A Recap Of The Daily Hawk's First StuCo Press Conference
This Tuesday, May 30th, The Daily Hawk conducted its very first press conference with the 2023–2024 StuCo candidates. Cauã Magalhães (G11), Clara Mesquita (G11), Julia Ribeiro (G9), Giovanna Muzzi (G10), Massimiliano Vincitin (G8), Chase Mason (G8), Tiago Loures (G10), and Pedro Rocholi (G11) were present as contestants for the positions of president, secretary, and treasurer. Each was asked questions according to their role and personal background. The Daily Hawk promoted such a conference with the purpose of providing more knowledge to the EABH community about the candidates and promoting conscious and effective voting. Questions were agreed upon in advance by member voting within the club and took into consideration those submitted by the student population in the previously made available form.
The first question was asked by reporter João Antônio Gomes to presidential candidate Julia Ribeiro regarding the "biggest challenge our school is facing and how [she would] plan to confront it as president for StuCo". Ribeiro identified the non-insertion of international students in the community, as they have a harder time adapting and making friends upon arrival; she proposed the creation of welcoming events during Advisory classes in order for students to become more involved amongst themselves. Ruby Appleton, another Daily Hawk representative, asked a follow-up question, wondering how she will make sure these activities will be carried out in English, given that the majority of the school population speaks Portuguese and prefers that as the language for socialization. The candidate rebutted by stating that these would be teacher-supervised events and thus English would be required, and highlighted the importance of student collaboration.
Next, Ruby directed a question to Giovana Muzzi, reflecting on what makes her an effective communicator and how this applies to being a StuCo secretary, to which she responded: "I have been in the school for two years, and I have built a strong relationship with many students and teachers. I am also in five clubs and am very active and participative," emphasizing the importance for StuCo to strengthen communication with all clubs. She concluded her answer with the strong statement that being a secretary requires "communication and responsibility, which are both qualities I possess".
João Antônio proceeded to ask treasurer candidate Pedro Rocholi why the student body should vote for him instead of other candidates, given that he came third in the electoral polls. Rocholi described his experience with money management, highlighting his experience with AP Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, a summer program in the area, and possessing his own investment suit.
Ruby then asked candidate Chase Mason what, in light of complaints of StuCo’s lack of effectiveness in distributing money back to other clubs, he would do to solve such an issue. Mason responded: "I will make sure that when managing and organizing events, StuCo is always on top of things, completing deadlines, and paying for all decorations and events."
João Antônio followed by directing his attention to presidential candidate Cauã Magalhães and shed light on the common claim that StuCo elections are a popularity contest, then wondered how Magalhães would respond to that assumption. Cauã pointed out that popularity in these elections is inevitable but that students should vote based on the qualifications of each candidate. Additionally, he claimed that popularity and qualification intertwine since they can be a reflection of one’s ability to build relationships with others, an important characteristic for a future StuCo president. Ruby followed up by asking the candidate why students should vote for him specifically, to which he responded by stating that he has good communication skills and a strong relationship with everyone, from sixth to twelfth grade, and that these very relationships are pivotal for the betterment of the school community.
Ruby asked secretary candidate Massimiliano Vicintin how he plans, if elected, to balance the responsibilities and adaptation necessary for being in the first year of high school with the role. Vicintin answered that he believes he can manage his academic year alongside StuCo, given his previous experience working in the club.
In sequence, João Antônio asked treasurer candidate Tiago Loures if he thinks that StuCo favors certain clubs when it comes to allocating funds and, if so, how he plans to ensure that no longer happens. Loures stated his belief that StuCo favors the clubs that have the most members; however, he believes StuCo should instead prioritize the clubs that would benefit the community the most. He exemplified such an idea with MinasMUN, an event previously held by MUN and covered by The Daily Hawk, which was partially funded by StuCo and did indeed benefit the school community as well as the larger BH. Ruby added to João Antônio’s question by asking Loures the means through which he intends to ensure that StuCo distributes money in a timely manner, to which he replied by arguing that "being in StuCo is all about organization. You have to be very fast to attend to the club’s needs, and, fundamentally, the treasurer distributes these funds at a very fast speed. The treasurer needs to be organized, which is something I strive to be."
Next, Ruby called Clara Mesquita, the presidential candidate, to the podium and asked about her previous statement on the polls and how they made her feel, in her words, humiliated. Mesquita claimed that she did not recall such a statement and does think it is an unnecessary practice, but said she supported it if it were to bring "more views to the website" nonetheless. In a follow-up, Ruby asked about Mesquita’s tweet claiming the polls were a "sacanagem", to which the candidate replied by stating it was not fair to bring something from her private life into this conference and wondering how the representative could have understood the tweet given that she is not a fluent Portuguese speaker. Upon the imminent agitated reaction of the crowd, the exchange was promptly ended by The Daily Hawk leadership.
Following that question, João Antônio called on Julia Ribeiro to comment on the fact that she is competing with two rising seniors and whether she sees that as a disadvantage. Ribeiro commented on her two-year experience within StuCo and said that, although she recognizes that her fellow candidates would be great presidents, she believes that what matters most is not age but rather qualification.
Ruby further inquired of Magalhães if, taking into consideration his academic record, he saw himself as the best fit for the position. The candidate then stated that his record is not bad and used this opportunity to highlight that since he plans to stay in Brazil for college and not study abroad, he is not running simply for the recognition on his resume but rather for his passion for the club.
João Antônio shifted the conversation towards Vicintin, asking how he planned to ensure collaboration and communication with other clubs. The candidate briefly replied that he believes communication to be one of his main strengths and thus would have no issue regarding that aspect.
Ruby then asked Mason if he had asked for advice from his brother, Edward Mason, considering that he was StuCo president in the previous school year. The candidate replied that he looks up to his brother a lot, eliciting warm responses from the crowd, and that he has had the opportunity to collaborate alongside him as a class representative for the past two years. He then concluded by stating that having had that experience led him to aspire to be more involved with StuCo and his fellow members as treasurer.
João Antônio proceeded to ask Mesquita what specific proposals made her a great candidate, to which she replied that her main goal was to focus on community unity because "I do think that some groups are unified but it is not a community"; she mentioned the "panelinhas", as cliques are commonly referred to in Brazil, as contributors to an unhealthy environment and the worsening of some’s mental health stability, and concluded by stating that she "values every single student" and "want[s] them to feel that they have a place. Feeling that Clara’s response contradicted her previous behavior, namely arguing that Ruby could not understand Portuguese, the representative rebutted by asking the candidate to translate the word "panelinhas". This situation caused commotion and was swiftly shut down by The Daily Hawk's Editor in Chief, Beatriz Cicci. Ruby then asked a more relevant follow-up about how Mesquita proposes to unify the community specifically; the candidate replied by referring to the aforementioned Ribeiro’s idea of creating more unity-focused activities and expanding their reach to all students that might feel left out.
João Antônio continued the conversation by commenting: "Moving away from whatever that was, Giovana Muzzi, why do you think people should vote for you?". Muzzi replied by highlighting her presence in the EABH community for the past two years and that she has found a family in athletics, clubs, and a healthy classroom environment—an experience she did not have at her previous school, having come from the Brazilian system. She mentioned that students should vote for her because she would strive to promote family and community events.
Ruby then asked Loures why he believes handling finances is important and how students can know he is good at it. The candidate stated that "I believe handling finance is very important for the [sic] StuCo role because if you don't have finance, you won't know where the StuCo money is going, and so you can't be organized. I believe I will be good at handling finances because I try to organize my things well. I always put in the effort, so I'll try to do my absolute best to make sure StuCo money is going where it needs to go.
The press then allowed those in the audience to ask the candidates questions. Lucas Chen was the first to rise, and he asked Magalhães what his plans for StuCo are. The presidential candidate responded by saying that he seeks to increase student representation in the student body and increase communication between clubs and students. He also noted that since StuCo has a lot of money, they can distribute and use it more effectively to aid the other clubs in school.
The next question was asked by Bruna Cabizuca to Mesquita regarding StuCo's delay in paying back the clubs. The candidate answered by saying, "I do understand how annoying it can be. This year, StuCo had issues with time and organization. If elected, I would seek to improve that by ensuring that everyone stays within the necessary time frame".
Following, Eduardo Bonato asked Rocholi how he plans to organize the funds of other clubs, to which the treasurer contender replied by stating that the best way to do this would be to have recurring meetings with club advisors so that StuCo can better understand the necessity of each club.
Ana Quintão then asked Ribeiro about her past qualifications, to which she replied by highlighting her previous experience in StuCo as a class representative and reporter. She also noted that she is part of NJHS and MUN, two clubs that helped her grow, not only as a leader but also as a person. Concluding this, Ribeiro said that she will listen to every single student, even if they do not know her, to assure that everyone feels represented.
The final question was asked by João Quintão, inquiring all treasurers if they intended to invest StuCo's money, as a nod to Rocholi's remarks about having an investment suit. To this, Rocholi clarified that he does not think the treasurer has the power to invest StuCo's money, but he mentioned his investment suit in order to exemplify that he has experience in money management. Loures responded by saying that for StuCo, investing money is a very big risk, but if elected treasurer, he will manage the money and guarantee that it's going to the correct places. As the last response, Chase commented that he has always been interested in finances and managing money and believes StuCo can spend their money in the wisest way possible and find the right places to utilize it.
The Daily Hawk hopes that this press conference helped students understand and know more about their candidates so that they could vote more wisely in the 2023–2024 StuCo election. For anyone that would like to see the full recording of the conference, it is possible to do so through the Daily Hawk's Instagram account, @thedailyhawk.eabh, and check out all the photos here. The Daily Hawk will also be covering the Student Council election, so be sure to check out our Instagram stories and articles for the entire event.