- Just 3 weeks ago, we were exuberantly scratching our crosses in little blank boxes, hoping to build a bright new future for VJ through the 35th Students’ Council. Our trust, our hopes, our future, were placed in the hands of select nominees. Now, in order to lead the student council, comes another election to determine the Student Council President and Vice President.
It will be tough to follow the legacy of Tricia and Jiwon, but these candidates certainly do have the potential. Being the cream of the crop Aaron, Bhavana, Rachel and Charisse have their work set out for them.
Apart from going through rigorous internal voting, teacher interviews and another campaign, two of them are about to face a whole new set of responsibilities and expectations. With the prospect of being the top in VJC’s leadership hierarchy looming on the horizon, we decided to sit down and discuss their thoughts on this exciting future.
“I will be your representative in Student’s Council”
It takes great courage to put yourself into the public’s eye to run for elected office. It takes even greater courage to publicly highlight the problems of the status quo and propose solutions to them, leaving them up for public scrutiny and criticism.
Yet, despite the many potentials of pitfalls of doing so, the campaign platform of Aaron Lai from 18A11 is based upon the premise of greater engagement with the student population by the Students’ Council and the greater involvement of students in the decision making process.
To him, it is imperative that the Students’ Council listens to the opinions and the beliefs of the student population when making decisions. To achieve that, he believes strongly in having school-wide conversations about the issues regarding that matter. This, he passionately argued, is necessary so as to ensure initiatives pushed by the Students’ Council are as relatable and authentic to the student population as possible.
As for the legacy he wishes to leave behind, he wants to be remembered as the President who had led the Student’s Council by making a “bold and passionate attempt in reaching out to the student population in order to make VJ our second home. He wants to be remembered for making VJ a more conducive place to study as well as to forge new friendships.
In order to achieve this, he proposes that in addition to the current feedback systems, a hashtag should be produced so as to expand the Students’ Council reach and enhance the Students’ Council’s efforts to engage with the student population. While some may deem this proposed measure to be relatively minor, it is indisputable that such an initiative is a step in the right decision.
Regardless of the outcome on Monday, it is undeniable that the ideas he champions in his campaign will remain in the public conversation long after this election. As for Aaron himself, he promises not to be defeated and will continue to give his all for the benefit of the community no matter the result.
Nervous. Anxious. Excited. Those were the 3 emotions that Bhavana, from 18S37, associated with participating in the SC presidential elections campaign that had been going on throughout the week. While acknowledging the high levels of commitment and responsibility that would come with being the president of the Student’s Council, Bhavana is thrilled to have a chance to embark on the fulfilling journey of being the president of Student’s Council. She looks forward to it as it will allow her to grow – not only as a leader, but as a person as well.
With her vision of creating a more supportive environment and a place where Victorians are able to help each other readily, Bhavana is ready to make a change to VJC. Her ideas include having a platform where Victorians can start doing small acts of kindness (for instance a challenge on Victorian Verve, like help a friend) as well as planning platforms where seniors and juniors can bond to allow seniors to share their experience with juniors and help with academic or extracurricular work. Through her thoughtful ideas, Bhavana hopes that her ideas would be able to become part of Victorians’ daily routine and that it would help foster a mindset of ‘other-centredness’. With such high ambition, it is no wonder why Bhavana was chosen to be one of the four nominees for the role of president.
Graciousness is also another quality of Bhavana, where she has stated that she wouldn’t be too greatly upset if she were not to be voted to become president or vice-president, as she still feels she can have a great impact as a regular student councillor.
Overall, Bhavana is a strong competitor for the position of president and Victorians should consider her seriously. Her last few words to the Victorian population: “Please be patient with us so that we can give you work of top quality!”
“To me (the role of President of Student’s Council) is more than just a position”
A leader from start to end, Rachel Lee from 18S30 offers her vast experiences in holding leadership positions to VJC. This has given her a unique leadership style as well as her ability to make rational decisions in trying times which she hopes would help her serve the Victorian community better as President of the Students’ Council.
When asked about her first actions as President, she confidently explained that her first priority would be to “get our (the Students’ Council’s) vision and state our (the Students’ Council’s) general direction” before “finding the main points of improvements that our school can make” and planning tangible steps to address them. This is ensure that the Students’ Council would remain in sync with each other so as to bring about greater benefits for the student population. Her priorities demonstrate her pragmatic approach to leadership as well as her acute awareness of its requirements which are undoubtedly influenced by her many years in leadership positions. These are qualities she would undoubtedly bring to the table should the results on Monday go her favour.
If elected to be the president of Student’s Council, Rachel expresses her desire for the Victorian spirit to continue and grow stronger because “this (the Victorian Spirit) is something really really precious and I hope none of us are taking it for granted because the Victorian Spirit we have has been passed down from previous batches 34 years ago and it’s something we really need to carry on.”. Further stressing on the highly lauded Victorian Spirit, Rachel hopes that under her leadership as one council, the Student’s Council would be able to find different ways to define the Victorian Spirit.
Despite her fate being decided only on Monday, Rachel’s optimism indicates a bright future for her as well as that of the school. She just hopes that Victorians would vote based on their own assessment of the candidates and not be overly influenced by that of the people around them. Regardless of Monday’s results, she believes that the President, whoever he or she may be, will do well and is excited to see VJ under his or her stewardship. As for herself, no matter the outcome,she promises to continue to serve the school and support the President to the best of her abilities so as to ensure that the future of VJ would be brighter than it ever was before.
“The opportunity to give back and serve the school is something that I feel is an absolute honour to have”
Stemming from her passion for leadership and her experience exceeding her expectations in the short few months so far, Charisse Peh of 18S36 is honoured to run for Student Council President. Citing VJC as her “dream school”, Charisse presents an original vision of fostering and building the Victorian Spirit. Her noble vision of realising a “community where support and care and compassion for each other can be felt” is admirable. Elaborating on her idea, she hoped that “everyone will have a sense of pride and a sense of belonging to Victoria”. While changing people’s feelings may seem like a daunting task, Charisse is unfazed. She staunchly reiterated her unwavering concern for the students, hoping that no one would regret their time in VJC.
If she was elected as Students’ Council President, or Vice President, top of her list would be the feedback system. Detailing her plans, her approach is two-fold: “making the feedback system a little bit more known to the school, as well as make it easier for Victorians to give their feedback”. Speaking on behalf of the 35th Students’ Council, Charisse adds that they “want to come up with a few more guidelines to receive more constructive feedback, so [they] can use the input more effectively to serve the school”. She ended off proudly reaffirming that it “is something as the 35th batch we feel strongly about”.
Reassuringly, Charisse’s passion and drive will stay strong even if not elected. She promised to do her best to serve the school because “that was [her] purpose for joining student council in the first place”. On a positive and encouraging note, Charisse complimented the other nominees, pledging her “ fullest support to those who were elected”. In line with her bid to create a more compassionate and caring environment, Charisse sent a heartfelt message of love to the other nominees, noting that they are “friends who [she sees] a lot of potential in”.
In light of the wonderful ideas and terrific leadership skills all four nominees bring to the table, we would like to wish them all the best for their future endeavours. In spite of the results, one can be sure all four individuals are heralds for a brighter future for VJC. We urge all to keep an eye out for them and the many changes they are about to bring. Good luck!
Muhammad Dzakir B Rafi, 18S52
Wang Zi-Ming, 18S33
Poh Yee Hsien Jovan, 18A11