With the presidential debate today and elections taking place on Monday, The Woodstocker thought it would be a good idea to speak to the candidates for school president and get an idea of what their goals are as well as give a recap of some of their answers.
Your two candidates for school president are Tanvi Garg and Dyumna Madan.
Why are you standing?
Dyumna- “Students have a voice, and STUCO has a responsibility.” -Kritin Garg, Woodstocks’ school president of 2019.
If I said those words in a speech tomorrow, they still hold true. There is absolutely no transparency between students and STUCO right now. The relationship that students and teachers have is lost. I want to give students the agency to fight for what they believe in and fight for those goals. I want students to be able to put belief into action, and that’s the legacy I want to leave behind.
Tanvi- I’ve been in Woodstock for six years now, and I’ve practically grown up here. I really care about this school and the people here. I’ve seen what Woodstock used to be and what it is now. There is a significant difference, some good, some bad, but I think my main point is that Woodstock has shaped me into the person I am today. I want kids to have the same experience and have a place where they can grow positively. I’ve seen my seniors come and go and how Woodstock has influenced their trajectory; I want my juniors to have that same iconic Woodstock experience. At the same time, I realise the world is progressing, and so should we so I want to take Woodstock’s foundation and build on that to make it the best possible version of itself.
What makes you different from the other candidates?
Dyumna- So I’m new, which has been brought up against me. Still, I proudly own it because I believe I bring in a very different set of perspectives. Besides that, I’ve been here for one semester, and I think I already have an excellent outreach in the community. I was class governor. I worked very closely with other STUCO members, I’ve done the EY internship, I was offered chief editor at the Woodstocker, I hope to be football captain, I’ve been a part of GAIL and represented the school in those discussions, I’ve worked with the alumni and what I think sets me apart is a passion for making a change.
Tanvi- I think first is my experience. I’ve been here a long time. I’ve seen six pairs of STUCO presidents come and go, and I’ve watched them work. Besides that, I’m a quiet person, but that’s one of my strengths since it makes me so approachable. I’m also very observant and perceptive of what people think and how they react to different situations, which makes me a unique candidate because I know that different people need different types of leadership. So I will be able to provide that. I have a really good balance in my own life, giving me time to focus on STUCO and do what needs to be done. So I will be able to dedicate time to make sure there is stability and trust.
What is one change you are planning on making?
Dyumna- Bringing Woodstock back to what it was, its spirit, and the energy, I have spoken to many seniors and alumni. I’ve done my research. I watched a two-hour graduation ceremony before my interview and a baccalaureate ceremony which wasn’t very helpful.
Dhruv Kanpara said that when they were in the 8th grade, they didn’t have their phones every weekend they just went out, made food, sat at Ridgewood court and watched matches together. That’s the Woodstock I want to bring back.
Tanvi- I have many goals, but the most important one is bringing back a sense of normalcy to Woodstock after a 2-year pandemic and having a smooth year with no impeachments. I want everyone to have the holistic Woodstock experience with that balance of academics and events and not focus on irrelevant things beyond our control. So instead of focusing on trying to bring back a Woodstock that doesn’t exist anymore, I want to take my knowledge of the past Woodstock and use that to build a new Woodstock.
Since you’ll be working with them for a year, What is your relationship with the other candidates?
Dyumna- The only person from STUCO-elect is Jayant. He was the head of media, and I worked closely with him for a semester. Our goals align. We have a good relationship: we have the same values and vision for Woodstock. I do believe if the both of us are working together, we have opposing opinions on certain things, but that is important for the students to have a democratic council. I believe we will be able to take Woodstock back to what it was.
Tanvi- Jayant has been my classmate for six years, and I’ve worked with him before as a class governor. I know what he is like and how it is to work with him. There are some things he is really good at and some things that I am really good at, so I feel like we balance each other out, and I’m pretty sure we would make a good team.
Do you think the fact that you are new gives will affect your overall performance as president?
Dyumna- I think it plays greatly to my advantage as I can bring in a new perspective, and I believe I bring in a new drive that other candidates might not have. In addition, it will positively impact my term as president because my being new doesn’t change the fact that I love my juniors, and I want to be there for them. Someone once told me that high school is like a Spanish movie without subtitles. I want to be those subtitles for them. I’ve been here one semester and what Woodstock has given me is unparalleled, and my desire to make a change is unmatched. The bonds I’ve created in one semester and the new ideas I have are advantageous to the school.
Do you think your time in Woodstock gives you an upper hand over the other candidate?
Tanvi- Definitely, because I lived through 6 years of Woodstock, I’ve personally experienced its evolution over the years, so I can actually use that past experience to my advantage. I know how things work here, and I know that it’s not the big things that make Woodstock what it is but the small traditions, the atmosphere, the teachers etc. I know this school really well, and I have an excellent foundation to build upon.
Previously there have been impeachments in STUCO, causing a lot of instability. How do you plan to prevent instability in STUCO during your tenure as president?
Dyumna- This circles back to transparency, there was an issue with STUCO and the constitution recently wherein there were a lot of opinions, but that’s only because we weren’t transparent about what was happening in STUCO, so if I’m elected, I will make sure there is a weekly newsletter with what your leaders are actually doing.
Today I did something called the one minute podcast where kids could come up to me and tell me what they’d like changed at Woodstock, which I intend to do if I get elected.
In the past, presidents actually went up on stage at every assembly and updated the community on what was happening, and that will happen again. Student voices will matter again.
Tanvi- Anyone who is a part of STUCO needs to know their responsibilities. If they don’t, then I feel like they shouldn’t be a part of STUCO. In this case, if impeachment is necessary, I don’t mind. Still, to prevent this from happening in the first place, I will make sure there is a sense of trust within STUCO itself and make sure that everyone is confident and knows not to mess up because the consequences will be harsh.
May the best candidate win!
Kyra Malhotra is the editor in chief of The Woodstocker.