The speaker of the school is one of the most lauded positions on campus. It’s an opportunity to not only run the assemblies at the Upper School every Tuesday morning but more importantly, it’s an opportunity to build a community and establish the tone and tenor for the entire school year as the head of the student government. Students running for speaker have served in the student government in some capacity, and they seek to take on more responsibility in the school during their senior year. I
Instead of presenting in front of the students during an assembly, this past Wednesday night Jacqui Quellette, the current speaker, hosted and moderated a Zoom virtual town hall with the faculty and the three candidates running for the position: Mike DeMio, Sloan Duvall, and Eden Neshanti who answered several questions that were posed in the online chat. Students will listen to the recording of the meeting in their advisee meetings on Thursday and vote on their choice.
The first question posed was how the three candidates would work with less represented groups on campus. All three candidates expressed the importance of building a community that is welcoming of all students regardless of their race, creed, or sexual orientation. Duvall mentioned that she already worked with various clubs and believes in strong interclub activities to bring the disparate groups together. Neshanti concurred with Duvall and said that the more community engagement the students have with one another the stronger the KO community will become. DeMio said that even if students did not self-identify with a minority group that one should attend those meetings as well to understand different perspectives on campus.
The three candidates were polished in their responses to the question of what qualities they would bring to the position as speaker. Neshanti believes the speaker should be inspirational and ever since he was in Middle School he desired to be that person. DeMio said, "Everywhere you go you have to be on top of your game. You've got to be nice, got to be respectful and most of all you have to bring energy and positivity to every single meeting and make assemblies as amazing as they can be." Duvall enumerated the three qualities she possesses as a student council member this year including her hard work, commitment, and school spirit. She referred to staying up late to create decorations for the dances and sending over 163 emails to faculty and staff regarding student council activities to make certain an event happened without a hitch.
“I love KO. It’s one of my favorite places in the world. I know that’s weird to say about a place that forces you to take chemistry test or final exams, but it truly is. If this unbelievable experience that we are in right now has taught us anything is that we cannot afford to waste a minute of our time at KO,” Duvall said.
All of the candidates believe that the assemblies could be improved by recognizing the accomplishments of more students, editing the number of announcements, doubling down on the “Minute to Win It” challenges.
No matter who is selected for the position, the school will be represented by a very dedicated role model for the rest of the school who will bring their positivity and commitment to the job.