Meet Your 2019-2020 Student Council
On March 13th, eight brave Packer sophomores and juniors spoke to the student body in an attempt to land the positions of Secretary, Vice President, and President of the Student Council. As a result of their impassioned speeches and overall dedication to the community, Izabella Lizarazo (‘20), Yusuf Haque (‘20), and Abe Rothstein (‘21) have been elected to lead Packer into the 2019-20 school year.
It would be amiss to launch into discussion of these new StuCo representatives without first acknowledging the immense successes of the sitting President, Vice President, and Secretary. Archie Caride (‘19), Sacha Sloan (‘19), and Noelle Parks (‘19) have done an admirable job with their time in these leadership positions, working to secure pads and tampons in the female bathrooms and incorporating policies surrounding hate speech into the student handbook, among other initiatives.
Next year as president, Izabella Lizarazo, current grade representative for the Class of 2020, plans to continue the pattern of Student Council taking tangible steps towards making Packer a more inclusive and safe environment for every student and faculty member. Izabella won over the student body with her infectious smile and a speech which prompted several roaring applause breaks.
Current president Archie Caride said that Izabella “is a natural leader who inspires me every day with her kindness and passion. She is someone who truly cares about our community and her fellow classmates. I have no doubt that she is going to be an absolutely amazing president next year.”
Izabella decided to run for President because she recognized her innate organizational and public speaking skills, as well as her ability to push people to reach their full potential. During her time as a leader, she hopes to work with Women of Color, BaS, Spectrum, and Conservative affinity groups to foster a more inclusive environment for those with minority identifiers. She will additionally work to “limit homework that can be assigned on religious holidays, college nights, and SAT/ACT weekends, because balancing all these responsibilities can be overwhelming to many students.”
Incoming Vice President Yusuf Haque (‘20) is equally eager to jump into his new leadership position in Packer’s Upper School. The PALS leader, member of Finance Federation and Miscellaneous Skills Club, participant in Model UN, soccer star, and layout editor for The Prism has consistently proven that he is both engaged in the present community and keen to improve it in the future.
One of Yusuf’s many goals for his time as Vice President is to foster increased accessibility to StuCo for Packer students by creating a way for people to voice concerns anonymously. While this idea has been attempted before and discussed at length at Packer, Yusuf’s unique tenacity and detail-oriented nature just may be what finally forces this solution into action.
Future Secretary Abe Rothstein will undoubtedly make good use of his time with this role, having already displayed his aptitude for politics during his five previous years on the Packer Middle and Upper School Student Councils. While the Council is normally reserved for seniors, Abe will be assuming the position as a Sophomore which only further proves his talent for bettering the community. “He’s always spoken and acted like a politician, so this new position feels like a natural step for him to take,” kindly commented a fellow classmate from the sophomore class.
It is safe to say that when Abe is not on stage recognizing National Grilled Cheese Day or hyping up The Flock, he is involved in some kind of political activism.
During his freshman year, Abe played a vital role in the massive school walkout which protested school shootings. This year, Abe has been working with the New York Civil Liberties Union in his spare time: “With them, I have been working on issues such as safety in schools, ending the school to prison pipeline, and voting rights. I am also working with the chancellor of NYC schools to instate a civil rights policy after it was rescinded by Trump.”
Commenting on his goals for next year, Abe said, “I think that having students feel comfortable approaching you and being able to speak about prevalent issues is essential. If people don’t trust you, it’s hard to get anything done.”
In addition to their standard responsibilities, Izabella, Yusuf, and Abe will additionally have to help the community cope with saying goodbye to Dr. Dennis and Mr. De Jesus, both of whom leave us next year. With the introduction of Dr. Jennifer Weyburn as Head of School and Maria Nunes as Head of the Upper School, the student council will be expected to facilitate the transition and properly welcome the two women into our community.
Yusuf said that “this change in leadership is a really good opportunity for Student Council to play an active role in helping these two administrators come into their roles. It’s also a great opportunity for the student body to bring up issues that they want more attention given to with the new administration.”
President Lizarazo said, “I am so excited to work with Dr. Weyburn and Ms. Nunes. I can’t wait to talk with them and see what we can work on together for next year!”
Although the 2019-2020 school year may be a challenging transitional one, Archie summed up the feelings of many when he said, “Next year’s executive officers make me very optimistic about the future of Packer.”
On behalf of the entire Prism staff, good luck to the newly appointed Student Council leaders!