When the Class of 2013 looks back on its senior year at Stuyvesant 30 years from now, there’s no doubt that right after finding out about college acceptances, SING!, prom, and their keynote graduation speaker will most stand out in their memories. The Student Union senior caucus has the massive responsibility of helping organize each of these milestones in a Stuyvesant student’s career. The Editorial Board believes that juniors Jennifer Zhou and Erica Chan are the best candidates to fulfill the many roles that the senior caucus entails and to make sure that next year’s senior class has the most memorable experience possible.
Zhou and Chan have both had experience and success in each of the Class of 2013’s three caucuses so far. As the freshman class president, Zhou brought back the Soph-Frosh Semi-Formal, initiated a creative fundraising event called Popsicle Day, and effectively communicated with the freshman class through a grade-wide Facebook page—providing it with an outlet to address its many first-year concerns. Chan was the vice president of her sophomore class and most notably created a Sophomore Advisory Council that expanded the reach of her caucus. Though the Soph-Frosh Semi-Formal never panned out after she began planning it in late April, she has learned from her mistakes, and that slip-up has inspired many of “Jenniferica’s” policies in their agenda for senior caucus.
Working together as the junior president and vice president, Zhou and Chan have shown their dedication to working for their classmates since September. Not only have they have kept the junior class well-informed about all major events through a Facebook group, but they’ve given the juniors decision-making power regarding college trips and an end-of-the-year celebration through a Junior Advisory Council and the distribution of homeroom surveys. In addition to having organized three successful college trips with some of the visited colleges having been chosen by the juniors themselves, Zhou and Chan have revived Junior Prom. After 2011’s Junior Prom put the school thousands of dollars in debt, the administration was hesitant to approve another one that less than a quarter of the junior class would attend. But after making multiple visits to Principal Stanley Teitel’s office and then calling 30 boat companies in order to ensure that they had the lowest possible price, Zhou and Chan’s persistence led to Junior Prom’s approval with a lower price than in years past. With the creative idea to hold a contest that will award free tickets to the couple with the best proposal, voted on by juniors, as well as advertising throughout Facebook and in the school, they are looking to improve the reputation of Junior Prom and encourage more ticket sales.
Their plans for senior caucus are just as innovative. Senior spirit days are among the best days at Stuyvesant—when upper and underclassmen alike can marvel at the imaginative costumes that the seniors put together. However, it’s problematic when the seniors themselves don’t find out about the spirit days until the night before or don’t find out at all. Zhou and Chan plan to have a set day for every senior event (i.e., the first Friday of every month), in order to avoid confusion, and plan on using homeroom surveys to pick the day itself. They also plan on beginning SING! preparation early in the school year and starting to narrow down graduation speakers early in the year to avoid a potential slip-up. Lastly, their most ambitious idea is to negotiate with the administration to allow only seniors to leave the building during their free periods as a sort of test run or experiment. Because they have formed relationships over three years in the Student Union through open communication with Teitel and Coordinator of Student Activities Lisa Weinwurm, talking with the administration about this plan will go much more smoothly.
The other candidates, George Ding and Ellie Shanahan, are running on a very similar platform, but have less experience with student government and less concrete ideas of what they plan to do when they take office. They have various new policies like securing discounts for seniors planning trips over spring break as well as giving seniors a way to sign out of school to take college tours, but little to back them up with. According to Shanahan, their main talents that set them apart from Zhou and Chan are that she and Ding are “approachable” and that Ding is “awesome at Photoshop.” And though they plan to be assertive with the administration in order to enact their policies, they don’t have the advantage of already having established relationships with Teitel or Weinwurm.
Zhou and Chan’s significant experience, including their knowledge of the inner workings of the Student Union and their relationships with various members of the administration, will help make their transition into their senior caucus roles a quick one. The dedication and leadership they’ve shown through three years of representing their class will give the Class of 2013 a memorable senior year.