Merely a month ago David Gutierrez ’15 and Rebecca Somer ’15 were one of ten pairs vying to be the second School Co-Presidents in Andover’s history. After several forums and multiple rounds of voting, Gutierrez and Somer have been elected Co-Presidents for the 2014-2015 school year.
985 ballots were cast in the third and final round of voting and the results of the election were released via email at 10:34 p.m. by Clark Perkins ’14 and Junius Williams ’14, current School Co-Presidents. A record-breaking 88 percent of the student body participated in this round of the election. The runner-up pair was comprised of Carter Page ’15 and Hanover Vale ’15.
Of the 985 ballots, 645 were cast in favor of Gutierrez and Somer.
The polls opened shortly after Wednesday’s All School-Meeting, which consisted of a debate between the two remaining candidate pairs, and closed at 10 p.m. Wednesday.
“We want to thank everyone who got us here to this position and we also want to thank Hanover and Carter for their great effort and great campaign. We’re really excited,” said Gutierrez. “We’re kind of in shock. It’s surreal,” added Somer.
The first item on Gutierrez and Somer’s agenda is working on mental health awareness. In addition to this initiative, Gutierrez and Somer are also looking to improve the club system.
Perkins and Williams posed questions to the candidates during the debate. When answering a question concerning her and Gutierrez’s platform, Somer said that “clubs need to advertise much more effectively. Students should know all the clubs on campus before the Club Rally, because that’s a very overwhelming experience. That’s not a good opportunity for people to get familiar with the clubs available on campus.”
In their closing remarks, Gutierrez and Somer discussed one of the most emphasized items on their platform: mental health awareness. “We can’t ignore the fact that a number of students here at Andover are dealing with mental health issues. It needs to be addressed now,” said Gutierrez.
Gutierrez and Somer plan to work with Graham House and Isham to create a resource guide on PAnet where students could gather information on mental health. and according to their platform, they hope to provide students “with clear information on how to help yourself or a struggling friend.”
In addition to mental health, Gutierrez and Somer plan to increase community spirit through alteration of the orientation program and hope to increase student input in Student Council proceedings.
“My strength I would definitely say is my passion, because I’ve really struggled here like many others and I really care about the student body,” said Somer during the debate. “I’m willing to go the extra mile and put in the effort,” added Gutierrez.
Page and Vale’s ideas included using Out of the Blue as a text in the English department, developing an online video resource for students in chemistry and math classes, introducing a part-time sexual education program, removing an art requirement for new Lowers and supporting further sustainability efforts on campus.
Williams said, “[Clark and I] are incredibly excited to work with [Gutierrez and Somer] in the coming months before the assume the Co-Presidency in September 2014. They have done a fantastic job as student leaders and will certainly make great Co-Presidents. Additionally, we are very proud of the effort Carter and Hanover put forward. They, too, will continue to serve as exemplary role models for their peers.