One candidate presented a list of seven items she would enact if elected. Another emphasized how much she cared about the school student government. One couldn’t promise chocolate milk in every water fountain dispenser while another emphatically stated that he would “make fourth grade great again!”
So it was on Wednesday morning at the DeSeta Chapel as 12 students delivered their speeches for the 2016-17 Lower School Student Government Association (SGA) committee to the student body that encompassed fourth graders to seventh graders. In the end, after all the speeches were given and the votes were tabulated, seventh-graders Matthew Levin and Kalynn Miner were elected president and vice president, respectively.
Brian Barrett and Grace Vernine will serve as the fifth grade representatives while a tie in the voting resulted in three fourth grade representatives: Asher Mozombite, Zachary Rice, and Hannah Singleton. No students ran for sixth grade representation.
According to Valeri Fowler, who is the advisor for the SGA, this year’s election included the most candidates ever for the fourth grade class, which had seven speakers. The audience also was more spirited as each promise elicited an overwhelming “yessss.”
“The speakers get better and better each year and the crowd involvement increases as well,” said Ms. Fowler, who teaches Language Arts while also overseeing the National Junior Honor Society.
“It’s a great opportunity for the kids to participate in the political process and understand it from a hands-on perspective, too. We go through what it means to be a candidate and what it means to be a voter and how important voting is to the process and making yourself heard.”
Isabella Reynolds was the first speaker of the day and she read from a well-prepared speech, mentioning and reiterating how much she cared about Farragut and the people associated with the school. Stating how Farragut she feels “almost like I live here” (due in part to her mom, Marilyn Reynolds, teaching at the school), she said it was important for Farragut students to give back in different ways, like participating in the Toys for Tots program.
Jacob Arias pledged to identify ways to improve the school but stopped short of demanding pizza every Friday.
Asher Mozombite, new to the school this year, opined “how friendly the students have been at Farragut” since his arrival before boasting how he “will make the fourth grade great again,” efforting the Donald Trump slogan.
Luciano Passarelli “has been making the world a better place since 2006,” presumably his birth year while Madison Steele is focused on the job at hand.
Zachary Rice couldn’t promise the flow of chocolate milk around campus but he does intend to “be the best representative the class needs.”
Hannah Singleton laid out her platform with seven essentials that included extra Dojo points for good behavior, new fundraisers, increased breaks between classes to eight minutes, the re-introduction of the Fall Festival, the implementation of online homework, the reduction of homework, and a 40-minute recess, which received a rousing applause.
Brian Barrett, one of last year’s fourth grade representatives, began the fifth grade speeches by stumping for an extension of lunch, recess, and free time in class before happily stating, “Yeah, vote for me!”
Hans Renlund, new to the school this year, called for similar changes as Brian.
Grace Vernine received the most positive reaction, though, when she specifically listed her points of emphasis. After urging the students the need for a food drive, toy drive, cards to prep school people serving overseas, and recycling bins on campus, she received a resounding “yes” after stating she would push for movie days, crazy sock days, crazy hat days, and no student government uniform days.
While the sixth grade class had no candidates running for any position, the seventh graders had two hoping to be the SGA president.
Matthew Levin received chants of “Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt,” when he told the student body to “be heard” by letting him “be their voice.”
“I want to hear what you think,” Matt told the group of intent listeners. “Not just one or two of you, but all of you. What’s the point of making changes that make only one or two people happy. I think it’s time for someone to listen to you because that’s who really matters. Fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh. I’m here for everyone of you. Once I win, I’ll go to every class and ask what your ideas are and what’s important to you. Be heard. Vote Matthew Levin for SGA president.”
Kalynn Miner, new to the school this year, also received loud applause and “vote for Kalynn” chants when she said everyone would have a voice under her leadership.
“I would encourage everyone to be involved with whatever they want without any judgment,” she told the students. “I will listen to the student body and what they want for the school, whether that’s a theme for the school dance, a study hall, or even a food suggestion student government. I will do my best to honor any and all suggestions.”
It should prove to be a very successful year under this strong group student government of leaders.