2023-2024 SGO Elections: An Election Season with Little Competition


Each spring, as APs come to an end and the academic year begins to wind down, students from the freshman, sophomore, and junior classes throw their hats in the ring to serve as their class representatives in the Student Government Organization (SGO) the following school year. While the Class Secretaries, Class Treasurers, and Class Parliamentarians are all selected by the SGO Election Committee, the Class Presidents and Class Vice Presidents are selected by popular election of their classmates.

This year, the candidates for Sophomore Class President, Junior Class Vice President, and both Senior President and Vice President are running uncontested, leaving any competition solely for the Sophomore Class Vice President and Junior Class President.

Following are transcripts of both Zoom and in-person interviews conducted between June 1st and June 5th with every candidate running for either Class President or Class Vice President. Responses were slightly edited, to account for spelling or grammatical errors. Murphy’s questions are in bold, whereas the interviewees’ responses follow their initials.

Sophomore Class Ballots

Juleen Lim is running uncontested for reelection as the Class President for the Class of 2026. Lim hopes to meet more people that are similarly passionate about leadership to her.

What are the main goals of your campaign?

JL: The main goal of my campaign is acknowledging the fact that we’re now entering sophomore year, and the next few years are gonna fly by. I really want to make sure that if the Class of 2026 has any ideas or suggestions, they are really taken into consideration, so it’s like making sure that your voice is being listened to, and advocating for your thoughts and needs.

Which of your goals would be your priority if elected?

JL: So this falls into events. I feel like events are great ways that students are able to have the high school experience. High school only happens once, so I really want to focus on any events or fundraisers that the Class of 2026 wants to see.

What would some of these events be?

JL: Work that I have planned for this year with Student Leadership would that we’re planning a gingerbread house contest, something for Valentine’s Day, like cookie decorating, more school competitions, socializing events, and events where not only our class of 2026 can get to know each other, but they can get to know their upperclassmen and the upcoming freshmen.

What are your qualifications for this position?

JL: First, for experience, as freshman class president, I feel like I had the opportunity to gain more expertise and become a better leader. With overseeing Student Leadership, I learned that student leadership is a great way for a group of students to come together and really plan these events and fundraisers, as well as work on communicating between the student council and the student population.

Yaye-Madjiguene (Madj) Drame, who is currently the Freshman Class Parliamentarian, is running for Sophomore Class Vice President. She hopes to eventually become a Biological Sciences major and generally wants her classmates to be able to look back on their time at Tech positively, making sure there’s a “work-life balance.

What are the main goals of your campaign?

YMD: I’m trying to like work on things for the sophomore class as a whole. For example, more events, because although this year, I know we did work hard in Student Leadership we also want to send things out to the sophomore class, because a lot of the American high school experience is like going to all these events, having fun with your friends, and I really want to help emphasize that during the upcoming sophomore year as Sophomore Vice President, and this is probably one of my main goals. Also, increasing communication between the student body and the council, because I know it’s a really important thing and people have a lot of ideas, a lot of suggestions, and a lot of concerns. I want to make sure that’s heard.

What is an example of an event you would like to host?

YMD: For example, a music fair, so booths with different genres and music from different cultures, like not even American, but we could have like Spanish music, where people can visit different booths and learn and even like, explore their music taste and expand. It’ll come like with performance performances from students, emphasizing student work, because that’s also a really important thing to do in the school, to make sure that students are being showcased and appreciated.

Which of your goals would be your priority if elected?

YMD: My priority, namely, right now is events. As I said before, it’s something that a lot of people want to see, and I want to make sure that people are happy with what’s going on, especially in sophomore year, because you’re done with your first year of high school, but you’re not really in the middle yet until the upcoming spring. So at that moment, you’re like, “what are what do I want to do with my high school experience from now?” With planning events, I want to emphasize that.

What are your qualifications for this position?

YMD: Over the last year, I was parliamentarian of the Class Council. A lot of the newsletters and Instagram posts, I worked on that along with my committee, and that’s mainly what I worked on last year. Communications, as I said before, I was in COPR (Committee of Public Relations), so that’s mainly my current experience right now. Even before coming into high school, I worked a lot with public speaking, giving speeches, and like really connecting with people.

Hanna Hodzic, who is currently the Freshman Class Treasurer, is running for Sophomore Class Vice President. Hodzic hopes to one day become either a Law and Society or LIU PharmD major, planning to take harder classes during her time at Tech.

What are the main goals of your campaign?

HH: The main goals of my campaign are honestly just to have better outreach to the students because I
feel like a lot of the problems, although I know we do bring them up sometimes in Student Government meetings, but I feel like even the ones that go unnoticed, we need to bring that out more. We need to have more calling the student body so that we can better hear their concerns and address them. Even like bigger issues with mental health in school, I feel like we take a lot of action towards that, but it’s not really like helping in many ways, so I feel like just overall more inclusion in school, more team building activities, more connection between different classes, and in between each grade level. I want to make more events that can foster that team-building community.

What is an example of an event you would like to host?

HH: We’re currently planning a carnival, the freshmen are doing that for sophomores currently, but that’s like connecting the freshmen more to the school. We’re also planning on doing a field day, well that’s what I would like to do. I would like to do a field day, even if it’s just within one grade level, as you then can connect students from different classes or students that don’t usually talk to each other and hang out with each other. Movie nights are another idea, like themed movie nights for Halloween to show Halloween movies and to connect students, but then also something like Penny Wars, or some other activity, that is between the grades, just to connect them more so, even picnics or social events like ice cream socials, some kind of holiday event like a hot chocolate party.

Which of your goals would be your priority if elected?

HH: I definitely want to make more team-building activities, especially for freshmen, because it gives us more insight so I think that’s the first thing I would do, besides just the carnival. I also want to make other events, brainstorm, and make planning more efficient, even if that’s just a dance or something because coming in as a freshman is very scary and you don’t really have a connection with other people. That, and then second, most of my immediate priorities for mental health are to make more action-oriented events, not just discussing it, which is good, too. Essentially, just establishes a place where there are better mental health outlets.

What are your qualifications for this position?

HH: I started student government in middle school, mainly because I wanted to make a change in my school. It was a very good school, but it was very dull and I felt like the student body wasn’t really connected to the rest of the school. Throughout middle school, I participated in student government as an ambassador for several years. I was also the captain of my volleyball team. In middle school, I was on the debate team, and I learned a lot of communication and collaboration skills there. I was a freshman treasurer and will be participating on the student board for the state.

Phoebe Kim is running for Freshman Class Vice President. Kim hopes to help others in her grade while also bettering herself as a leader.

What are the main goals of your campaign?

PK: I just want school to be much more enjoyable because, as a student myself, I think everybody dislikes school because it can be boring, so I just want students to be able to, have fun, especially since it’s their high school years before college, so I want them to experience a lot of events that are enjoyable for them. My main goal is for students to be happy in school.

Which of your goals would be your priority if elected?

PK: I really care about the students. So probably like their mental health, like how they’re doing in school, especially with assignments and stuff like that, and having fun in school at the same time. If I wanted to mention a main issue that I feel like students face every day, it would be elevator problems, and sharing it with teachers, I feel it’s very annoying and frustrating as well.

What are your qualifications for this position?

PK: I’ll be honest, there may not be a lot of qualifications, since I haven’t really done a lot of leadership positions in my past school years. But, I have worked with many students before, just in class and stuff like that. I feel like I’m super qualified because I have a personality, I’m very outgoing, and I like to speak with others. I’m always curious on how others are doing, so I feel like I have that leadership characteristic. I just like to be hands-on in helping others. So I feel like that’s good enough.

Junior Class Ballots

Jay Blechman, a rising junior in the Applied Mathematics major, is running for Junior Class President. In the future, Blechman hopes to become more involved in the theater scene, and in the long run, a math teacher, hoping to “form a love of math in students.”

What are the main goals of your campaign?

JB: My campaign has a few main goals. The first one is obviously having fun events, because, as I think I’ve said before my campaign video, and I’m gonna say it again now, I love events, and I think events are what make Tech really fun. Now, looking at another side of my campaign, it’s ensuring that students have the necessities that they need to function in life and function in school. Along with that, just making sure that there’s open communication both ways where the Junior Class Council if I were to get the position, is giving information to the student body. And also the other way, where I would like to be receiving information from the student body, and see what the student body wants and what they need.

What would an example of an event you’re interested in hosting be?

JB: There are multiple things I can of course cite what we’ve already been doing, such as Cosplay Con, but I can also cite things that I’ve been wanting to do, such as a Karaoke Night, and things which are kind of fresh, but also could be a lot of fun, just like going into a random classroom and singing with your friends for like an hour or two in the school, which is super convenient. Another example of an event that’s a little bit newer that I had in mind is also an open mic night. When I attended the State Leadership Conference in March, I was talking to some students from another school and they were discussing basically how they had an Open Mic Night. Though our performing arts department does have different showcases, an open mic night could be a more intimate setting to showcase the talent of Brooklyn Tech students.

What would be an example of the “student necessities” you mentioned?

JB: Definitely menstrual products. I have friends, and even people who are not my friends, who have struggled with this throughout the school with broken dispensers, missing supplies, literally running around the school, trying to find menstrual products, and not being able to do it. That’s a massive issue that impacts learning. But on the other side of that access to necessities, is meaning that teachers are not even allowing students to leave classrooms to fulfill whatever business needs they need to do in the bathroom. I’ve been in situations where teachers have said, “You are not allowed to go to the bathroom in my class at all,” not like at the moment, or “Let me finish the lesson.” Though it might be difficult to combat this. I cannot make any firm promises, but I will say teachers cannot control your life to that extent. That’s something I would like to work to improve.

If elected, which of your goals would be your priority to execute?

JB: Being there for students and ensuring that students know that I’m there, the council’s there, we have an open door. I feel that no work can successfully get done if it’s just five people or six people in a room talking. There needs to be other parties involved sometimes and being there, being present, and being around the school is important to that endeavor.

What are your qualifications for this position?

JB: First off, I’ve been in student leadership for two years, which is a branch of the Student Government. Along with that, I’ve chaired Cosplay Con Committee. Within the government itself, I also attend the weekly class council meetings and executive council meetings, so I’m very familiar with how those function. I also like to have input and advocate for people, even if I’m not an executive, I still like to be there, and I still like to represent different people. Along with that this year, I’ve been working to improve the mental health of students. In Student Wellness Committee, where I’m the event coordinator, I helped organize Mental Health Week. Along with that, I’m on the school leadership team, which I believe is 19 people at maximum depending on where you are. It’s Mr. Newman, a few APs, a few teachers, parents, Dr. Mandry, who’s the head of the Alumni Foundation, and two students. I’m one of the two student representatives and we have monthly meetings to work to improve the school environment aligned to the different goals that we set at the beginning of the school year. A few other things that I’ve done are Talent Show, I’m a COSA office monitor, and I helped organize freshman orientation in the previous year, having helped pioneer the “Amazing Race” that we did, and helping manage the large masses of volunteers and incoming freshmen.

Matthew Jordan, a rising junior in the Law and Society major, is running for his reelection as the Class President of the Class of 2025, having served as the Sophomore Class President this past year. Jordan enjoys biking and playing the piano, and likely wants to pursue something in the law or politics fields.

What are the main goals of your campaign?

MJ: I want to increase student participation in the student government and make the government more efficient, so it carries out the student will and make lives better for students through events and initiatives. I also want to create new events like basketball tournaments and make students a printing center for those who do not have that access at home. I also want to reform Student Leadership, because in how it functions now, there’s a lot of time spent not necessarily doing things, and I think that by reforming it to make it more hierarchical, we can become more efficient and get all these campaign promises actually done.

If elected, what will be your absolute priority to get done?

MJ: My first priority when I get elected will be my anti-bullying campaign ads, as that’s a campaign I’m currently working on, and I think it’s going to be the first one the rollout. The next thing I would like to work on is my monthly student survey, which I already did a demo run for earlier in the year, so I think that’d be very easy to roll out as well. Next, I aim to accomplish my basketball tournament sometime around January. I aim to have my junior class assembly around December, towards the end of the first semester.

Is there anything in particular you would want to be addressed at this assembly?

MJ: What this junior assembly would serve to do is showcase the different things that students are doing. For instance, the science teams could present their experiments, or the play could do like a mock scene. It would serve as a demonstration of extracurriculars in our school and aim to inspire people to join said extracurriculars.

What are your qualifications for this position?

MJ: This year I served as the class president, so I’m familiar with the responsibilities of this job. Not only that, but last year I was in Student Assembly, so I got to see on a ground level how the student government works. Before that, I was the President of my middle school, and I adopted some of the same techniques I use now. For instance, instituting a survey and writing a new constitution to make the school more efficient.

Kalliopi Kiladatis, who will begin the Mechatronics and Robotics major this fall, is running for Junior Class President. Kiladatis hopes to make a difference in the school, working to decrease student stress and encouraging people to look into Student Leadership.

What are the main goals of your campaign?

KK: First priority is basically increased communication, because when you talk to most people, and you say “I’m in Student Leadership,” they’re like, “I have no idea what that is,” so I want to increase communication because I feel like the junior class really should know what’s going on, considering it takes us so long to plan all these events that we do. I really think it is important to have that extra level of communication that was attempted this year, but unfortunately wasn’t accomplished as much as I think they would have liked. I think a lot of us have friends in other high schools that do get a junior dance of some sort, whether it be Homecoming or a Junior Prom, and I think we should get to do something like that too. So my goal is to try and get a dance that is hopefully not as expensive as prom, and I am going to try and keep it cheaper if that’s possible.

If elected, what will be your absolute priority to get done?

KK: The first thing that I would want to execute would be increased communication, because I feel like that is the most important thing, because if the students don’t know what’s going on in their own government, then what was the point of having the government? I really think that that should be my main priority, but I am going to try and start fundraising for this dance as soon as possible and to try and get it approved by Mr. Newman too.

What are your qualifications for this position?

KK: I have been doing leadership things since I was really little, starting with Girl Scouts, just helping out with the younger scouts, because I had the time, or just because I wanted to, and I thought they were fun. I did that pretty much from basically fourth grade, when I would help out with younger girls in second, and third. Once I hit middle school, I joined the International Student Council, and they wanted to do this International Food Festival and they needed the students to volunteer to plan and I was like, “OK, cool, I can do this,” and so I raised my hand, and I basically started assigning committees, and these people did this and that person did that. I talked with the cafeteria staff to see what locations would work, and I talked with the principal and other teachers, so I kind of took the lead on that. And then COVID did hit, so we couldn’t do it as big as we had wanted, so I just planned an international tea festival the following year. I have continued with Girl Scouts, and at the level of Girl Scouts that I was in middle school we had to do this silver award, which is like the highest award, and I took the lead on that project. I contacted the organization that I wanted to work with, which was a horse therapy program, and from there, I worked through all my projects, and I was taking the lead on certain things. There’s been a lot of other events that I won’t sit there and list because they can get really long really quickly. I’ve been doing these kinds of things for a really long time, and actually freshman year, I applied to be the VP but no one knew me, so I don’t really think anyone voted for me. I’m hoping that these qualifications will make me a really great president for next year.

Xin Han Shao, who will enter the Finance major this fall, is running for Junior Class President on a joint ticket with Tristan Albano, who will enter the Environmental Sciences major this fall, whose bid for Junior Class Vice President is uncontested. Shao hopes to improve his basketball and badminton skills throughout his time at Tech, as well as gain more experience in the entrepreneurship field. Albano wants to pursue opportunities in the environmental science and environmental engineering fields.

What are the main goals of your campaign?

TA: Next year, at least what I’m gonna work on is really increasing the quality of the events and how many events we have. One of our main ideas right now was to work on a carnival, which gets bounced around every year, but we’ve already sort of started work on that. We also want to do a Junior Semi-Formal, which I know that people tried to plan that this year, and it didn’t really work out and people are always talking about it, so I think that would just be really fun to have.

XHS: Another goal is the connectivity between the Council and the student body because, in previous years, I know that all the events and all the planning have been done by the SGO without asking the opinions of the student body. I want to implement a system where there will be suggestion boxes and forms for the student body to submit ideas so that we can create the events that they want.

TA: One more idea is boosting communication, but also in a fun way. We know that both the juniors and the freshmen currently have “shows” on Instagram for interviewing students and stuff, so we want to bring that to the Class of 2025.

XHS: Another idea that I have, aside from asking for the opinions of the student body, is a junior spirit week because it would really boost the spirit and the energy of our class. Some ideas should be pajama day, where people show up in pajamas, twin day, where they arrive at school with their friends with similar outfits, and sports day, where they wear they dress up in their favorite player’s sports attire.

Which of these goals would be your priority if elected?

XHS: Interconnectivity with the student body [see above].

What qualifies each of you for your positions?

XHS: I’ve been leading different events inside and outside of school. One of the events was freshman orientation, which I planned with my peers during the summer, and it is a very big event. in I’m also in finance executive for Outreach this year. So I help run events, specifically volunteering events outside of school, and also participate in leadership responsibilities in the club. I have also served in the Class Council for two years as the Class Treasurer. Additionally, through my years as a shoe reseller, I’ve met different adults and kids of all different ages from all over NYC and all over the USA to work out deals, so that has boosted my communication skills and the ability to work with other people.

TA: This past year was my first year as an SGO executive, and during my time this year, I’ve been the chair of three committees to this day. I was the head of the Culture Fair, which went really well, and the Fashion Show, which was a little rocky but it was a learning experience, and then right now I’m one of the chairs of the Carnival Committee. Outside of the experience that I already have in SGO, this past year and going into next year, I’ve served on the Key Club cabinet board and now the executive board so my experience through that has helped me further gain event planning experience. Just in general, as a person, I think I just naturally have strong leadership skills and strong communication skills.

Senior Class Ballots

Joyce Li, who will be a senior in the Industrial Design major this fall, and Yeman Lam, who will be a senior in the Law and Society major this fall are running, uncontested, for Senior Class President and Senior Class Vice President, respectively. In the future, Li hopes to work in data science, and Lam wants to examine civil issues through the law, hoping to eventually become a judge.

What are the main goals of your campaign?

JL: The main goals of our campaign are basically to make the senior year more affordable. We’re gonna host many low-scale events, like a cup of tea party and a thrifting fundraiser, as a lot of you see on social media where students are basically going to bring in their old clothes bring and we clean them and resell them at school. Even this tiny little amount of money can help some students attend the prom and walk across the stage on graduation because we know income really affects a lot of families. All the seniors at Tech deserve a chance to walk across the stage and be celebrated because they’ve put in so much hard work these past four years.

What are some priorities of your campaign besides cost?

YL: Besides cost, just basically making sure that we do have an enjoyable year with events such as Spirit Week and Senior Pride, and making sure everyone just has a final year to connect to everyone and really feel connected with the school itself.

JL: We want to work more with Student Media to actually represent people so it’s not like the same faces in the yearbook and to make sure we’re seeing different organizations that have been in this building for so long, making a great impact.

What are your qualifications for these positions?

JL: I’ve served as class president for the past three years, which has given me such an insightful experience in communicating with people. I know Yeman and I are running a campaign and that’s one of my favorite experiences of being President because that’s an actual chance where you get to talk to people and hear their issues. It gives this open platform for people to be like, “Hey, this is wrong in our school, can you help fix it when you’re president and when you’re working in the next year?”

YL: Yeah, just adding on to that, Joyce and I have worked together for three years, and it’s mostly been us working together, which means that we’re really connected, so it’s easier for us to talk about issues we think about in the school. With that experience, we can have more connection between not only ourselves but in actually talking about the issues because communication is really key for councils. Also, just talking to people we need to talk to, like the COSAs, teachers, and students.