Meet Your 2021 All-School President Candidates


Isabel Su '22

The 2021 All-School President Candidates.

The Record’s Editors-in-Chief conducted interviews with each of the four pairs running for All-School President. Click on any of the nine questions below to see how candidate pairs responded. 

      1. Please briefly introduce yourselves.
      2. Why did you decide to run for all-school president?
      3. What qualities do you think would make you good all-school presidents?
      4. What makes you two a good pair?
      5. What are your main goals for next year?
      6. Can you tell us a little bit about your approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion?
      7. What qualities make you two good liaisons between the administration and the student body?
      8. What are some current issues within the community that you believe should be addressed?
      9. What are your plans for fostering an increased sense of community next year, given the challenges posed by COVID restrictions this year?

Please briefly introduce yourselves.

0:06 — Sydney Goldstein & Izhaar Rosa:

  • Goldstein: “I’m from Greenwich, Connecticut, and I use she/her pronouns. Right now, I’m in Tinker 212.”
  • Rosa: “I’m from Cleveland, Ohio, I use he/him pronouns, and right now I am in my room on Coy 2.”

0:24 — Margie Bowen & Jerry Qiao:

  • Qiao: “I’m a three-year Upper Mid. I’m a proctor in Coy, captain of the varsity tennis team, and have also served as the lower mid class president. I’ve also been on the class council since prep year.” 
  • Bowen:  “I am a two-year Upper Mid from Rochester, New York. I sit on the boards of student activities and Blue and White.”

0:47 — Scout McKibben-Baier & Billy Meneses

  • Meneses: “I’m originally from New Jersey but I currently live in Pennsylvania. I’m a three-year Upper Mid and I live in Watson.”
  • McKibben-Baier: “I’m from a super small town called Cornwall in Vermont. I’m also a three-year Upper Mid and I serve as a proctor on Flinn 2.” 

1:06 — Kiernan McColgan & Huck Whittemore

  • McColgan: “I’m a three-year Upper Mid, I’m from High Falls, NY, and I’m a member of the Varsity Field Hockey team. In my free time I like to read, write, and play field hockey.”
  • Whittemore: “I’m a three-year Upper Mid from West Hartford, CT, and I’m a member of the boys Cross Country and Track teams. In the winter, I’ve done a whole lot of things, but I’m also on the quiz bowl team. In my free time, I enjoy running, biking and staying outside.”

Why did you decide to run for all-school president? 

0:04 — Sydney Goldstein & Izhaar Rosa

  • Goldstein: “For me, honestly, all-school president is something that I have thought about since my prep year when we had Caitlin and Dan. I just know that it is a challenge and an opportunity that if I didn’t lean into it and go for it, I would really regret it probably for the rest of my life. I am someone who really loves to be challenged, so I just know that this is something that I would absolutely love to do. And I am really excited about what Izhaar and I have been able to do so far and, in the next few weeks, what’s to come.”
  • Rosa: “For me, it was the end of Prep year, Senior talent show, when Daniel Pai, all-school president that year, went up and sang his song, playing his ukulele. And I just remembered everyone was in awe and crying. It wasn’t like he gave some grand performance, but the emotions were real. And the emotions I felt were real. I knew that day and in that moment I wanted to be in a position that touched the heart of this place in the same way. So it was a thought that I had from the moment I got here, but that was the moment that it was solidified for me that this is something I knew I wanted to do—to walk away and touch the heart of this place.”

1:30 — Margie Bowen & Jerry Qiao

  • Bowen: “It’s something that I have always wanted to do. I find a lot of fun in student government and I just love to be the one for people to come to with a problem.” 
  • Qiao: “Margie and I both have a genuine sense of love for the Hotchkiss community, that is honestly why we are running. We care about your experience and want to ensure that everyone at Hotchkiss feels a sense of belonging.” 

2:02 — Scout McKibben-Baier & Billy Meneses

  • Meneses: “Just thinking about my own experience at Hotchkiss, I know coming here was definitely an adjustment and it took me a while to get acclimated to the school and to meet new people. Over time I think I was able to find my path, and so one of the reasons why I’m running for all-school president is to continue making people comfortable so that they enjoy their time here at Hotchkiss.” 
  • McKibben-Baier: “I love Hotchkiss as a second home. I love the community, the opportunities, but more than anything I admire Hotchkiss’ willingness to change, especially in recent years, even when change is a slow process.”

3:01 — Kiernan McColgan & Huck Whittemore

  • McColgan: “Huck and I have looked up to the all-school presidents in the past, and we work really well together and really like interacting with other members of the community. So we were really eager to seize this new opportunity and further develop the strides other all school presidents have made.”
  • Whittemore: “I second that. I think past all-school presidents Luke, Maggie, Cyrus, Keren, and Dan have all done a really good job. They have a super good work ethic and are super energetic. They brought the school together in a really cool way that I think has been crucial to our time at Hotchkiss. So they’re big role models. Also [we want to] give back to the community in a new way.”


What qualities do you think would make you good all-school presidents? 

0:05 — Sydney Goldstein & Izhaar Rosa

  • Rosa: “I think I could talk for Sydney on this. She is organized. She is not afraid of challenging my thinking. She is not afraid of the moment. And those are things that I knew I really wanted to look for when looking for a running mate. I have always seen her as a leader in this community. And I think by definition, there are not a lot of leaders out there. So I knew she was somebody who would step up to this challenge, and I knew she would be somebody that would bounce ideas off with me, and really be great and diligent in doing this work.
  • Goldstein: “And I can talk about Izhaar. I think we really make a good pair, and he is perfectly assertive when we are talking about making decisions, and which ideas we like and which ideas we want to narrow down. I think he is really good at communicating what exactly he wants. Sometimes I will have a thought that I am not sure how to articulate, and he just kind of knows exactly what to say and somehow knows what I am thinking. Also, he cares so much about all that he does and all the responsibilities that he takes on. I just really want to work with him, and he would make such a good leader. And I think his excitement honestly inspires me too, and it is so clear how excited he is. This even makes me more enthusiastic about all that we are doing together.” 

1:40 — Margie Bowen & Jerry Qiao

  • Bowen: “Jerry and I are both really dedicated to our work as Hotchkiss students and feel that we can really tackle the amount of work that comes with being all-school presidents. We are very kind and approachable people, we pride ourselves on that, and I believe that together we are very good at communicating.” 
  • Qiao: “First off, Margie and I work well as a team, and second off, we’re both involved in multiple aspects of life at Hotchkiss. Since we’ve both held various leadership roles we have a good understanding of the decisions made on a day-to-day basis.”

2:24 — Scout McKibben-Baier & Billy Meneses

  • McKibben-Baier: “Of course, we’re serious about the job, but mainly we really want people to have fun and to just make Hothckiss a place where people really want to be. Work is stressful, but we want there to be a balance between stress and [fun]. We want to get people’s input on activity ideas and new things that would lighten students’ moods here… Additionally, we already know we have good relationships with the faculty because we’ve been proactive about meeting with other faculty members about accomplishing the ideas we’ve mentioned in our candidacy statement. We’re also really thorough, we look at everything, [including] all our ideas, from all different angles, and we’re good at finding compromises between the faculty and the students.”

3:22 — Kiernan McColgan & Huck Whittemore

  • McColgan: “Huck and I are super energetic, enthusiastic, and outgoing, but I think what’s really important is that we’re really good listeners. We’re not afraid to admit when we’re wrong, so we’re eager to be super transparent with the administration and the student body, and be a good link between the administration and the student body.”
  • Whittemore: “We complement each other very well. I think we both don’t have really any hesitations with speaking to teachers and speaking to deans when things are wrong. Also, we talk all the time and we’re great listeners with each other as well. We talk about all our problems together.”

What makes you two a good pair? 

0:03 — Sydney Goldstein & Izhaar Rosa

  • Rosa: “I think we play off each other really well. We bring different things onto the table. I think a lot of what I bring are the ideas, the articulating of those ideas. And she is bringing organization; she is bringing a voice and a perspective that I cannot reach. And I can vouch that Sydney is constantly pushing my ideas forward in just a month or so that we have been working together. She is keeping me on my toes; she is keepinging me thinking, keeping me organized, as I have been thinking. So in terms of being a good pair, I think a lot of it is just that neither of us has really strong weak points, but also we have got really strong points – those dance together really gracefully.”
  • Goldstein: “This is a phrase that Izhaar and I talked about a lot. I really think that we are “people” people, and that we are really able to adapt to any social setting and work with anyone. And I also think that it also helps that we know very different circles of the school, whether that’s through clubs, or sports teams, or extracurricular. I think we have a lot of experience, and we know a lot of different people. So this really helps us have an incredibly broad reach in terms of our understanding about the needs of the community and the different needs based on the different identities, age, and whatever it may be.”

1:38 — Margie Bowen & Jerry Qiao

  • Qiao: “As a team, Margie and I make up a great pair, we complement each other’s weaknesses and I think [we strike] the balance between being approachable but at the same time being responsible and getting things done.”

1:58 — Scout McKibben-Baier & Billy Meneses

  • Meneses: “We both have a really good relationship and we’ve been planning to run together for a while. We know that we work well together and that we’ll be able to hold each other accountable. Also, we’ve really gotten to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses: Scout is more creative and she comes up with the more ambitious ideas, whereas I tend to pay more attention to detail and look at the bigger picture, and in that way we’re able to balance each other out. I think the most important qualities that we have is that we’re both authentic people and we want to be honest presidents who make realistic proposals. So all the things in our candidacy statement have been talked over already with the faculty because we don’t want to make any false promises. We’re very no-BS kind of people, and we’re also completely open to criticism, because we want to continue to be able to improve ourselves, and to continue to make your experience here the best.”

3:04 — Kiernan McColgan & Huck Whittemore 

  • Whittemore: “Like I was just saying, I think we both build off of each other’s energy really well. We’ve been friends for all three of the years we’ve been here. We started being friends two weeks into Prep photo. We’ve been in Humanities together, working on history projects and English readings. I think that’s where we really solidified our friendship.”
  • McColgan: “I think we’re super comfortable with one another, and there’s a huge mutual respect for one another. So, if we tackle problems, we may disagree, but we’re going to work it out and we’re going to listen to one another and be able to hear what the other one is saying.”


What are your main goals for next year? 

0:03 — Sydney Goldstein & Izhaar Rosa

  • Goldstein: “Our main focus will be getting the ball rolling towards a post-COVID, or somewhat post-COVID Hotchkiss. There are a lot of traditions that we want to bring back, because we saw them as lowerclassmen. And as Uppermids, we reflected on our experience last year and the year before. There is so much that we wish to see again during our last year here and want to bring to the people of the community who have yet to see some of these traditions. Some of what we want to do will actually be up to the all-school presidents after us, since I guess with time just more and more will be brought back. But we want to be there for them during every step of the way, guiding them and helping leave a legacy in that regard. I think we want to advocate for whatever it is that individual class presidents also have in mind. And I think that is a big part of our campaign. Our goal really is to work with each class and unify the grades through class presidents and class councils, and to also create a more social environment through this and just in general creating a more open environment – saying hi to people in the halls and everything like that.”
  • Rosa: “And if you want to talk more about the specific traditions, not even all of them have to be huge. There is Mayo in May. How are we going to do that without mayo in the dining hall? Gotcha. Class seating. Dining hall. And just being a little bit more normal. I am not going to say that we will have masks gone. I am not going to lie or make promises that we do not think we could fulfill, but if we could just start getting back a lot of these small things, like getting our dining hall closer to normal, having music in the dining hall again, Fun Fridays. If we stop neglecting how big these small things can be for our students’ mental health, for student life, in day-to-day interactions, I just think it is our job to be present in as many people’s lives possible and try to push for a lot of these small things. We have got this unification of student leadership and student government. We want to hold open lunches and dinners so that people could just sit down and talk, so that we could be present here. And I think that if we just start to do a lot of those small things right, then that impact would just just grow little by little.”

2:51 — Margie Bowen & Jerry Qiao

  • Bowen: “We really want to bring back true Hotchkiss. We want to increase the seating in main, we want to work our best with the covid steering committee and other deans to improve the dining hall situation. We want to push back Friday nights so later check in times. And we also want to put forward the student mental health at Hotchkiss because we feel like the stances that the Hotchkiss faculty have been taking seem a little performative and we want to really make sure we are taking our mental health forward.”
  • Qiao: “Our main goal is to make post-covid Hotchkiss as close to normal Hotchkiss as possible. Our time here is limited, and we hope you’re able to take advantage of every minute here and spend the time with the people around you.”

3:56 — Scout McKibben-Baier & Billy Meneses 

  • McKibben-Baier: “We have three main goals: continuing DEI efforts, increasing transparency in communication between faculty and the student body, and increasing community bonds, not just between students and the well-known faculty, but also faculty like the cleaning staff, the maintenance workers, and the dining hall staff who are really the backbone of Hotchkiss but who are kind of more behind the scenes. Additionally, as Billy touched upon earlier, we want to be honest no matter what so we’ll never give unrealistic expectations or unreachable promises, because we don’t want to be misleading ever. Of course, we’ll always get as much student input as possible to understand the ever-changing needs of the students and the student side of things. Whenever we give new proposals to the faculty, we’ll always back them up with facts about why they’re needed or even data when presenting them.”

5:01 — Kiernan McColgan & Huck Whittemore

  • McColgan: “Obviously, with COVID restrictions, Hotchkiss has been super different. We feel like there’s been a divide within the classes, and just the community in general. So we really want to reimplement the strong sense of Hotchkiss community and make sure that the new people who may be remote this past year, and the Preps who didn’t get to experience regular Hotchkiss, get that feeling and get to know one another because the community at Hotchkiss is so diverse and incredible.”
  • Whittemore: “I think one of the things is bringing back that energy of really wanting to be on campus and never really wanting to leave. I know a lot of people who have gone remote have at times kind of dreaded being here, and it’s felt like a slog at some points. We want to bring back class activities and other things that will really bring the class together. One of our favorite things that we haven’t been able to do has been inter-class dinners, community dinners, and also being in Elfers and Walker. Having a sense of enjoying ourselves here and activities outside of just school and athletics that I think everyone looks forward to. So bringing back all of the classics, but then at the same time incorporating some of the successful aspects of what we’ve been doing now during COVID Hotchkiss. I mean a lot of people love not having Saturday classes and the flexibility with the food. In this age of Canvas, there is also a sentiment among some of our peers that there hasn’t been the greatest transparency about grading. So really working with teachers – not to degrade any of their work – but helping students understand where they’re at in their classes and what they can do better would be a cool thing we would like to work on.”


Can you tell us a little bit about your approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion?

0:05 — Sydney Goldstein & Izhaar Rosa:

  • Rosa: “We talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion a lot here, but I do think that often, and this isn’t something specific to Hotchkiss, we talk about it in the wrong way a lot of times. When I look around this campus, when I travel and look around the world, I don’t think that diversity is as binary as we talk about it. We say that this is a diverse community; we have this many people of this race, this many people of this gender, this many people of this sexual orientation. But it’s so much bigger than that. One of the biggest cases of diversity that I see on this campus every single day is just the diversity of perspectives. We have so many different students here from so many different walks of life, and we spend way too much of our time boxing diversity into something so rigid. And I think we could start taking steps towards acknowledging just how truly diverse Hotchkiss is in a multitude of ways. And if we are not saying diversity is a core essential of what makes this place what it is, then we are talking about it the wrong way. Because maybe a certain class does not have that many black people in it – I will say that bluntly – but we have so many different walks of life on one little campus, and that is saying so much.”
  • Goldstein: “What I would add is that I think through this role, we will be very much at the forefront of what people see when people are looking at us. And it is so important that we are allies for everyone we represent, and that we make sure that all of the identities that make up Hotchkiss are seen, and that they are acknowledged and supported through all that we do, all the decisions we make for the policies that we push for, and just taking into consideration every single aspect of what makes up this community. I think that being supportive for everyone as allies is very important for both Izhaar and I.”

2:31 — Margie Bowen & Jerry Qiao

  • Qiao: “We hope to work with the council on diversity and inclusion to make sure that student input is carried through and everyone feels the transparency of the administration, and the larger goal overall is to help Hotchkiss move past performative acts and to continue the cultivation of being open-minded global citizens. 
  • Bowen: “We also want to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard. Working closely with BaHSA and Triple A, something that is really important to us is making sure that diversity is upheld at Hotchkiss and really making sure that everyone has that moment to say what they want to say and feels safe, seen, and supported.” 

3:15 — Scout McKibben-Baier & Billy Meneses

  • Meneses: “One of the things we mentioned in our candidacy statement is to continue publicizing the bias reporting form. WE both think that it’s a really important resource that a lot of people are still unaware of how to use it and where to find it. I think it’s important for people to know when to report any uncomfortable instances caused by other members of the community. We also want to work to redefine grace days because we know that sometimes people have to make the choice between going to a fishbowl or an important community gathering versus making sure they have their homework done for the next day. So also making the grace day policy more equitable across the different departments.”
  • McKibben-Baier: “We’ve also met with Mrs. Cooper once already but if elected we’re going to be working with her more about incorporating more bystander intervention in different aspects of our Hotchkiss lives just to help people feel more respected and safe. I think we would do this by working towards decreasing the stigma around bystander intervention and making it a thing that is more common in day to day life, because it is so, so important. And then of course we also want to continue making it blatantly clear that Hotchkiss does not tolerate any hate and that any concerns we hear from the student body will be taken extremely seriously.”

4:52 — Kiernan McColgan & Huck Whittemore

  • McColgan: “Huck and I are super eager and willing to work with different affinity groups and different members of the Hotchkiss community. We just really want to make sure that we’re there to listen and we want to create a safe environment. We want all the members of the Hotchkiss community to feel safe, respected, and heard. We plan on having office hours and working alongside these different groups, and obviously crediting their work, and seeing what we can do better as all school presidents to make Hotchkiss more inclusive.”
  • Whittemore: “Along the lines of bringing back that sense of community, if there’s ever divides in our community I think that can be brought back together through community activities and things like that. The current class presidents and affinity groups have all been doing a really good job during community time to educate. I’ve learned a whole lot of stuff about Ramadan and Hindu holidays, and indigenous life in America. These have been really cool things, and trying to continue on that work of education about different perspectives here at Hotchkiss has been an awesome thing we have started to incorporate into our community time.”


What qualities make you two good liaisons between the administration and the student body?

0:05 — Sydney Goldstein & Izhaar Rosa

  • Goldstein: “I think one of my first real interactions with the administration was as a Prep, and it was during the sit-in that took place in 2019. I saw very first-hand how passionate I [and other students] became standing up for this policy and standing up for ourselves, specifically advocating for the framework for responses to traumatic events that can happen on-campus or off-campus. This one was primarily in response to hate symbols that had surfaced during that fall and during that winter. And so through this experience I was particularly inspired, and I knew, this was during my first year here, but I could guess that this would definitely not be my only encounter with the administration. And so it really just showed me how passion doesn’t need to mean disrespect because I saw how all the people around me were being very respectful but still being forceful. This is also important as all-school presidents, who sometimes will be faced with rejection from the administration, I think it’s important to know that being faced with stubbornness should not mean quitting. So this is an experience that I definitely carry with me, and I think will absolutely influence the way Izhaar and I lead the student body.”
  • Rosa: “I spent a lot of my time here already working really closely with faculty, closely with administration, and there’s the council of diversity and inclusion, proposal writing over the summer and the meetings that follow that, class council even, or just going to stufac. And I think the biggest thing that I’ve learned in all of these different settings and groups is faculty, administration, and students were all talking different languages a lot of the time. A lot of what I think is our job as people who are trying to bridge that gap is being a translator. Where are we going to come? Meet in the middle? Or somewhere in the middle? And find some overlap in what we want. Where are we going to find those little niches that we can hit on and start moving the conversation more towards the direction of what we can actually do to fulfill the student’s desires without infringing on what the admin is trying to go for. A lot of the time, it’s going to look more like meeting them in the middle, and slowly pulling administrators toward what the students want. We were talking about the inter-dorming policies, that starts off as a really big no, but, if we meet them in the middle, we can slowly start pulling, proving to them that maybe this inter-dorming policy won’t hurt, maybe we can actually handle this and you were doubting us too much. And if we start thinking about it as a process and less of implementing student policy that we want, we can start speaking that same language a lot more often, and I’ve always tried to find where that middle ground lies, and we look for that middle ground, and that’s when actual progress and work starts to happen.”

3:59 — Margie Bowen & Jerry Qiao

  • Qiao: “I think number one, we are both well respected individuals within the community. Number two, we are both well equipped. We have both held previous leadership roles that help us value commitment, communication, and also just trust. Number three, I think we both have strong relationships with faculty at Hotchkiss and number four, we both just really want to do this and we’re committed to it.”
  • Bowen: “I agree with Jerry, we’ve created some really great relationships with faculty members but i think the biggest thing is understanding our position between students and faculty and that sometimes we can feel so helpless. Jerry and I are great advocates to help uplift the voices of students so that faculty members can truly hear us.”

5:05 — Scout McKibben-Baier & Billy Meneses

  • Meneses: “We understand that communication is probably one of the biggest things that this role consists of and we hold respect for both faculty and the students, so we’re open to not only gauging the interest and the concerns of the student body but also meeting with all faculty members necessary who pretty much run the school. So not just Mr. Bradley and Mr. McKibben but also Mrs. Brown and Mr. Webster about different food choices in the dining hall, and also working with faculty from the farm about sustainability and how we can reduce waste.”
  • McKibben-Baier: “Obviously we’re part of the student body, and even though we’re never told outright we can tell when people are kind of feeling off, so we aren’t afraid of telling the faculty outright how students are feeling. Whether people just need a day off, whether they’re exhausted, whether something happened that everyone’s upset about. Additionally, there have been some disagreements in our meetings with faculty already so we’re always open to working towards compromises.”

6:08 — Kiernan McColgan & Huck Whittemore

  • McColgan: “I think Huck and I are easy-going and we’re close enough with some faculty members and outgoing and up to being transparent with them and being upfront with them. We also are aware that there needs to be a mutual respect between the two groups, so we’re willing to work on any tension that might be there and try to get our points across from the student body, while still being respectful and mindful of administration and what their perspectives might be.”
  • Whittemore: “Also, in class Kiernan and I are super vocal with our teachers whenever we’re concerned about school or where we’re going. Also, we’re both on sports teams where we’re working with the coaches and the athletic staff to run a smooth sports team. That’s some experience we can draw on when talking to administration and faculty members.”


What are some current issues within the community that you believe should be addressed?

0:06 — Sydney Goldstein & Izhaar Rosa

  • Goldstein: “I think that one issue that comes to mind for me is definitely the issue of transparency between student leadership and administration. And I think that there’s obviously a large amount of people who attend Stu-Fac, but there’s also a large amount of people who do not. And I think it’s really easy for these people to kind of not know what’s going on during these conversations, and as someone who tries to go to all stufacs whenever I can, I think that there’s really valuable conversations that have been had during Stu-Fac. I think the community would benefit from something like a flyer on the dining hall tables or something like that, or maybe not an email, but something similar to that to make the Stu-Fac conversations more publicized. I think that that’s just one thing. I think that in any conversations we will be having with the administration; I think that it’s just really important that we keep the student body super updated along every part of the processes, and so I think this is definitely going to be in the backs of our minds as we think about the policies that we’re pushing forward, how to push them, and how to make sure the school knows what we’re doing, so they’re not left in the dark. And whether that’s with covid related policies, and that’s when we’d be working with the Covid steering committee if it’s still in place next year, or with student activities, or with the other class presidents even. I think just being very open is incredibly important.”
  • Rosa: “And this really ties into the same idea, but I think a lot of this neglect I’ve had multiple people on this campus come and tell me in really emotional moments that not only on a social level, but even at an administrative level, they feel neglected here. And it’s not just one or two people, I’m talking a large portion of the student body is feeling this way, a very large portion. Neglecting student voices, ideas, neglecting student mental health, and a lot of that I think comes from a lack of transparency as Sydney was saying, but when it comes to where it’s neglect, it would be hard for us to not have to address that.”

2:43 — Margie Bowen & Jerry Qiao

  • Bowen: “Community seating has been quite a problem for us as well as the connections between grades. I don’t think that there is a strong enough connection between the prep class and the rest of the community but also throughout all members of the community it has been difficult to intermingle, especially with our dining situation and the dividers, to be able to meet new people, and we really want to open up to more activities so students can get to meet each other.”
  • Qiao: “I think also first off something I observed is transparency between the student body and administration especially in regards to uniform grading policies across multiple departments but also just the establishment of new policies in general and I think in terms of a greater sense of community we hope to achieve that by number one, removing dividers in the dining hall. We think that’s super annoying and want to do something about it and number two, increasing the amount of seating in Main Building.”

3:59 — Scout McKibben-Baier & Billy Meneses

  • McKibben-Baier: “We want to make Hotchkiss more balanced, where yes, there’s stress, but there’s also fun. Also, that’s kind of hard because different grade levels get different amounts of work but we want to work towards that as much as possible. We know that there are most likely going to be Saturday classes next year, so we want to make accommodations to make Saturday classes as painless as possible, such as more department weeks, more scheduled Holidays, reducing homework on the weeks with Saturday classes, and limiting the number of Saturday classes in a row.”
  • Meneses: “We also want individual grades to feel connected to us, so we plan to have a more open dialogue with different class councils and class presidents. In order to continue working towards this transparency piece with faculty, we’re going to continue meeting with the deans to make sure the student body is aware of any changes to curriculum or to important policies that impact us. We also plan to send out updates every other month, and also send out an anonymous feedback form monthly so that people feel that they can always talk to us and bring different concerns that they have to us. We also want to make sure that we have a good attendance at Stu-Fac, so one of our ideas is to have a set group of faculty who continuously come so that they can continue to advise us and provide that faculty perspective so that we can continue communicating with both groups of people.” 

5:38 — Kiernan McColgan & Huck Whittemore

  • McColgan: “Again, the divide that’s been caused due to COVID. We really want to work on reimplementing a strong sense of community at Hotchkiss, and making sure that we all have mutual respect for one another, one another’s beliefs, and backgrounds. Community time, further educating ourselves and listening to others, our peers, and being attentive and hearing what they’re saying.”
  • Whittemore: “I hate to admit it, but I only know a handful of Preps. I love them to death, but I only know them because of my sports teams. Maybe that’s a little bit on me, but also getting out and meeting the new classes is something that I think has been really difficult this year, because you don’t really have a reason to be using their spaces. Bringing back big activities, and then as we touched on before, our goals for transparency with grading and Canvas are things to work on so students better understand where they’re at in their classes and how they can improve.”


What are your plans for fostering an increased sense of community next year, given the challenges posed by COVID restrictions this year? 

0:06 — Sydney Goldstein & Izhaar Rosa

  • Rosa: “ I think we touched a lot on that in the question about our goals, but I think a lot of that community building is going to come from the small things. You know for one, we want to be accessible, and very intentionally accessible. We’ve got the reintroduction of traditions that we missed which we touched on earlier. A huge thing is just not having many private and intimate spaces, the fact that I really don’t know where I can go if I want to have a private conversation with somebody, and that is big, you know. I remember interacting last year, a lot of my biggest memories are in a lot of those random, small, spontaneous conversations that I had one on one with somebody. And a lack of privacy on this campus really changes the way we’re interacting here. And you know maybe that’s anti-community in a sense, but I don’t think it would hurt the way we interact as a community at all. And I want to sort of go back to being accessible, I think a lot of the time, student leaders aren’t seen as people that can just be walked up to and someone you can just have a conversation with, and that’s wrong. We’re peers in this community just like you, and student leaders should be elected into these positions because they’re accessible, because they’re here for other people, and empathetic, and listen. And I think when we talk community building, we can’t talk about it without talking about accessibility, and so that’s one of our biggest goals in terms of how we build that sense of community, and maybe that’s really big, but I think we’ve touched a lot on the actual tactile things that we’re trying to do to build on that. And you know, while we’re trying to be accessible, we also want to put in work behind the scenes because a lot of it is going to happen behind the scenes. Meetings with Mr. Bradley, meetings with if we have a Covid coordinator next year, and a lot of the work we’re going to be doing is going to happen behind the scenes, but also as I touched on earlier, that cannot turn into neglect.”
  • Goldstein: “I think Izhaar really touched on a lot of what I would have said very similarly, but I think really just to say the least, we want to build back this sense of family that I know our community can be. And I think that because of some things as small as the plexi-glass in the dining hall, it’s harder to have these person-to-person interactions. And so I think that as restrictions begin to be lifted, we’re just going to do everything we can to re-instill this feeling whether that is, as he said, being there for people to come talk to us, saying hi to people in the halls, but also trying to do more to bridge the gap between different grades through different events that we might be able to host. And so I think that’s really just our overarching goal is to strengthen the sense of unified community next year.”

3:38 — Margie Bowen & Jerry Qiao 

  • Bowen: “Dining was not something we liked this year. The sticker system did not work, and it really put people in a difficult situation of whether or not they wanted to walk and eat or not eat at all and that’s something that I do not take lightly, that every student should feel comfortable to eat during the school day. It’s not healthy not to eat and I think that there are inter-dorming policies that could be improved, trying to get back not only for the lowerclassmen proctors, which Keren and Cyrus are working on currently, but for all students to eventually interdorm by next spring would be our hope.”
  • Qiao: “And I think it’s super important for us genuinely that everyone on campus feels a sense of belonging, they feel comfortable in their own skin, and so I hope if you were to take anything away from watching these videos it would be as a pair, as a team, Margie and I plan to serve with number one, open ears, number two, transparency, and number three, to get things done. And so we really hope to be advocates for your voices.”

5:02 — Scout McKibben-Baier & Billy Meneses

  • Meneses: “Obviously COVID-permitting, we plan to have hopefully an inter-school dance and possibly an inter-school field day. We know that there are a few other boarding schools in our area, Salisbury, Berkshire, Millbrook, so we really want to expand the community a little bit. 
  • McKibben-Baier: “We also want to bring back community dinners with some of the faculty I mentioned earlier like the cleaning staff, maintenance workers, everyone who are really crucial pieces to the community. Of course, we’re not brushing aside the work of past presidents so we want to continue working towards changing interdorming rules and possibly sleepovers.” 

5:50 — Kiernan McColgan & Huck Whittemore

  • McColgan: “COVID permitting, we obviously want to bring back the Snack Bar. But say the Snack Bar’s limited to a certain amount of people, we were thinking it could be Preps and Upper Mids one night and then Lower Mids and Seniors another night. Also, having fun school wide games like Gotcha, where you can be a Prep and have a Senior partner. You automatically get to know that Senior in a weird way, by just having that bond. It’s so silly, but I still remember my Gotcha person and they would say hi to me in the hallways every day after Gotcha.”
  • Whittemore: “This is just a past experience that I had, but when I was living in VS our proctors organized a dorm basketball game. Things like that in a silly way just bring everyone together. Dorm competitions are fun. Stuff like that is the best way to bring people together.”