An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Mikaela B. ’22, student body president-elect

The following excerpts are from Mikaela B. ’22’s to the Upper School student body during Lakeside’s annual student government presidential election.

I’ve been campaigning for this job since I was 8. As a little 4th grade girl, I began my campaign to become my elementary school’s student body president. After saving this poster for years and years, I didn’t know I would be given the opportunity to run again. After serving on Lakeside’s student government for the past three years, my passion lies with serving my community and fostering unity and positivity. And that starts with the LIONS initiative….

L-I-O-N-S.  L is for leniency. I  —  interconnection. O — openness. N — ”N”-joyment. And S for sustainability.

Our past academic year has been one with continued isolation and change, and with that, it is important more than ever to be lenient with ourselves throughout this period. The leniency in LIONS is a call to prioritize the mental health of the student body, place less pressure on deadlines, and dismantle the normalization of disregarding our wellbeing for academic success. We are in need of more mental health resources, and under my leadership, student government will facilitate mental health discussions with advisories, bring in mental health speakers and professionals, and give students who are passionate about these topics a platform on our Instagram, podcast, assembly time slot, and website to tell their stories and experiences. With remote learning — which has been an adjustment for teachers especially to rearrange their syllabi and coursework — I have heard and understood that many student concerns have been brought to light around this subject. The student voice is my topmost priority going forward in any leadership position, and as president, I will do everything in my power to make any student unease the center of student government and faculty conversation.

I is for interconnection. Interconnection within any student body is a must but has been challenged persistently throughout this past year. For those of us who were already at Lakeside when remote learning began, we already had the opportunity to make friends and memories with people five days a week. However, for new, incoming students, this wasn’t possible. Meeting all of your peers on Zoom where we’re muted for a good amount of class time isn’t ideal, and sometimes the stress of making awkward small talk isn’t worth it. I plan to create more ease for our incoming students by providing events where people can meet each other, cross-grade buddies, secret buddies within grades, and advisory crossovers for competitive games or activities. Student life should be a priority and part of the Lakeside experience, even from the comfort of our homes.

Openness and transparency between student government and the student body is a big determiner of success. Through various formats like surveys, advisory visits, and the new addition of an anonymous complaint mailbox, students will be able to share feedback, critiques, ideas, and general complaints, which will be reviewed by student government at every meeting. We want to know what you guys want changed around campus and without providing you ways to give feedback, we can’t make these improvements.

Enjoyment. This is one of my favorite parts of the work we do on student government, bringing enjoyment to the student body, building community, and bringing more to student life than just sports, clubs, and academics. Projects like the Great Bernie Bake-Off have shown great success and I fully intend on bringing more creativity to how we engage with students and bring you guys little moments of joy in your busy lives. Some projects include outdoor painting sessions (Bob Ross style), picnics during lunch, a student-made outdoor paint mural, and more.

Last but not least, the fifth action of LIONS — sustainability. This is an important issue, even if we’re not physically on campus. We need to make sure we’re doing our part to protect the environment and reduce our carbon footprint and currently, the emphasis on sustainability has been low. In the first phase of sustainability, student government will place compost bins located near each lunch location such as the portables, the gym, Allen-Gates, and Bliss, so that students can dispose of their lunches properly. Since we no longer have a centralized location like the WCC to sort out our waste, it is essential we reorganize. Each lunch made on campus contains plastic containers that are thrown out daily. We can solve this problem by working together to transition to completely compostable packaging and silverware. Even though our circumstances have changed, we can adapt to the current campus situation without forgetting the importance of taking steps towards an even greener campus.

Andy Bernard from The Office says “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” And before I leave this school, I want Lakeside to make up your good old days as much as possible. Now cheers to a new year of female representation and a high school experience unlike any other. Vote Mikaela B. for president!