Next year’s Upper Reps will be no strangers to Student Council, as Rolando Bonachea ‘13, MJ Engel ’13 and Hemang Kaul ’13 return from previous respresentative roles to lead the Class of 2013.
Bonachea and Engel are currently the Class of 2013’s Lower Reps, and Kaul served last year as Junior Rep.
A total of 10 lowers ran for Upper Rep, each collecting 150 signatures from classmates and submitting platforms.
After the preliminary election, the pool was narrowed down to five candidates—Bonachea, Engel, Kaul, Zach Merchant ’13 and Jackie Murray ’13. Each candidate gave speeches at the All-Class Meeting on April 13.
On a school-wide level, Bonachea plans to push for the expansion of BlueCard acceptance to more stores downtown, vending machines and washing and drying machines.
Bonachea is also looking forward to building class spirit by organizing more class activities and facilitating the selection of a class sign next year.
In addition to increasing class bonding and spirit, Engel hopes to work with Student Council to bring Wi-Fi to more areas on campus.
One of Engel’s biggest ideas is the creation of an “Andover Answers” website, modeled off of Yahoo Answers, which would allow students to ask and answer questions about anything from courses to extracurricular activities. According to Engel, next year’s President, Uday Singh ’12, has expressed interest in the idea.
Kaul plans to organize fundraisers such as dances or dodgeball tournaments, which he hopes will raise money while still being fun.
Kaul has already talked with Singh and MacKay about expanding Big Blue Bikes by putting more bikes in different locations and including other vehicles in the rental program.
“[Student Council has]some lofty goals, but I think that the Student Council next year looks like it’s really going to have the manpower to reach those goods. I’m really looking forward to being a part of that,” said Engel.
John Bird, Faculty Advisor to the Class of 2013 and Instructor in English, said that while class spirit and unity are important concerns for class representatives, other matters, such as community service, are important initiatives. He said that this year’s Lower class community service project at the Boys and Girls Club was a good example of a unique class activity.
Bonachea chose to run for reelection because he felt that he was able to bring the class together and organize class events. He hopes to bring all class ice cream socials, movie nights and community service trips.
“Serving in Student Council this past year has been a very good experience. Working with Mike and the other members of the council was really helpful,” said Bonachea.
Engel said that she decided to run again because she enjoyed her experience serving as Lower Rep. She said, “There were a lot of struggles, there were highs and lows, but overall I’ve gained so much from the experience and I hope to continue that next year.”
Kaul said that he was motivated to run again for class representative because of the great sense of appreciation that he has for his class.
Kaul said, “During Junior year, I was still acclimating to the environment, but next year, I know I will be able to do so much more. I have many ideas for the class.”
In his speech, Kaul noted, “[Upper year] is the hardest of the four, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be fun.”
Bonachea said that he tried to keep his platform relatively simple, promising mainly to continue what Engel and he worked on this year. He said, “I think I’ve shown my ability to get the things I promised on my platform done.”
Kaul’s platform centered on cost-efficiency, since the class does not have a large budget at its disposal to use for class activities and off-campus trips.
During the campaign process, final round candidates employed innovative techniques in their speeches.
Murray presented the ideas of her platform in a poem.
Merchant, another final round candidate, began his speech with a funny anecdote about his campaign for class president in third grade.
“In third grade, I wasn’t ready to lead the class in Room 203, let alone the Class of 2013,” he said.
Merchant said he tried to make his platform both pragmatic and innovative, but stressed practicality.
Bird said, “A good class representative is a go-getter, is imaginative, has initiative, is creative, and is someone who is always in contact with his or her constituency, the students.”
“Upper Reps think about the relationship between the class and the rest of the school, the faculty and staff. They not only work hard at keeping the class unified but also find a place for their particular class in the whole school,” he continued.