2021-2022 Student Body President Candidate Statements

The Dig Editors

Alex Colleran
Why do I want to run for Student body President? All my life and throughout my OES career, I have always looked up to the upper schoolers of OES. From the beginning, in kindergarten, I saw the upper school as a community where I would be able to explore my passions and learn more about what it means to be an adult. I always looked up the students and their many accomplishments, whether it be dominating performances in the sports world, plays that would engage and interest me, or methods of artwork that I could not wait to try out myself. However,  the one thing that most excited me was the sense of community and inclusion that I could sense, even as a child. Through the pandemic, I felt as though it was extremely difficult for the Upper School community to maintain this sense of connectivity and inclusion. So, as we start to return to normal life, I think that the OES upper school needs a natural leader who has what’s best for their community in mind. As your Student Body President, my first goal would be to find new and innovative ways to bring our community together. One of the most important aspects of my campaign is that I would ensure that our community is heard by creating new ways for our community members to express their opinions and thoughts. I hope that you will consider me as a candidate for Student Body President.

YooJin (Rasley) Lim
Working with Student Government for the past 3 years has helped me develop my leadership and communication skills. I learned how to communicate with peers and teachers and take everyone’s opinion into consideration. Through various projects such as prom, homecoming, homework policy, period project, and letter translation, I also learned how much passion and determination it takes to plan and execute a project. With all those skills that I have learned by interacting with various people in and outside of Student Government, I can now say that I am ready to represent our student body. Not only my experience in Student Government, but also my engagement in various school related activities has helped me grow as a leader. Though COVID19 has prevented me from meeting the new students, I was able to interact and meet with many peers by actively participating in clubs and activities, which helped me learn more about our student body in OES. As a student body president, I will work on creating a space that everyone feels included and welcomed, by fighting racism and other barriers that disconnect OES from students.

Mimi Papathanasopoulos
Hey Oesians – My name is Mimi Papathanasopoulos (I know, you won’t forget that last name). I am running for Student Body President. Wherever you are, however you connect with OES right now, I want to champion you and your aspirations for your time at OES. As a dorm student, OES is home sweet home to me. I love waking up in the morning to an environment where each individual is passionate, creative, eager to grow. Collectively, we are a powerhouse. From my experience on Honor Council, participation in activities, and my interactions with all of you, I feel a strong desire to foster this sense of home for all of us by advocating for the continuous betterment of our community.  I am really looking forward to the elections. They are a great opportunity to gather community momentum as we find our feet anew on campus. As student body president, I will offer my time and heart to you because you deserve to be celebrated and love where you learn.

Kole Pulley
My ambition to be Student Body President stems from my personal desire to be a force for positive change in my community and the world. I want to make sure every student at our school is comfortable on campus, satisfied with the curriculum, and able to make a difference in the lives of others. The position of President would not be out of my scope, but rather the culmination of my leadership experience thus far in High School. I am currently the Junior representative for Honor Council, and have been a youth leader in my Boy Scout troop for almost two and a half cumulative years.  
Ellie RiserThe Student Body president has always been a model student, someone who seemingly has it all together, somebody good at playing a part. I’m tired of that. We need a high school student, a genuine representative of the student body, not an exception. I’ve been known as the loud one, the annoying one, it’s a layer I haven’t been able to shed since middle school. I feel that push back constantly. But here’s the thing—I’m running to actually bring up issues beyond the surface and am fully prepared to ruffle some feathers in the process to better life for OES upper schoolers.  First of all, we need to create opportunities to unpack social issues at our school. Because plenty exist, but I’ve noticed students don’t feel they can talk to administration about the environment created socially on a regular basis. Second, I want more than a mandatory meeting that nobody wants to attend about social justice every month. I want to meet kids from other schools more than just once a year at Culture Shock. I want to actually look forward to bonding with my peers. We need to understand the dynamics that hold us back from enjoying our time together.I hope that next year, if it’s not me, we find a president who is dedicated to truly looking into how the OES experience can be changed for the better. Somebody running to bring honesty back to the OES community.

Patrick Ruoff
Hello upper school students, my name is Patrick Ruoff and I am excited to run for student body president. I have been at OES since kindergarten and have had a lot of fun times here. My main goal as student body president will be to make gathering lots of fun, as this is the time that you will see me in action the most. For the freshman who have yet to experience gathering, it is a time about 3-4 times a week lead by the student body president where the whole school meets during the day for about 30 minutes and people make announcements and whole school activities occur. This is a time that I have always enjoyed during my time in the highschool and I hope to make it as entertaining as possible while still allowing for important information to be shared with the school. I am so happy to be back on campus with everybody for the remainder of this year and I am excited for next year to see the return of community events like the OES plays and musicals, massive crowds at sporting matches, Midwinter Madness, gathering, and many others. Let’s have some fun next year! Patrick Ruoff. 

Jonathan Segal
Hello Upper School, I am Jonathan Segal and I am running for student body president. When I started at OES, I was about 4’8” with ears that I hadn’t quite grown into. Since then, I’ve spent countless hours both on the field and in classrooms. I’ve sat through hundreds of gatherings, sunk a half court shot at Midwinter Madness, and survived the sophomore backpacking trip. I’ve broken a thumb, a toe, and two ribs on OES facilities. This school has shaped me in more w/ays than I can count, and I can truly say I do not know who I would be without my OES experience. After two years on Community Board and a year on Policy Board, I understand the ins and outs of Student Government. I’ve learnt the ropes from Simran, Alexa, Charlie, and, of course, Tom Handel, and I feel that I have the ability to bring OES together again after a year apart. I believe that OES’s true value lies in its community: the entire upper school is connected as one, and I think that this aspect has been lost in the past year. Through community events, daily interactions, and by simply being a voice for the student body, I want to bring everyone back together. I am realistic about how much I can change; rather than overexaggerate the power of the student body president, I can only promise to be an honest resource and an advocate for all. 

Amelia Ulmer
Hi everyone, my name is Amelia Ulmer and I am running for Student Body President.   I think we can all agree that last year was one of the strangest school years that we have experienced. As hard as the year was, however, I also think that it was an opportunity for us -an opportunity to step back and to see things from a new perspective. For this reason, I think that next year is crucial as we decide how we, as a community, move forward. We should not miss the opportunity to learn from what we have experienced — to learn about what is important to us and must be valued, and what is less important and can be changed. If elected your Student Body President, I will work hard to ensure that we not just go back to school as normal, but that we learn from this unique time in our school life. I will work hard to strengthen our student community, building from the lessons we have learned this year. I will work hard to make sure that your point of view is heard and that the changes we are sure to face next year take into account your opinions.  This OES community is very important to me. I think we have a unique opportunity in front of us right now. I am excited to do all I can as your Student Body President to make us stronger as we move forward.  

Catherine Zhu
To be honest, it’s hard for me to think of major areas that I’d fix as president. Simply looking at a few Dig articles shows a student body that is passionate and diverse. My goal as president is to empower more students to engage with the world around us, in a time of rapid change. Climate change is an existential crisis facing our generation today and it’s a very multifaceted problem. My direction for OES is to utilize our diverse interests to find our unique connections with our environment. I’ve been part of the debate team for three years and I’ve learned so much about communication and responsibility as a member. Even more, my involvement with the debate community has shown me the power and advocacy skills of high schoolers when given the opportunity to examine the world. My hope is to introduce student led seminars and encourage participation in climate youth movements. Ultimately though, I aim to be approachable so any student can talk with me about their ideas. I will admit that I have little experience in student leadership, but that’s a quality I share with a lot of Aardvarks, which means I know how it feels to sometimes think I’m not in a position to propose ideas. But the diversity in OES is undeniable, and not hearing all those student voices is a loss for all of us. I hope to kindle those interests into agency, so everyone can make their footprint in the larger society.