Sophomore Caucus: Margaret Mikhalevsky and Amanda Cisse

The Spectator reviews the platforms of the Sophomore Caucus candidates, electing to endorse the Cisse-Mikhalevsky ticket.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

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By Eliza Oppenheimer

RECORD: The Cisse-Mikhalevsky duo has more than sufficient experience to serve the student body. Cisse is the current Chief of Staff for Freshman Caucus and is a co-leader of the Youth Branch for mayoral candidate Dianne Morales. Mikhalevsky serves as the co-vice president of Spectrum, Stuyvesant’s club for LGBTQ+ students, and held a leadership position in middle school working on the yearbook committee.

CAMPAIGN: Cisse, Mikhalevsky, and their campaign managers are a close-knit group of friends who are enthusiastic about serving the student body. The team has put together a website that outlines the central tenets and plans of their platform. Beyond the concrete pillars of their platform, Cisse and Mikhalevsky have the advantage of a strong friendship outside of their work for the Student Union. Cisse and Mikhalevsky speak as a united, cohesive voice––the reply of one always leaves room for the other to add on.

PLATFORM: The Cisse-Mikhalevsky duo has compiled a strong and comprehensive platform. The ticket is grounded on four “bases”––advocacy, growth, teamwork, and community. For each of these bases, Cisse and Mikhalevsky have specific and ambitious plans, particularly regarding how to transition the rising sophomore class smoothly from online to in-person.

Cisse and Mikhalevsky’s four-pillar platform is exactly what rising sophomores need to make the transition from fully remote to in-person learning. Perhaps the largest aspect of their campaign is an extensive academic plan that will help the current freshmen adjust to in-person school next year. One proposed idea was to continue the practice of using Google Classroom to organize and archive lessons and work, making it easier for students as well as teachers to stay up to date. Come AP season, Cisse and Mikhalevsky will organize week-by-week study schedules and caucus-organized practice tests.

Cisse and Mikhalevsky have also come prepared to confront the social challenges of the transition from online to in-person school. This is relevant particularly for a freshman class that has never been in the building. In the fall, Mikhalevsky and Cisse hope to create a map of the building to aid freshmen and sophomores in locating spots around the 10-story structure. The map will also highlight major sophomore “hangout spots,” a helpful feature for a grade whose closest thing to a “hangout” this past year was Google Hangouts. Cisse and Mikhalevksy also proposed some more standard-issue bonding ideas such as a themed sophomore dance and a picnic day.

Another major aspect of Cisse and Mikhalevsky’s platform is inclusion. Even though they have spent little time inside the building, Cisse and Mikhalevsky have already had firsthand experience with microaggressions at Stuyvesant. To promote awareness, Cisse and Mikhalevsky plan to bring in guest speakers to speak on the current social justice movements. They will also work with the English department to increase the diversity of authors represented in required readings. The pair intends to support both RISE and Stuy Prep, which are organizations that help students from underrepresented backgrounds prepare for the SHSAT and admission to Stuyvesant.

These plans are ambitious and feasible. Cisse’s and Mikhalevsky’s extensive prior experience, as well as their collaborative dynamic, makes them optimal candidates for carrying out a difficult job in a particularly difficult year. Cisse’s position this past year as Chief of Staff guarantees a leader who is already deeply familiar and committed to Stuyvesant’s student government; Mikhalevsky’s experience leading Stuy Spectrum grants her experience both in leadership and in coordinating. Equally important to Cisse and Mikhalevsky’s respective leadership experience is that they are friends, and will enjoy a friendly and collaborative partnership.

As Cisse and Mikhalevsky’s platform is just what the freshmen need to stay afloat amid the challenges of their sophomore year, The Spectator endorses this ticket.