All the candidates running in the class election were contacted and those that responded were included in the article.
The COVID-19 outbreak has caused numerous events to be canceled. However, one tradition that will continue is class elections. The Class of 2022 will be holding their junior class elections. There is no definite date just yet, but the student council plans to have it on Monday, December 21st, and the winners will be announced after the school day is over.
The Class of 2022 is looking to elect a President, Vice President, Social Media Coordinator, Art Director, Secretary, Treasurer, and two Junior Varieties (JV) Coordinators.
The position of President has four candidates: juniors Jason Ong, Marouane Jaayfer, Nik McGuffie, and the Managing Editor of The Blue and Gold, Julie Huynh.
Juniors Maleena Haq, Sarah Oliveira, and the Head of Local News of The Blue and Gold, Courtney Fitzgerald are running for the role of Vice President.
There are three students running for the Social Media Coordinator position: Becky Tse, Yoji Yonetani, and the Managing Editor of Print and Design of The Blue and Gold, Lauren Mallett.
The Class of 2022 student council has decided to alter some of the roles. Last year the student council held an open interest meeting for anyone that was interested in running for a position. The Class of 2022 Class Advisor, Daniel Jurkowski, explained that “it was all student driven,” adding that “they wanted to change some of the names and the positions that were offered.”
One of the roles that have been altered was the Historian position. Among the student council, an idea was proposed to change the name of the Historian position to Art Director, but according to Jurkowski “the role and the responsibilities have remained the same, just the name is being changed.” Juniors Tony Giech and the Head of Sports News of The Blue and Gold, Lulu Harding, are both running for the position.
The current Class of 2022 Secretary is Christelle Jean and she is the only candidate running for the position. By default, this means that Jean has been re-elected for the secretary position.
There are two candidates running for the position of Treasurer, Sammi Nie and Sophia Kouhail.
The position of JV Coordinators has the most candidates with eight people in the running. Juniors Aiden Thompson, Antonia Bilodeau, Reem Bouachra, Mayada Giha, Jing Ren, Sarah Schneider, Tivian Nguyen, and Maggie Yick are all running for the position.
Unlike in previous years, the Class of 2022 has decided to have JV Coordinators run solo, rather than in pairs. Jurkowski explained that this was not intentional, it was a topic discussed by him and the class officers and they came to the consensus that it would work best that way to have the two positions but have the candidates run individually.
Haq stated that this year’s election is very different especially given “the circumstances that we are facing globally and as a community.” She further explained that the pandemic has made everything feel thrown off, adding that a class election is at least able to make students feel like they have “some control over everything.”
Giha believes that elections “are an opportunity for students to take action and lead their class to success.” She further explained that “having elected leaders is especially important this year in order to work through these obstacles and achieve the goals the class has already set.”
Nie explained that this election has been specifically very crucial due to the fact that it is the Class of 2022’s “last year before senior year which is [a] year of [many] major events.” She also mentioned that everyone has lived the past few months questioning what is to come in the future, and with so much uncertainty, answers have been difficult to come across. Nie expressed that for some people voting and having a say in their future can “give them hope,” adding that “people will vote for the candidate that gives them a feeling of security during these unstable times.”
Thompson expressed that he thinks the election for their junior year will be especially important because “even though [Malden High is] doing online learning [the students are] still have [that] sense of school.”
One of the biggest differences candidates have had to adapt to has been campaigning remotely, and not being able to post flyers around the school. However that has not stopped the candidates from promoting themselves on social media platforms.
Bilodeau mentioned that the candidates “[do not] have that same face to face connection with people in [their] classes, in the halls, or even at lunch anymore.” Bouachra agreed that campaigning remotely is a bit difficult. She mentioned that “having to use social media to its full extent is so tricky as you have to target the right audience and engage them.” Although she did note that “campaigning virtually can also be beneficial since [their] ideas can be more widespread and reach a larger audience.”
To elaborate on that point, Tse stated that she believes that “social media plays a large role in helping advertise. She explained that she thinks getting her campaign out there has been “fairly easier,” adding that nowadays “everyone is going on social media.”
Even before the pandemic hit, the Class of 2022 utilized an online voting platform, which they will be using again this year. Jurkowski explained that everyone was sent an email in the morning with a password in it that they needed in order to place their votes. Another feature in using the online voting system was the fact that he was “able to see live results throughout the day.” He also mentioned that “[this voting] system worked well last year, and we had a big turnout,” as everything ran smoothly.
However Jurkowski noted that turnout this year is a concern of his, as last year he was able to walk around the cafeteria with his chromebook encouraging students to vote, which of course will not be a possibility this year.
Looking back on the class’ first year of fundraising, Jurkowski expressed that the situation is unfortunate but hindrance is “something that [the class is] used to. They are eager and hopeful for their junior year, especially after they were not able to start fundraising until the beginning of their sophomore year, when they officially got their class advisor. After getting a late start, they were again set back by COVID-19, being that their sophomore year was cut short.
Already the Class of 2022 was at a disadvantage in comparison to other classes. Typically at Malden High, each class is able to start fundraising towards the end of their freshman year, which was not the case for the Class of 2022. They were not able to find a class advisor until the Fall of 2019 (their sophomore year), which was also the year that Jurkowski was hired as a gym teacher at Malden High.
Tse stated that with the loss of time, the class has undeniably missed out on many fundraising opportunities but admires the progress and efforts that both the class officers and her fellow classmates have made in the short amount of time that they have had. Giha added to that explaining that initially at the beginning of the self quarantine period, she was doubtful but the “student council showed great initiative,” which makes her confident “that the class will come up with creative ideas for events and raising money.”
Reflecting on the COVID-19 pandemic, Nie expressed that it “has given us as much as it took from us,” further explaining that “it has made [the class officers] become more creative and think outside of the box by forcing us to come up with other sources of revenue.” She added that it has made them more “meticulous about [their] planning,” and caused them to figure out what their priorities and main efforts are.” Despite the hardships, Nie believes that “it has made [them] an incredibly strong class,” and has placed emphasis on the fact that the class “is still together and strong.”
Thompson agreed with Nie stating that [they] are strong enough to get through whatever challenges come [their way]. Haq is staying positive amongst these uncertainties as she explained that there will always be inconveniences that are out of their control, but “it is [their] job to find ways around them and still achieve [their] goals.”
Despite the results of the class election, Jurkowski believes that after being held back from multiple different factors, the class will “[make] the best of the situation,” as the student council is a “super resilient group.”
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly spelled Bouachra's last name.