Policy Board Nomination Statements

Policy Board Candidates

10th Grade

Nathan Bender

OES is a truly special place, and many of my greatest friends and memories come from this school. However, like any other school, OES has its faults. I, along with many other people I know, have spent many hours discussing various parts of the OES experience we’d like to see improved, and I feel that the most important contribution I can make to our community is bringing those issues to Policy Board. So, I did a quick public opinion poll and have created a three point plan. First, StuCo and PoBo remain disconnected from the Student Body. I’m sure everyone has either heard or said the common refrain, “What does PoBo do again?” If elected, I would advocate for a weekly email detailing what PoBo discussed that week in order to keep the Student Body updated, putting an end to the refrain and holding PoBo accountable. Second, for a school that prides itself on its diversity and commitment to inclusion, we need to do a better job supporting various religious and cultural beliefs. While modifying the school calendar may not be within PoBo’s scope, I would do my best to ensure that religious and cultural holidays are test-free days. That way, students of all backgrounds can feel free to spend the day celebrating or worshipping without the stress of a missed test on their mind. Finally, by popular demand, I would dedicate myself to the return of chocolate milk—provided the rest of StuCo doesn’t get there first.

Nina Kaiser

I have been at OES for nine years now. During the past year, I have had the pleasure to serve on Policy Board in the hopes of making and implementing changes within this school. I spent time learning the ropes and noting the most effective ways to carry out ideas that properly aid the student body. I have had the opportunity to structure and participate in student roundtables, hear the opinions of teachers, interview our custodial staff, learn about school budget, and discuss school policies such as electoral procedure and service learning. Most importantly, I have been able to learn from upperclassmen and build a picture of how to best operate on PoBo. I feel that after a year of dedication to the board, I am in the best position to design and implement the changes you wish to see. I believe the most important trait of an effective school government is its ability to form bridges between students and the administrative staff, and, if elected, I plan to focus my efforts on heightening communication. In my experience, misunderstandings are often the greatest hindrance to progress, which is why I would like to minimize them as much as possible. My many years at OES and time on Policy Board has set me up to do so. I would love to continue to be your representative for the coming year so that I can further better school policies in terms of how you wish to see them. Thank you!

Margot Kitzis

I am running for policy board as a new grade representative. I have attended OES for 7 years now and have learned quite a bit about our OES community over the years. 

I am an active community member who sees both the good and bad within the systems we have in place. My goal if I were to be elected as your grade representative would be to listen to each one of you and find out what we as a community value most. I find it most important to come together as a school and hear each other out in order to improve the daily lives of us as OES students. I am looking forward to collaborating with my classmates, the OES faculty and staff, and the rest of Policy Board while working towards creating and improving our school practices and policies. Collaboration is something I both value deeply and find myself to be good at. With that said, collaborating with much of our school community to implement policies that we as a student body would all benefit from is something I would love to be a part of.

If I were to be elected as a part of the policy board representing the class of 2025, I would bring in many of my ideas along with the ideas of you all as your representative. 

Irene Wu

When I first joined the Policy Board, I only had a vague idea about PoBo. Honestly, I didn’t know much about it. It was a brand new experience for me as I had never joined a student council before. However, I became increasingly attached to PoBo as soon as the activity started. I managed projects like changing the cold lunches to hot ones, bringing back the printer privilege to students, etc. To implement the new policies or changes to our school, I set up meetings with teachers and designed posters of directions and precautions. During the process, I felt so driven that every effort I made was to improve our community. 

Furthermore, I collaborated with Claire to set up an activity during the advisory time about name and identity to help promote the connections among students. Under the influence of PoBo, students of different cultural backgrounds became a blended family, and good relationships developed.

As an international student, I consider OES my home in the United States. I care about it and want to serve the community better. Therefore, I am highly motivated to keep running for Policy Board. In addition to advocating for positive changes, I also want to guide more students, mostly freshman students, to join PoBo, specifically informing them about the role we play in the school and what things we are focusing on. Next year, I expect to connect more with my fellow students and OES faculty. Together, we can make OES a stronger community.

11th Grade

Will Cohen

I have no qualifications, but given that I do not know who are current representatives are, I feel I will do a better job of representing our community than they have. 

I have two main aims: 

– To lobby for Honors English and History courses so there are high-level classes for more humanities oriented students, 

-And to work with local charities and foundations to create more opportunities for students to volunteer and help the greater Portland community (and thus more opportunities to get service hours). 

Although these ideas may be unrealistic (especially the former), I will still try my best to enact them and many others. This is a promise, and as Kant said, “The duty to keep our promises is a categorical imperative.” 

Ria Kamineni

Hi my name is Ria Kamineni, and I am running for the position of Junior Representative on Policy Board. I have been on PoBo for 2 years now, and I have learned about the skills required to be a representative as well as gained experience on how to do the job. In my freshman year, I worked on various projects to bring our grade together with community activities as well as met with all the department chairs to discuss a more transparent grading system. In my Sophomore year, I worked on altering the service hours requirement so students could pursue their interests in community service. I also created the Student Hub Bulletin Board to allow more transparency between student council’s work and the student body as well as helped to change the off campus privileges for juniors. Throughout these 2 years, I have worked on several projects, and I will continue to use my skills and knowledge that I have built from my time on Policy Board to further improve student life at OES. In addition, I will bring to Student Council my commitment and positive attitude to be a good advocate for the junior class. When you vote for me for Student Council, you will enrich the OES community with student voice, and you will get my perseverance to bring changes that benefit the student body. A vote for me is a vote for creativity and expression. 

Alexander Matthews

I’ve been involved in the Aardvark Dig, JSA, Theater, Cross Country, Track and Field, and BSU. With my diverse experience and passion to fight, I am proud to run for 11th Grade Representative on Policy Board. My 3 main campaign priorities include:

1. Streamline Communication. Much of the student body is unaware of the current projects and priorities of the Policy Board. I will collaborate with my colleagues to publish monthly Policy Board updates detailed with ongoing proposals, projects, initiatives, and accomplishments of the student council so students have easy access to what the policy board has done.

2. Student-initiated DEI Workshops. I will collaborate with ISA and student affinity groups to design and implement DEI workshops that are informative and inclusive of current times to reflect the perspectives of the students. Student-designed and led workshops will engage us more with what it means to be a welcoming community for all.

3. Strengthening Peer Mentor Centers. As someone who has interacted with the student mentor centers before, I found it difficult to truly engage with them. I will work with faculty and mentors to create a straightforward scheduling system so you can meet with peer tutors and get the results you need, as well as add science and comp sci-focused centers to accommodate students who need help in that area.

Let me be clear; I am not the perfect student by any measure. I am running for this position to be the representative that understands, works, and most importantly, delivers results for you. 

Tiago Moreno

Hi everyone,

My name is Tiago Moreno, and I’m running to be your 11th Grade PoBo Representative. I care deeply about the OES community, and I truly believe that I can serve it best by being part of the Policy Board.

In this past year, in close collaboration with others, I have:

– Created the Student Input Form

– Helped prepare various student/teacher roundtable discussions on grades and mental health

– Helped create a “Student Council Bulletin Board” for visibility and accountability

– Worked with the administration to understand how OES’ budgeting system works, as well as how cash is implemented within the community

– Revamped the service hour requirement system to better support students

– Re-wrote various parts of the Student Council Constitution for clarity and effectiveness

– Created policies and met with the administration to work on dorm inclusion within the OES community (as well as equal treatment within dorms)

…and much more.

By now, I’ve learned what it means and what it takes to be a member of the Student Council, and I know how to get things done and fight for you all. Community is essential to growth, and I want to hear you all and understand the issues you all want to see fixed.

Please, reach out to me with any questions, thoughts, concerns, or ideas that you may have. I represent you, and I can do that best by hearing from you. Thank you for your time.

Benley Vo

Based on my observations around school, I notice many significant changes but there are also aspects that need improvement. There are 4 main important things that I want to improve. Make the office hours longer so the students can have opportunities to meet with teachers. Create a broader community engagement around Portland through school activities. Have teachers from different departments work together to assign homework to students more efficiently or create a due date extension system for students who need to catch up on homework. Incorporating AP courses option to science classes and having some new AP classes. I have asked 50% of the people in the dormitory and 10th graders. I realize that some have issues with catching up with homework due to sports, sick, etc. However, the limited office hours, busy teachers, and increased homework each day have created difficulties for students to catch up with homework. I have a deep interest in improving OES’ academic policy because it is a core value. I want to raise mental health awareness to help students enjoy their stress-free school life. More importantly, it’s my passion to help students find their best interests in school. There are many other things that I want to speak up about. And I will try my best to work closely with school committees to address the issue and bring improvement when I become a PoBo representative. Although I’ve only been here for 2 years, I strongly believe that new people will bring fresh perspectives and ideas.

12th Grade

Aaron Chang

I know you are all probably thinking, how many more times do I have to hear Aaron Chang talk about stuff  like “why he cares about our community,” or “what do I hope to accomplish,” but I hope that it’s clear now that my motives to improve our school are genuine. I have continuously worked towards improvement in our community, and working on the Policy board has always given me the opportunity to do so. For three years, I’ve worked on countless projects on the Policy board and I hope to continue to do so next year. To address the elephant in the room—yes, I did lose the Student body President elections, but that doesn’t change anything for me. All the things that I have said, the ideas that I have made, and the projects I have planned are all the same. I still want to improve communication between the student body and student government, strengthen the voices of every member in our community through improved DEI workshops, as well as connect students of different grades through joint advisory meetings. I have many more ideas on how we all can improve our community, and we will get it done if you vote for me, Aaron Chang, for the fourth year in a row, to be one of your two Policy Board representatives.

Catherine Zhang*

Although I have no experience in working with the policy board, after our team discussions around the restorative justice model during my time on the honor council, as well as the case studies we have conducted during those meetings, I have also come to realize some policies around the upper school that are in need of changes so they could better facilitate student learnings. If I do become the representative on Policy Board, I plan to work towards complete transparency of our grade books in every class, a process we have started but not yet completed. I also plan to work towards in better communication between teachers and students, in a sense that students will understand the expectations from their teachers better, and teachers will also negotiate with the students in making up for late assignments and the rescheduling of tests, etc.

*This statement has been updated*

Dorm Reps

Gigi Chen

I am running to be a Policy Board dorm representative because I have a strong will to improve the life in the school—especially in the dorms. I am very approachable and open to talk about any issues and difficulties you identify and want to change. I will be a useful resource for the dormies when you don’t feel comfortable talking with an adult. I also have good communication skills. I will communicate with PoBo members and decision makers to make the changes come true. I also have good leadership skills. I served as a Community Board dorm representative this year and helped to organize many events to enhance the school spirit. I know that PoBo dorm reps are working on changing the sick policy in the dorms now, and I really support that. Besides that, I also really want to work on the care for mental health, the system of checking up on work after missing a class, and any other issues that appear in the future.

Claire Jaroonjetjumnong

I want to run to be a dorm PoBo representative because the dorms are where I live, and I thrive to make it a comfortable place for everyone including myself. I have been in Policy Board this year, and I believe that I have contributed many times—especially from the perspective of a dorm student. I led the name and identity discussion to highlight international students whose names are unique to the American culture, especially focused in the dorms. I am currently working on a gender neutral bathroom/resident wing, and will address more projects to come. With my responsibility and great time management skills, I believe I will be able to properly contribute in PoBo in terms of work and communication. I believe especially in equality between the dorm community and day community. There are some discrepancy in policies between the two, and I would like to use my position as a PoBo representative for the dorms to address this issue together with potential leadership in the dorms (if any). I will continue to listen to my fellow dormies and use their thoughts and input in my work in future position.