Our next Stuco president?

Student council president elections are coming up, and we don’t know much about our Presidential candidates yet. The ZIS student body has four choices – Ruby Nwose, Lorenzo Jose Aragon, Wilhelm Bennet, and Aksel Paul. All of them are in grade 11, but have very different messages and approaches to leadership. The Lion’s Journal conducted brief interviews with each candidate in order to help you make a better, more informed decision.

Ruby Nwose: “I’ll be your voice when you can’t be”

Instagram – @ruby_for_president

Their Motivation:

Ruby’s campaign places an emphasis on “helping others and making change” in a way that benefits all ZIS students. 

She stressed that she’s not running for personal gain, but to assure that students are as comfortable as they can be. Through her club (InterAction) she’s already made change in our community, and hopes to do much more. 

“High School is hard, I know, so if I can change it, make it easier, then that’s what I’ll do,” she says. 

Their Message:

“I want to tell people that I’m open – by open I mean that I’m around, I’m here for you,” she says. “It sounds cliche but I’m dead serious.” 

Her campaign’s priority is to be a good listener and a voice for all ZIS students. To her, working on student mental health is also a big part of this. 

“Whether it’s stress, anxiety, depression, or anything else, mental health is something most of us are struggling with in silence.”

Ruby comments that “we’ve danced around the topic in StuCo for a long, long time,” but believes that it’s time to take action. Her plans include mental health workshops and opportunities for students to learn about healthy coping mechanisms. 

“I’m here to listen to you as a president, a peer, or hopefully, as a friend.”

What Sets Them Apart From Other Candidates?

Ruby comments, “my fellow runners are extremely intelligent and awesome people, but there are a few things that set us apart.”

Her experience with StuCo as both grade rep and executive is one of those things. This together with running her own club “means I have huge amounts of experience in leadership and connectivity.”

Connections she’s created with teachers show that “not only will I be able to show and uphold leadership to the extent needed, but I can also find better and more efficient connections between the student and staff bodies.”

Ruby describes herself as “always working to improve our community in as many ways as possible.”

Lorenzo Jose Aragon: “Vote for Aragon and your problems are-a-gone”

Instagram – @father.aragon.for.pope

Their Motivation:

“There’s a constant view of the student council, which is not unfounded, that they don’t really accomplish much other than events,” says Lorenzo.

He wants to run because he believes his two year experience with student council means he knows how things work, and therefore how they can be more efficient. The campaign’s goal is organize student council so they can do much more for both those in the ZIS community and others.

“I think I’d be able to reform a lot of our problems.”

Their Message:

One of his main messages is his goal to improve ZIS’s interactions (in and out of school) and image.

“I think its fair to say the public views us as a bunch of snobbish, privileged kids, and I think we can be more than that”

Another connected priority of his is improving student life.

“At the end of the day, we’re all students and the line between doing and not doing work is just a matter of convenience,” he says.

What Sets Them Apart From Other Candidates?

Although Lorenzo feels he’s “not as sociable or diligent” as the other candidates, his ideas make him an ideal candidate.

“I have a lot of out of the box thinking, which other student council candidates wouldn’t think to capitalize on.”

For example, Lorenzo’s experience with ZIS Cares helped him come up with one of these ideas. He realized could use the division to organize a World Fest-like event for service club, even inviting the local community in order to reach more people.

Wilhelm Bennet: “Real democracy, real choice, and real voice

Instagram – @wilhelm_bennet_stuco_2021

Their Motivation:

Wilhelm’s reason for running is simple – bringing further democracy to StuCo.

He believes that “democratizing the student council process” would greatly benefit the ZIS community by getting people directly involved. The plan he has in mind focuses on conducting popular votes for major decisions in order to give all of the Upper School a voice.  

“Whenever student council is making a big decision, they should have to conduct a referendum,” he says.

Their Message:

The candidate claims to have no set goals in mind because he’d like to leave those decisions up to students.

He asserts, “if the community doesn’t want me to do something, obviously I wouldn’t do it.”

According to Wilhelm, if ZIS wants people to care about the school and its issues, all students need to be involved in decision making.

What Sets Them Apart From Other Candidates?

“What I see as my overall strength is that I have one big thing I’m constantly trying to push for,” Wilhelm comments.

He believes what separates him from the others is his clear goal of changing the process of student council, whereas the other candidates seek to improve the pre-existing system.

“I want to make sure the student body has a voice.”

Aksel Paul: “First you get the money then you get the power”

Instagram – @mr.paul_fo_prez

Their Motivation:

Aksel expressed interest in the Student Body President position for a variety of reasons, but mainly his positive experiences in the student council.

He’s been both grade representative and executive and “really enjoyed both years”. Having been in student leadership, he explains that he understands how it works and believes he can make “a student council that’s a lot more effective than previous years.”

“A lot of things are overlooked [by StuCo], and I think I can capitalize on them.”

Their Message:

Because of COVID, Aksel feels “its even more important than before for StuCo to make student life more enjoyable.”

Sports, school-wide events, and “fun infrastructure” are vital to achieving his goal. He also emphasizes “school spirit”.

“Being a proactive student council is important.”

What Sets Them Apart From Other Candidates?

“We’ve got a really wide range of candidates,” comments Aksel, “but I’m really outgoing and I’m willing to try things some people consider ludicrous or ridiculous.”

He believes his strength is that nothing is off the table for him – every opportunity should be seized “no matter how small they are.”

“Part of my character is that I’m willing to try anything.”

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