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    • Ella Zuse ’21 gives her speech for Student Council President via the Hopkins Virtual Assembly. Photo by Ella Zuse

    • Cartoon by Emmett Dowd '21

Hopkins Elects New Student Council President Amid School Closure

Aanya Panyadahundi '23, Assistant News Editor
This year’s Student Council (StuCo) presidential election was one of the first major all-school events affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic; nonetheless, the Hopkins student body elected Ella Zuse '21 as the 2020-2021 Student Council President.
Yahn Galinovsky ’21 also competed for the role of StuCo President. Both candidates recorded speeches which were added into the April 16 Virtual Assembly instead of the usual presentation during Assembly. The day following the release of the Virtual Assembly video, Friday April 17, the ballots were open for students to cast their votes from 2:30-3:30 during Advisory. There was also no campaigning allowed, in person or online. Outgoing StuCo President Katherine Takoudes ’20 predicted that “candidates will need to earn their votes through their speeches, which will be difficult because realistically not everyone is going to watch the Virtual Assembly.”  

Galinovsky was concerned with making his speech through video: “I’m more of a people person and communicating my ideas and personality is definitely harder when I don’t see them.” Zuse was also disappointed to hear she would not be taking part in the Hopkins tradition of delivering her speech in Assembly and making posters to hang around campus. “The campaign posters are also a very fun part of the election process and I love seeing how creative everyone is,” she further explained. But, Zuse made the best of an unavoidable situation: “Katherine, Dr. Bynum, and the administration have been doing a great job with the virtual assemblies and I’m excited for the student body to be able to view our speeches that way.”

Galinovsky and Zuse came into the election with different levels of experience. Zuse attended her first StuCo meeting in eighth grade and was this year’s Junior Class President. Galinovsky, who was previously not as politically involved with the Hopkins student body, was enthusiastic to bring a new perspective to Student Council. 

In her speech, Zuse said she wanted “to have the same impact on the student body that former Student Council presidents have had on [her].” She further explained that, “The Student Council president is always someone that I have looked up to and seen as a role model. I hope that I can help younger students with their ideas in the same way that former presidents have helped me.” As the new StuCo president, Zuse “want[s] to keep the same traditions that make Hopkins so special but also reimagine some so that they are more appealing and convenient for students.” These ideas include a new Holiday Ball, a school-wide Spikeball tournament, and new ideas for the annual Connecticut Food Bank Fundraiser. Furthermore, Zuse also believes it is a president's role to “help other organizations on campus accomplish their goals. As president, [she] hopes to promote the work that many of our clubs and activities are doing on campus.” 

Galinovsky focused his candidacy on strengthening the connection between the Student Council and the general Hopkins community. He stated, “I want to bring in fresh ideas since I’m someone who was not too involved in the political arena here at Hop, ideas that I’ve heard and seen other students express.” One of Galinovsky’s leading campaign promises was to represent the different facets of the student body as he believes “true leaders are people that are willing to hear what others have to say without rushing to judgement.” They are “patient, genuine, have a strong desire to understand the thoughts and feelings of the people they are representing, and communicate openly and often.” Galinovsky wanted to make “[Hopkins’] school spirit and [social events], like dances and fundraisers… a defining feature of the student body at Hopkins, leading to more fun and memorable experiences.”

StuCo President-elect Zuse is taking on a demanding role at Hopkins. According to Takoudes, “There are really two facets to the job: what happens behind the scenes and what everyone sees.” The role of StuCo president consists of “running StuCo meetings, meeting with class presidents and StuCo advisers, creating spreadsheets, selling tickets, calling food trucks, etc.” Takoudes explains, “I [did] all of this so the second part of my job - the part everyone sees - [went] as smoothly as possible.” The visible parts of this position involve, “hosting and planning all-school Assemblies, running events and dances, posting on the StuCo Insta[gram account] (@hopstudentcouncil), making announcements at Jschool lunches, and donating tens of thousands of dollars to the [Connecticut] Food Bank.”

We look forward to the new ideas and activities of StuCo under Zuse’s leadership. Congratulations on a well-earned win. 


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