The candidate for Student Body Vice President is Axel Barrera and the candidate for Secretary is Lauren Eggleston. Both are running unopposed. Here is more about why they want to be members of student government.

Axel Barrera

1. Why do you want to be a Student Body Officer of the Senior class?

I see how Piotr took the role this year and how he contributed to each PAC meeting and I want to do the same. I want to make more of a difference in Saint Joe policies and change how we do things for the better.

2. What would make you an asset to the Senior Class?  What are your gifts, strengths and leadership qualities?

I think I’m a good people-person and can get along with and talk to other students very easily. I feel like I can communicate very well and I’m a good listener so if people have suggestions for the school I can relay the message well to PAC and the full government.

3. Describe your involvement in other extra-curricular activities.

With baseball as one of the upperclassmen you have to set an example, lay down the traditions, and show them how to do things. They have questions and I can answer those questions and concerns they have. Same thing with tennis.

4. What do you think the role of an officer or representative at Saint Joe should look like? How do you see yourself contributing to this leadership team?

Someone who listens to the student body and wants the best for the class and school. I see myself being a good listener and taking the best ideas for the school and it’s policies and with the help of the President we can discuss what is best for the school.

Lauren Eggleston

1. Why do you want to be a Student Body Officer of the Senior class?

To be quite honest, I initially debated quite a bit over whether I really wanted to run for this position. Executive Secretary is a lot of responsibility, a lot of meeting-attending, basically just a lot MORE than previous positions I’ve held. 

However, if there’s something I’ve learned through the other positions I’ve held in Student Council– twice as secretary and once as a rep– it’s the importance of knowing my position/ role in a group. I’ve been in Student Council for the past three years, and, as it turns out, being a secretary in the Student Council capacity is something I’m really good at. To me, a secretary is someone who compiles information and distributes it to the people who need it to do their own jobs. They’re the person who maybe can’t fix your problem or come up with a solution to it themself, but who definitely knows where to send you to find someone who DOES know how to fix your problem. It’s not the most glamorous or flashy job, but it’s still an important role for making sure all the members of a team are well-prepared for their own jobs, and it’s a role I would be honored to fill. 

In short, collecting, organizing, and distributing information is a talent I’ve honed and am well-equipped to use for the good of Student Council and the students at St. Joe. Even if this position is a lot more responsibility and effort than previous positions I’ve held, I know I’m up to the task and am more than capable of helping keep our Student Council functional. This, coupled with my innate desire to serve our students with the talents I have, culminates in my decision to run for the Executive Secretary position.

2. What would make you an asset to the Senior Class?  What are your gifts, strengths and leadership qualities?

I think this is where I’m supposed to tell you about how organized I am, or how I color code all my folders or something, so that neat notes == automatic secretary, but the fact of the matter is that I have severe ADHD which was only diagnosed recently, so organization isn’t really in the cards for me. However, I also don’t think “well-organized and takes notes” is the only way to be a secretary/ where a secretary’s potential characteristics end. 

Yes, I can take notes and collect information to distribute to others, but I also know how to use/ apply that information, a strength I use frequently. For example, when things go wrong– as they inevitably do in group situations– I can often quickly discern both which instructions to give and who to give the instructions to in order to solve the problem. Because of my information-gathering and my knowledge of the situation and my team/ group I know who needs to do what to both resolve the issue and keep people calm through the moments of stress and chaos.  

Other side effects of my ADHD that have ended up being strengths and qualities useful to the secretarial position include how I have a tendency to be over-prepared for everything, as well as my deep need to write everything down. When doing a task or going to perform a job, I know I’ve probably forgotten something or I’m GOING to forget something, so I bring extras of everything and write down lists of materials anyone doing the task along with me should bring as well. In this way, I not only cover for my own weaknesses, but also provide for teammates who’ve forgotten materials or supplies themselves, or who would’ve forgotten, had I not reminded them. 

Additionally, I don’t often understand/ comprehend things the first time I hear them, either because of how my brain takes an extra bit of time to process auditory information or because I just don’t understand what’s happening. For this reason, I end up asking lots of clarifying questions. I’m not scared of my own gaps in knowledge, and I’m not scared to seem uninformed if I don’t know something. I know that if I don’t know something or if I get scared to ask a question, this will result in other people not having the knowledge they need to do their jobs, and this prompts me to do my very best to get as much supplementary information as possible. Therefore, not only is my own knowledge about a task or event more complete, but the knowledge of everybody who will receive that knowledge from me/ was around me while it was explained becomes more complete too. 

Finally, I am a huge supporter of knowing your own limits and enforcing those with the people around you. Rest and breaks are massively, MASSIVELY important to both physical and mental health, and part of being a leader of any kind is modeling healthy behavior to those who might follow your example. In this way, you could say that one of my strengths/ leadership qualities is simply found in my love of napping. I always make a point to encourage anybody in a group with me to take time for themselves and to be unafraid to set a boundary with the group regarding their availability. 

3. What do you think the role of an officer or representative at Saint Joe should look like? How do you see yourself contributing to this leadership team?

As I said in an earlier question, I know there are certain roles that I can fit ideally with the privileges and strengths at my disposal. Similarly, that’s how I think the role of any officer or representative at Saint Joe should work– not necessarily by fitting a stereotype for that leadership position, but by knowing their specific strengths and using them in the best way possible to accomplish the responsibilities they’ve been tasked with. 

I’ve been secretary for various clubs and offices, St Joe related and not, and the secretarial role is simply a niche I’ve grown to fill really well. Sometimes the thing you’re best at is just getting people to where they need to go, not necessarily doing everything yourself. I see myself in that too, as the person who can direct you to what to do or supply you for what you’re doing, but not necessarily the person who can fix everything for you themself. To me, this is what being Executive Secretary would look like.

4. What do you believe are the biggest challenges facing the students at our school today?

The marginalized students at St. Joe will always face the brunt of our ill-informed or ill-thought-out policies and decisions. Inattentiveness to or ignorance of the struggles of these students is where I see the greatest challenge to the continued well-being of our students. 

Because, although the primary objective of a school is to teach students and help them prepare for the future, if the policies created by or the behaviors enabled by the school create such a toxic learning environment as to be disruptive or harmful to students, then the policies and their backing arguments ought to be reexamined and evaluated by what’s in the best interest to the safety and well-being of students, not necessarily to an external standard. This might seem an opaque or noncommittal answer, but, when put in the context of, say, students of color, or LGBTQ+ students, I think it’s clear what I mean. 

Of course, it’s debatable how much one Executive Secretary really can do, but, as someone who may soon have a regular seat at the Principal’s Advisory Council (PAC) meetings, it feels important to mention the challenges I see our student body facing and the issues I would likely bring up in future PAC meetings. Of course, I’m always open to hearing about other issues/ challenges from students themselves, but this is simply a set of challenges I’ve already identified and I’m already passionate about.