The polls open: students campaign for representative to school board position

One of the important events at ETHS in the upcoming weeks is the Student Representative campaign. Every year, a few students choose to run for the position of Student Representative to the School Board (student rep), which will be decided by the campaigns and elections of the coming weeks.

The student rep is a position that is a part of Student Union at ETHS, which is a volunteer group of students dedicated to making significant changes for the better at ETHS. The student rep is in charge of organizing and presiding over Student Union, as well as being a non-voting member of the District 202 School Board. 

The election process to become the student rep is not an easy one. In mid-April, students will start hearing reminders on the announcements about how those who are interested can campaign for the position. That involves going to the Student Activities Office in the Hub, where they must obtain a petition and a job description. 

Following that, they will have a week to go around the school with their petition and try to get as many signatures as possible from their peers. Once that has been completed, candidates must sign an agreement acknowledging the responsibilities of the role. In the weeks after that, candidates will campaign and work to get their voices heard around the school. The exact timeframe and dates for the campaign have not been decided yet, but students will have ample opportunity to get their ideas out to the larger student body, whether it is through speeches at lunch or through social media. 

From late April to early May, students will be able to vote online through MyETHS for the person they would like to represent them on the D202 school board. Students should base their vote off of which representative best represents the hopes they have for ETHS.

“My hope for the future of ETHS is that students will not only be advocated for better at school, but that, uniformly, they’ll see more respect from adults in the building. This would lead to a healthier learning environment for everyone, as well as a safer one. Ultimately, this position means getting a seat at the table, and I intend to use this opportunity to seek the kind of results that students have been talking about for years by consistently and tirelessly working together with the Student Union, greater student body, ETHS administration, school board and other community leaders,” junior and student rep candidate Sophie Brown explained.

The student rep has two main responsibilities, one of which is to lead Student Union. 

“As President of Student Union, they’re responsible for helping to plan our meetings, organize those meetings, and then to help us navigate and follow through when we come together and meet,” Student Union sponsor and history teacher Michael Pond explained.

As sponsor of Student Union, it is Pond’s job to empower students to advocate for changes they would like to see implemented at ETHS.

The second facet of the student rep’s job is acting as a bridge between the students and the school board. 

“They represent the student body at school board meetings.  So they’ll attend those monthly school board meetings, and they’ll also have time at those meetings to share out student concerns, what they’ve been hearing, things like that. They’re also responsible for bringing that information from the school board meetings to the broader student body as well to let people know what’s going on in our school community,” Pond said. 

There is no prerequisite for announcing candidacy for student rep, except that you must be an rising junior or senior to run. Although the student rep is the leader of the Student Union, being a part of the club before the campaign is not a requirement to run.

“Our current Student Representative to the School Board, Barbara Tomaradze, is a junior. She did not have any prior experience with Student Union before running. Same with Carmiya Bady, who ran a couple of years ago. So, sometimes, we have students from Student Union who choose to run and sometimes we don’t, but there’s no requirement that you have prior experience to run,” explained Pond. 

Being a Student Representative to the School Board is not an easy job, and there are many qualities that help in being the best fit for the position. 

“You have to be able to get your message out there, if you’re running for Student Representative to the School Board,” explained Pond. “You have to be able to ensure that your message is reaching thousands of other students. And hopefully you’re connecting with them in different spaces such as lunch areas, the Hub, or other spaces where people spend time. And [you have to be willing] to get out of your comfort zone.”

As president and leader of Student Union, the student rep has to make sure that everything related to Student Union is running smoothly. That includes recruiting new members. Even though Student Union has lots of dedicated volunteers, there is always room for more. 

“Currently, Student Union is looking for more of the underclassmen to join their ranks. We really would like to grow the number of freshmen and sophomores, especially freshmen, in Student Union, because they’re the ones who are going to be here the longest, and so the decisions that are made are going to have the biggest impact on them,” said Pond.

It is vital that the younger students have a means to learn about the possibility of being a member of Student Union, and a lot of that awareness will be spread by all the candidates vying for the position of student rep. In the coming weeks, when all the candidates are working to spread the word about what they want to accomplish and why, other members of the ETHS community will inevitably learn about the major impact they can have as a part of Student Union, and maybe even Student Representative to the School Board.

Pond acknowledged that in coming out of a pandemic, it is difficult to find out about opportunities to improve the school and encouraged anyone who was interested to join Student Union and help make change at ETHS.

“If you’re thinking about running for student [you should] really try to talk to people who you don’t know,” Pond concluded. “That way you’re truly going to be representative of the broader student body, which I think our Student Representatives have done a pretty good job of historically.”