Agrawal is the Arts and Entertainment editor of The Woodstocker

Edited by Dhrubhagat Singh

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