2023 Freshman Caucus Endorsements
The Spectator's 2023 Freshman Caucus Endorsements
Reading Time: 15 minutes
Isabel Cho and Evan Goodman
DYNAMIC: Cho and Goodman are both supportive and synergistic, contributing to a harmonious partnership. They have known each other since kindergarten and have graduated from the same elementary and middle schools, allowing them to obtain countless experiences working together in and outside of school. There is a professional dynamic between Cho and Goodman, and they have a great sense of mutual respect for each other’s expertise, opinions, and talents. Both of them have past experiences in Model United Nations and civic engagement, including Goodman volunteering at a synagogue and Cho organizing a successful charity fundraiser. Cho and Goodman have a shared goal to help the freshman class by incorporating ideas from the student body in their policies, with a strong sense of purpose and direction for their collaborative teamwork.
PLATFORM: The Cho-Goodman ticket is running on a platform of Changing, Helping, And Nurturing the Community for Everyone (C.H.A.N.C.E.), which aligns positively and enthusiastically with their values and goals. Their detailed campaign policies are professionally put together and presented. In particular, Cho and Goodman have a number of proposed policies that would bring the freshman class together, both physically and emotionally. One of their most unique ideas includes a “Freshman Board,” or a physical board where freshmen could post affirmative thoughts, quotes, or wishes toward one another. Other policies include creating a comprehensive floor-by-floor map of the school building and acquiring more student discounts in Battery Park eateries like Brookfield.
Cho and Goodman are dedicated to promoting growth and development among students. They aim to provide unique and creative services to the freshman class, such as conducting student interviews (for which they were inspired by the current Junior Caucus’s athlete interviews), creating study guides, and forming community groups that will enhance inclusion and accessibility. Overall, the thoughtfulness of their policies and services shine through and have great potential to create significant impacts.
OVERALL REVIEW: Cho and Goodman are strong candidates for the Freshman Caucus with their involvement in the Stuyvesant community, life-long friendship, and desire to create a collaborative and supportive environment. Their policies devoted to supporting mental health and providing college resources while also planning events aimed at uplifting freshmen are admirable. Thus, The Spectator endorses this ticket.
Maxanne Wallace-Segall and Mitali Jhaveri
DYNAMIC: Wallace-Segall and Jhaveri are outspoken and enthusiastic. They both came from small middle schools and met at Stuyvesant through their shared commute. Despite meeting each other two months prior, they share many free periods, which, combined with their shared commute, places optimistic prospects for working together as caucus leaders. They both have experience in leadership positions, as Wallace-Segall was eighth-grade student president, and Jhaveri was a student ambassador of her school.
PLATFORM: Though not all of the Wallace-Segall-Jhaveri ticket’s policies are feasible, especially concerning their academic policies—which lack a clear vision and do not anticipate obstacles from the administration—their more feasible policies focus on building social support, as per their own experiences coming from small schools. Their plans for “commute buddies” and “lunch buddies” Google Forms intend to bring the freshman class together. They also recognize the lack of a designated freshman space and plan to put benches on the half floor to formalize it as a freshman lounge. They plan to release monthly Google Form check-ins, which have good intentions of improving the mental health of students but uncertain benefits.
The ticket anticipates administration backlash but has creative fundraising policies including a Freshman Fundraiser Competition, coffee bar, and a cafeteria snackbar. The Wallace-Segall-Jhaveri ticket also recognizes the importance of building an inclusive freshmen community and plans to implement a Ticket-Aid system, where a designated number of students would be able to attend a paid event, such as a school dance, if they can not afford to do so. Some of their events include a Spring Holiday Celebration for Passover, Ramadan, Easter, and Holi, and a Grade vs. Grade Tournament.
OVERALL REVIEW: The Wallace-Segall-Jhaveri ticket has leadership experience and, though some of their policies and events are ambitious, they acknowledge their limitations and plan to adjust their policies to fit student feedback. Their ability to recognize student demand for communication, both within the student body and between students and teachers, is favorable. The ticket has consistent policies that intend to build social support within the freshman student body, which is supported by their personal experiences as students from small schools. Wallace-Segall-Jhaveri also acknowledges the diversity of the student body, as demonstrated by their Ticket-Aid system and Spring Holiday Celebration. Thus, The Spectator endorses this ticket.
Ia Sofocleous and Alexis Qian
DYNAMIC: Sofocleous and Qian have known each other since middle school, where they met at District Two’s Manhattan Student Leadership Council. Both have extensive leadership experience in prior Student Councils and are deeply involved in their communities. The pair works well together with complementing personalities and described their relationship as very close.
PLATFORM: The Sofocleous-Qian duo focuses their campaign on Fundraisers, Resources, Events, Suggestions, and Homework Help (their FRESH pillars). Their events are very feasible, with highlights such as “Winter Wonderland” and a “Bowling & Arcade Celebration.” They also plan on keeping the freshman body engaged through bi-weekly newsletters with teacher and course guides, student reviews of clubs, and an opportunities bulletin specifically intended for freshmen. Lastly, two of their larger-scale initiatives are installing a PA system with clocks in the swimming pool locker rooms and developing an escalator status alert to notify students and deans when escalators are not working.
OVERALL REVIEW: Backed by strong leadership experience, The Sofocleous-Qian ticket is able to target specific issues and differentiate the feasibility of policies that they will address. Their utilization of the resources around them might allow for the achievement of seemingly unrealistic tasks, such as using the surplus supply of clocks within the school to be installed in swim locker rooms. However, their larger-scale initiatives would take longer time and heavy reliance on the administration to implement, like assuming the Deans would quickly fix the escalators when notified, which makes the policies less likely to succeed. While the majority of the policies are feasible, most have been done by prior campaigns, which takes away from the originality of their campaign. Instead of trying to create policies that the school already has, such as sorting the Opportunities Board to be catered toward freshmen, which the Student Union had already implemented, the ticket should focus on creating new ideas that target the niche issues of their grade. Thus, The Spectator does not endorse this ticket.
Mariya Markova and Gavin Stelczner-Do
DYNAMIC: Despite only meeting this year, Markova and Stelczner-Do have built a solid dynamic, both in and out of the classroom. They work together within the Speech & Debate team, and both have leadership experience from their middle school student governments.
PLATFORM: Their platform seems to be generally built on direct ideas a variety of students have given them throughout their campaign. While this does give their ideas some measure of charm and makes the candidates seem like they’ll generally listen to their constituents, it also makes many of their ideas quite disjointed. While the ticket has ideas with good intentions, including fixing elevators, creating a freshman bar, and fixing the school’s water filtration, the details of their execution fall short, as they seem to have difficulty understanding the capabilities of the Freshman Caucus.
OVERALL REVIEW: Overall, the Markova-Stelczner-Do ticket has solid experience. Their policies primarily center around making the freshman body’s lives more convenient and easing their transition into Stuyvesant. Some of their goals are relatively achievable but lack a unified theme to center around, while others are less feasible. Thus, The Spectator does not endorse this ticket.
Taofiq Salman and Akira Jiang
DYNAMIC: Salman and Jiang share a close friendship from meeting each other through a recent summer program, but communication seems to lean on Salman, who has leadership experience and is the more outspoken of the pair. Jiang contributes creativity and problem-solving abilities, while Salman contributes management and delivery skills.
PLATFORM: The Salman-Jiang ticket has several innovative and thoughtful ideas for improving the school, including allowing students to return from outside of school in the middle of their free or lunch periods and installing dividers in boys’ bathrooms. However, some of these ideas are naive and ambitious, stepping beyond the boundaries of the Freshman Caucus. Though well-intentioned and unique, their policies of reducing weekend homework and 10-minute homework assessments to give teachers an idea of time management are unlikely to aid or be accepted by most teachers. Their plan to fund these changes through donations also seems slightly unclear. However, some of their ideas are feasible approaches to long-time Stuy problems, such as the mid-period entry time for students leaving the building. This approach would perhaps be the best compromise between the administration’s goal of safety and the students’ goal of open entry. However, in terms of implementation, the ticket does not have a clear plan to communicate with staff and the Student Union to achieve many of their policies.
OVERALL REVIEW: Overall, the Salman-Jiang ticket’s focus on alleviating stress and fostering a greater sense of community within the freshman body through a stricter homework policy, events like talent shows, and increased outlets, such as Google Forms and polls, for freshmen to express concerns to caucus leadership is rooted in good intent, but ultimately fails to deliver. Principally, the duo’s dynamic and policies both appear unbalanced. The extreme divide between the communicator and the thinker makes the ticket appear as if its constituents are more separate than together, and few of their policies strike a balance between creative and feasible, with one often sacrificed in favor of the other. Salman-Jiang’s modest acknowledgment of such potential hurdles and willingness to work with teachers and administration regarding their intended policies is sensible, but the effectiveness of the ticket’s current proposals and platform remains somewhat lacking. Thus, The Spectator does not endorse this ticket.
Johanna Li and Mufei Yu
DYNAMIC: While Li and Yu only met this year, they have a close, friendly dynamic. The pair met working together as managers for the boys’ badminton team, where they were able to establish a strong working relationship. In addition, they possess strong leadership skills as they connect with the student body through their past experiences.
PLATFORM: Much of the Li-Yu ticket’s policies revolve around mental health and stimulating social relationships between members of the freshman class. Some of the ideas are strong, such as a commute buddy system and a peer homework center, to help build community while easing the student transition into Stuyvesant. One particularly ambitious initiative is a website where students can submit complaints and request assistance, but the initiative does not have a clear plan for its execution. Li and Yu’s platform also focuses on encouraging students to meet with guidance counselors regularly but doesn’t outline specific initiatives to ensure that this occurs.
Overall, Li and Yu’s campaign addresses many critical issues facing the freshman class—from the need for socialization to high-stress levels—but fails to go in-depth to address and provide adequate initiatives for them. In particular, they address teachers’ inability to follow testing policies but don’t describe any solutions that would effectively solve the issue. In terms of events, many are fun and feasible, like a locker-decorating contest and a scavenger hunt, but others seem more targeted toward the incoming freshman class, such as a Talos guide to choosing freshman courses or expansions of Camp Stuy. Likewise, the feasibility of even more concrete initiatives is not fully fleshed out, with a lack of consideration for implementation. Thus, The Spectator does not endorse this ticket.
Fahmida Begum and Laiba Sidu
Both candidates for the Begum-Sidu ticket come from similar backgrounds and maintain a close friendship. They are very passionate when it comes to presenting their ideas and are also articulate speakers with past student government experience.
The Begum-Sidu ticket’s goals are to make the freshman body feel supported, heard, and safe. As a result, the majority of their proposed policies and events revolve around these values, such as forming commute groups, offering stress toys, organizing respectful for all awareness, having a feedback form in bimonthly update e-mails, hosting karaoke or game nights, and hosting a friendship bracelet-making event. Overall, they have a solid grasp of what they want to accomplish. However, they fall short in articulating how they specifically plan to execute their plans and overcome obstacles such as funding and logistical aspects.
Overall, the Begum-Sidu ticket is a well-rounded choice in this year’s Freshman Caucus race. They possess reasonable policies and events based on their pillars in favor of making promises that they plan to keep. Additionally, they sport a good dynamic and demonstrate a passion for what they believe in. However, their proposed plans lack detail in terms of funding and implementation. Thus, The Spectator does not endorse this ticket.
Brendan Tan and Yuxuan Che
The Tan-Che ticket has a solid dynamic, with both of them hailing from different middle schools and only having met this year. However, there clearly is a level of comfort and trust between the two.
Tan-Che place a high level of focus on mental health, schoolwork management, and the overall community in their policies, evident in their proposals of a homework forum, a coffee station, and homework passes. Unfortunately, most policies are unfeasible and unlikely to get administrative approval.
While clearly caring about the community, there is somewhat of a lack of thought behind the Tan-Che campaign. Though the ticket possesses some prior experience, they did not elaborate on how this would translate into a potential Freshman Caucus presidency. Thus, The Spectator does not endorse this ticket.
Elizabeth Burnell and Alex Yuditsky
Burnell-Yuditsky share an excitable and highly friendly relationship, one that exudes mutual respect for each other. Though they have different interests and strengths, they are determined to have equal say in every aspect of their student government responsibilities.
The Burnell-Yuditsky ticket’s key goal is to make Stuyvesant more “easy,” with an emphasis on helping freshmen make friends and communicating in a large school. However, this ticket’s ideas for programs, while interesting, lack memorability or feasibility. For example, they propose grade-wide field trips to the beach or to the Lincoln Center for discounted prices; the safety concerns, paperwork, and time involved to organize such large events as Freshman Caucus remain elusive upon further questioning. Other event ideas include anonymous advice forums, Cultural Nights, and expansion and improvement of library and physical study spaces.
Overall, Burnell and Yuditsky are gifted speakers and charismatic leaders. Their ideas focus on specific aspects of freshman life they’d like to improve: friendships and transitioning to a large school. This is overshadowed, though, by their unfeasible event ideas that have been repeated to some extent in the past and their general misunderstanding of the Freshman Caucus’s abilities. Therefore, The Spectator does not endorse this ticket.
Ethan Zheng and Ricky Chen
DYNAMIC: Zheng and Chen have known each other since middle school and have developed an impressive rapport. Each has a clear awareness of the other’s strengths and their decision to run as president and vice president demonstrates maturity and self-reflection.
PLATFORM: The ticket’s platform prioritizes transparency and fostering a sense of community within the freshman class, through low-commitment sports teams, talent shows, and “Freshmen Offices” that will be held during the school day in spare classrooms. While well-intended, these policies are either non-specific to the needs of freshmen or unfeasible given limited budgets and strict school regulations. The ticket has some experience in fundraising but did not propose any solid solutions for their more cost-intensive event ideas.
OVERALL REVIEW: The Zheng-Chen ticket consists of two well-natured and enthusiastic candidates. However, they lack a concrete plan to carry out the majority of their policies beyond relying on pre-existing administration. The majority of their platform consists of event ideas with no detailed plans for their execution. Despite the benign nature of this ticket, they lack the forethought and groundwork to effectively represent the freshman student body. Thus, The Spectator does not endorse this ticket.
Nara Kong and Nashla Arroya
DYNAMIC: Kong and Arroya met this year and have since developed a close relationship that balances friendship and work. Both have clear ideas of their campaign’s main policies and the importance of accurate representation.
PLATFORM: Kong and Arroya’s main goal is to provide inclusivity and awareness to the freshman class by prioritizing mental health and social connections; they believe that their elementary and middle school experience in student government will help them achieve these ideas. They hope to encourage the administration to open school gyms for recreational activities after school, helping students to relieve stress in a convenient location. Additionally, they would like to implement further decorations and art throughout the school to help students take their minds off of school work. As for their events, they propose a schoolwide talent show, a scavenger hunt, and PI day. Though these policies and events are optimistic, Kong and Arroya did not expand much on the logistics or the execution of these ideas.
OVERALL REVIEW: The Kong and Arroya campaign included some promising aspirations for how they would attempt to foster a closer connection within the freshman class while simultaneously raising awareness for mental well-being. However, many of their policies and events contained vague or no descriptions, consequently raising concern regarding the effectiveness and commitment of the ticket. Furthermore, they seem to be engaged in various other time commitments that could potentially conflict with their role as co-presidents. Thus, The Spectator does not endorse this ticket.
Paul David Nathu-Stipp and Alexander Georgatos
DYNAMIC: Georgatos and Nathu-Stipp (Nathu-Stipp goes by Stipp on the Georgatos-Stipp ticket) have known each other for nine years and are both members of Stuyvesant’s Parliamentary Debate team, making the two well-acquainted with one another as both public speakers and close friends. They hope to extend their friendship to the freshman body as a whole by becoming “Stuyvesant’s best friend,” applying a mixture of their amiability and debate-related skills to their leadership.
PLATFORM: The Georgatos-Stipp ticket hopes to bridge the gap between student government and the freshman class, providing underrepresented students with a voice through which they can express their concerns. They intend to utilize suggestion boxes and hold in-person meetings with students in order to address discontent within the school and work to resolve these issues. Furthermore, they aim to make freshman year as enjoyable as possible for students by hosting inexpensive events throughout the school year. However, they do not have any specific ideas prepared as of yet; instead, they plan on sending out polls through which freshmen can recommend the events that they would like to participate in. In addition, they hope to alleviate stress among freshmen by implementing more leniency on policies like returning to school after free periods and changing before physical education classes.
OVERALL REVIEW: Despite their strong dynamic, the Georgatos-Stipp ticket falls short when it comes to specific policy development. Though the duo plans to receive input from the freshman class if elected, they currently lack a fully thought-out platform with implementation guidelines for their policies. Additionally, their primary concerns are with issues that do not concern the majority of freshmen, such as the limited locker room changing time. Thus, The Spectator does not endorse this ticket.
Troye Kim and Ammaar Junaid
DYNAMIC: Though Kim and Junaid met at Stuyvesant, they seem to have built a very strong friendship in the first few months of their freshman year. The pair has experience in middle school leadership: Kim was a part of the student council and Junaid was the founder and president of the coding club. Kim and Junaid have balanced personalities, with Kim being more creative and Junaid more analytical. However, Junaid seems to hold a larger role within their campaign and is a more outgoing public speaker, resulting in a slight power imbalance.
PLATFORM: Kim and Junaid both emphasize direct feedback from their grade via online suggestion forms on Instagram rather than focusing on planning unpopular events. However, aside from a holiday gingerbread house decorating contest, the ticket has no clear vision for future events or fundraisers. Additionally, much of their proposed solutions for the student body are built around vague language about empathizing with incoming freshmen.
OVERALL REVIEW: Despite their good intentions, the Kim-Junaid ticket lacks the thoroughness and organization of caucus co-presidents. Though they recognize that the powers of co-presidents are limited, they lack initiative and concrete ideas, and do not proactively seek innovative solutions. Thus, The Spectator does not endorse this ticket.
Luca Nedelkovic and Theo Bergeron
DYNAMIC: Even though Nedelkovic and Bergeron only met this year, they seem to have developed a tight dynamic. As the two of them attended small middle schools, they are trying to bring that close-knit community to Stuyvesant and make freshmen feel welcome in their first year at their new school.
PLATFORM: The Nedelkovic-Bergeron ticket prioritizes feedback from the freshman class when creating policies, as demonstrated by the fact that they already created a contact and complaint form on their platform doc. Bergeron has experience on the Events Committee in the Student Union, and the ticket has many ideas they wish to implement, such as student-teacher battles and Olympic Games. However, while they have creative ideas, they do not have viable plans for setting their vision into action.
OVERALL REVIEW: Despite a close working dynamic, prior experience in student government, and reliance on feedback from the student body, the Nedelkovic-Bergeron ticket falls short when it comes to specific policy development. While the duo seems to understand the limits of their roles as caucus presidents, the projects and policies they want to address currently lack specific plans for execution. Thus, The Spectator does not endorse this ticket.
Devin Imbesi and Philip Levinsky
DYNAMIC: Imbesi and Levinsky only met at the start of freshman year, but they have similar interests and personalities. Both of them have prior student leadership experience; in middle school, Imbesi was class president and Levinsky was vice president. However, the pair discussed working with others in their close-knit friend group, which may pose issues when it comes to collaboration with other Freshman Caucus members.
PLATFORM: The ticket’s main policies focus on unity of the student body and increased safety within the school. When asked how they will achieve unity, they promised to heavily promote through advertising and posters. The duo also hopes to reconfigure the electrical wiring of many of the older classrooms in the building, citing safety concerns.
OVERALL REVIEW: Though the ticket’s policies are unique, they are largely impractical and likely unrepresentative of the problems that most freshmen face. Thus, The Spectator does not endorse this ticket.