The Student Staff Council (SSC) elections for representatives in the rising twelfth grade were postponed due to a lack of candidates on Monday, May 9. Only three juniors, all of whom are current SSC representatives, ran. SSC by-laws say the Council must be composed of four student representatives and a faculty advisor for each grade.
In each of the freshman and sophomore classes, seven candidates ran for a spot on the Council. In ninth grade, Jeremiah Farr, Callie Solomon, Natalia Freedman and Koen Yu were all re-elected to SSC. (Farr, Solomon and Freedman are Augur Bit staffers.) The sophomores re-elected Julian Montes-Sharp and Rand Poellnitz. They added new representatives Zoe Ferguson and Darwin Gu. The postponed junior election will take place Monday, May 16.
One current junior representative, Grey Papageorgiou, decided not to run after one year on the Council because they could not make the necessary time commitment.
SSC members must attend an hour-long meeting every week, working with other representatives and grade deans on school-wide issues. SSC is broken into committees that focus on topics like working with the Board of Trustees, establishing a live grading system and providing online textbooks.
“I had an experience that was interesting,” Papageorgiou told the Bit. “I got to learn a lot of leadership skills, and I feel good departing from it and trying other things.”
The mission of the Council, according to the SSC charter, is to represent students and faculty as well as executing events that work to preserve an environment consistent with GDS’ philosophy and values.
Assistant Principal for School Life Quinn Killy said that twelfth grade SSC members have more responsibility on the Council because they have to plan grade-wide events that uphold traditions, including the senior overnight trip and senior prank day.
“Without a full senior SSC, other grades and deans would have to work on organizing these events, which is not ideal,” Killy said. “I don’t think that rising seniors really grasp how much the senior SSC reps do.”
Killy told the Bit that before the pandemic, SSC elections rarely had fewer than four candidates. “But in the last three and a half years, there have been less people running because, during virtual learning, people did not see the function of it,” he said.
“The participation from juniors in student government has never been great,” junior Jacob Getlan told the Bit.
According to two current SSC representatives, in both the 2019–2020 and 2021–2022 school year SSC elections, there were only four junior candidates. This year, grade deans Greg Wong and Anna Howe have appealed to the juniors to run for the Council on two separate occasions prior to the postponed election.
“Senior year is a special time and you want a committed group of your peers to represent you and make it the most memorable year of your time at GDS,” Howe wrote in an email to juniors.
Alexandra Caskin, a current junior SSC representative who is running for re-election, said that she believes many juniors may not have run this year because they are busy preparing for college and for end-of-year assessments. “Not many people feel like they have the time or interest to prepare a speech,” she said.
Daria Kabiri, a junior and SSC representative, also running for re-election, added that juniors might be uninterested in running because of their impression of the Council during virtual school. “SSC doesn’t have a great reputation with juniors because the student body wasn’t satisfied with the work we did during COVID,” she said. Kabiri explained that she believes students’ dissatisfaction came from the lack of action taken by representatives during virtual learning.
“Before the pandemic, SSC was more visible,” Killy said. “Then we went out into COVID and the SSC was on the peripheral. Now they’ve got to build back and show what the SSC does.”