Silk Wins Student Body Presidency

Danny Silk ’07 was elected to replace Ali Siddiqi ’06 as Student Council President, and James Freeman ’07 was elected as Vice President by 903 students. This was the last round of the election process. The candidate field was narrowed down over Winter Term from an initial 22 to the final three; Mike Naughton ’07, Silk and Freeman. At All-School Meeting (ASM) on Wednesday, the candidates presented speeches outlining their platforms and speaking about qualities which recommend them for the position. Current Student Council President Ali Siddiqi ’06 began ASM with a “Gregorian chant” from PA’s all-male A Capella group, The Yorkies, which quickly broke into a rendition of Prince Ali from the Disney movie Aladdin. He then introduced the candidates. Naughton spoke first, beginning his speech with “How are we feeling?” The school responded with muted laughter. He continued with an anecdote about having his wisdom teeth removed over this summer with the support of his sister, Stacey Naughton ’06. The story allowed Naughton to draw a parallel for describing life at PA. He said, “There’s always somebody else there for you [at PA],.” He also stressed that the unity he and his sister shared was the type of unity needed at Andover. Naughton suggested open forums and groups of grade “enthusiasts” that would plan grade-wide social events. Naughton concluded with his campaign slogan, asking the student body, “Will you be ‘naughty’ or nice?” Following Naughton, Silk began with a welcome to visiting students and congratulations to both Freeman and Naughton. He too continued with an anecdote from his freshman year when he was hypnotized. Under hypnosis he dazzled the audience performing an “MTV’s sexiest music video dance” with an unsuspecting female partner, and a violent Tarzan imitation. From this experience he said he learned things about himself that would be useful as a president. “One, that I had an open mind, trying hypnosis and all; … I worked well with people… I possessed an instinctive and almost jungle-like desire to get right at the source of a problem.” said Silk. He also listed items on his platform, and concluded by emphasizing the need for “more people who can plan” in student council, quoting the adage, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Silk said about his speech “It took me two to three weeks to think of what to say, just running different ideas through my head…[what] I was concerned about was keeping the audience interested and still having a point…that was the toughest part, but I feel it turned out well. In fact, the speech was the best part of the whole campaign for me…it was a big step, me saying I’m ready for this.” A member of the Yorkies, Freeman was serenaded by his fellow singers as he approached the podium. His speech opening was met with laughter, when he said that he had “realized [that] the true secret to being a great leader [was] a great beard.” Freeman then began to speak about his platform. He proposed adding another toaster to Commons, re-evaluating the bandwidth policy, and making the exam schedule available to students earlier in the term so students could make more cost-efficient travel plans. Naughton said “Both [Silk and Freeman] are qualified people…Danny is a very classy person and James from what I’ve seen is the same way.” Silk says his role as one of three theater producers this year, gave him leadership qualities necessary for his role as president, and he said it was “a lot more administrative work than I anticipated.” Prior to Wednesday’s elections, Silk arranged special discounts for students at local restaurants. He surveyed a portion of the student body on his website to learn which restaurants are most popular. Silk’s platform included reducing the art requirement, shortening the line for athletic equipment, adding more Friday night activities, resurrecting the Abbot Scholars program, and beautifying campus for Andover/Exeter day next fall. In Wednesday’s speech he added that he had already applied for an Abbot scholarship for the Andover/Exeter beautification initiative. On student council meetings, Silk said “I think we need to do a lot more preparation, and make sure we always have an issue for student congress.” He continued, “My biggest goal would be to try and make student council as a whole more effective. You hear all the time ‘Student council has so much more potential.’” Freeman is “ecstatic” with his job as Vice President. He said, “Just to be in the top three is an honor to me. I think the Vice President brings as much to that job as the president brings to his job.” Both Silk and Freeman’s main goals were to increase communication between students and administration. Naughton said “This process has been outstanding, you get to meet so many people.” He plans to run for a position on student council for next year.