12th And 11th Grade Elections In Times Of Covid

Nicolas+Zarate%2C+12th+grade+STUCO+candidate+presents+his+proposals+video+during+synchronous+class+time.+Zarate+created+the+video+in+order+to+share+and+explain+some+of+his+plans+and+proposals+for+the+12th+grade+STUCO+representation.

Nicolas Zarate

Nicolas Zarate, 12th grade STUCO candidate presents his proposals video during synchronous class time. Zarate created the video in order to share and explain some of his plans and proposals for the 12th grade STUCO representation.

Maria Garces, Discoverer Staff Writer

Due to TCS’ virtual reality and uncertain future on campus, both 11th grade and 12th grade STUCO winners feel more motivated to be part of the 2020-21 Student Council.

Both candidates, Nicolas Zarate (12th grade student) and Samuel Zuluaga (11th grade student), decided to create their campaigns and proposals based on enhancing their classmate’s experience at school during distance learning and social distancing.

“Since we started the school year with a pandemic, it wasn’t ideal for seniors to start our last year in a virtual environment. For such reason, I thought that maybe if I was STUCO I could try and help make this school year and when we go back to campus, as good or as fun as it would be a ‘regular’ year at twelve grade,” Nicolas Zarate, 12th grade candidate, said. 

Even though the senior candidate counts on the possibility of going back to campus soon, other HS candidates are more focused on improving the school’s current adaptable distance learning system.

“…I feel that all of us are struggling with the schedule and with the times…  we are having  too many classes and very little time to rest . In order to change this I propose a new schedule, which is only three blocks a day of one hour and twenty minutes each, a thirty minute advisory and a one hour and fifteen minutes break for lunch,”  Samuel Zuluaga, 11th grade candidate, said. 

Although some of Zuluaga’s proposals were not talked through with directive members at first, the idea of calling out for student’s attention and presenting a campaign virtually, was one of the greatest challenges both candidates had to deal with during this year’s elections. 

“The school only allowed us to use Schoology in order to do our campaigns. However, I don’t think that many students, especially twelve graders, use or see schoology for stuff like that… Based on this, I just tried to put a lot of effort into my video and try to put all of my biggest proposals since the video needed to be three minutes long,” Zarate said.

As candidates were not able to communicate that well their proposals in comparison with past years, students still had the chance to reach out to some of their grade level candidates in a virtual manner.

“…What people are more interested about is being heard with their demands. For the last two weeks I have been asking people what they think about distance learning,  what would they change about it and that’s basically what I’ve been doing,” Zuluaga said.

Even though Zuluaga shaped his campaign based on his classmates’ suggestions, the idea of keeping up with the student’s demands might end up becoming his greatest challenge.

“… People just want to be heard. Most of the students  want to go back to school and they are getting impatient and anxious.This might be a challenge for me, since I might be feeling pressured to do the work immediately,” Zuluaga said.

The idea of being able to make a change and meet student’s standards during such harsh times, not only makes this year’s elections more significant and valuable to the TCS community, but highly unusual for some of the candidates.

“…This year’s elections were really weird because being it virtually, it kind of gave a negative effect on how you viewed the candidates. For example, I don’t know if people might have listened or paid attention to my video and explanations…,” Zarate said.