Student Government Presidential Debate


Debate Live Stream Snapshot

Candidates sit in the EHS auditorium waiting to hear the next question.

Katie Adams, Staff Writer

On  April 4th, 2022, the presidential candidates for the EHS student body presidential race sat down for a debate on the auditorium stage. The ballot this year is junior-heavy, with only one pair of sophomores in the running, and one junior-sophomore combination. Kira Giummo, who won the presidential seat last year with running mate Eli Bostwick, moderated. 

The ballot consists of four pairs of juniors, Maddie Ahmadi & Lona Davis (@maddie.lona2022), Darren Hankey & Kieran Stokes, Maddy Holcomb & Eve Brzoza (@maddyandeve.2022), and Darrian Michaelides & Nathan Lesny (@darrian_nathan_4prezzy). Wes Pitcher, a junior, and Jenna Hirschman, a sophomore, are running as president and vice president (@wesley.jenna2022). Sophomore pair, Chase Wignall and Max Spaeder, are as well (@chase_max.2022). 

Only the potential presidents debated, with their running mates sitting in the wings of the auditorium as support. 

Maddie Ahmadi, running with Lona Davis, strongly affirmed their connections with administration throughout the debate, along with equity and ensuring a proper high school experience for all, “I want to be president because I am passionate about ensuring that every student has the high school experience that they desire. I think it’s really necessary that we have equitable access to education, and that we support school activities like athletics and the arts, and I feel as though I have access to people who can make that happen, and I know the certain things that I need to implement to make all of those things come true.” Throughout the debate, Ahmadi reinforced the fact that she and Davis have a plethora of connections to administration, the school board, as well as many extra-curricular clubs and activities. She focused on the notion that her and Davis’ priority is to actually affect change and deliver on the promises made to students during their candidacy through their relationships with different levels of leadership throughout the district. She appealed to her experience on the school board and how that has given her insight into how to get things done and be efficient in office. 

Darren Hankey, running with Kieran Stokes, was seated next to Ahmadi. Throughout the debate, he spoke about the divide that exists between the student body and the school’s administration: “My goal is to create a more connected high school between the administration and the students, because a lot of the kids here don’t even know who the principal is. He also spoke about his goals to encourage diversity within the student body, “…we’re aiming to make the school more diverse and encourage diversity.” Together with Stokes, Hankey plans to implement justice systems for minority students who need support if they feel uncomfortable or unsafe. He opened up about his own experiences with racism at EHS, and wants to implement these programs, so that students have a safe place to talk about these real issues with trusted adults. Hankey drove home the point that he and Stokes have strong connections with the students at the school, and want to engage with the student body face-to-face rather than being distant and unavailable. 

Maddy Holcomb & Eve Brzoza are the third pair of juniors running for president and vice president. Holcomb’s campaign centered largely around student support systems and the importance of prioritizing mental health, “I truly deeply care for every student here at EHS, even if I don’t physically know them, because I believe that every student deserves the right to feel safe in their environment and this school is where they need that space.” Both Holcomb and Brzoza have training in mental health awareness and procedure, and plan to implement more support systems that advocate for student mental health and to safely and comfortably get students the help that they need. Holcomb talked about the dynamic partnership between herself and Brzoza and how they are “…not afraid to see differences and disagree.” They are both actively involved in multiple student clubs and activities such as athletics, peer helpers, and student government, and are open to suggestions from students on their Instagram page. 

As the final pair of juniors in the race, Darrian Michaelides & Nathan Lesny are focused and determined to fix the everyday issues that students at EHS face. “Our number one priority as presidents will be to get rid of the problems that people face everyday. So some of these can be parking or can be lunches. Just things that people struggle with everyday. That’s what we will aim to fix.” Michaelides spoke about the connections that both Lesny and himself have with the student body through activities and sports, as well as their connections with administration and ability to get things done. He talked about his goals to make the school a better place in a practical sense, focusing on the small and large ways that he and Lesny aim to make a change. 

Wes Pitcher and Jenna Hirschman, the junior-sophomore pair, did not shy away from the disconnect between administration and students, as well as the disconnect between administration and teachers. Their campaign focuses on the importance of mental health, along with bridging the disconnect between the administration and the students. Pitcher spoke about an initiative to implement more support for student mental health through supplying students with more support staff, like counselors and therapists. Their campaign focuses on delivering on the promises that they both made to the student body: “These are promises that we are making to you. We have spoken to the principals, and know that these things can happen, and we are more than willing to put in all of the time and effort that we need to help the student body to the fullest extent.” Pitcher and Hirschman represent both underclassmen and upperclassmen, and are focused on putting the maximum amount of effort and time to make the changes that they have promised to the student body. 

One of Chase Wignall and Max Spaeder’s goals is to help EHS become a more spirited, inclusive, and a kind school. However, their main priority is senior privileges: “If elected, my number one priority will be to solidify all senior privileges for future classes, and to make sure that those privileges are not taken away.” Wignall addressed the fact that both he and Spaeder are sophomores, and will advocate for both upperclassmen and lowerclassmen through their connections with each of the classes. Wignall addressed a new initiative to get student input through weekly meeting times during Flex Block as well.  

Unfortunately, due to an error, the live stream was cut short before all planned questions had been asked. A Hive correspondent was present to record the candidates’ answers to the last two questions.

The first of these questions asked what the candidates would do to improve school spirit. Maddie Ahmadi and Lona Davis cited the issue being the lack of knowledge about events within the student body. They promised that if elected, they would aim to notify the student body about upcoming events. Darren Hankey & Kieran Stokes answered that the issue lies in student discontentment in even coming to school and the disunity between students. They promised to improve school unity and make the changes necessary to make school a more enjoyable and inclusive experience. Maddy Holcomb & Eve Brzoza want to implement more pep rallies and opportunities for students to bond with each other. Darrian Michaelides & Nathan Lesny want to eliminate the strict rules surrounding homecoming and other school events. Wes Pitcher and Jenna Hirschman believe that the issue lies in disunity as well as issues with safety. They want students to feel safe at school events and believe that improving safety will lead to more student participation, and more school spirit. Chase Wignall and Max Spaeder plan to implement monthly spirit days, as well as spirit weeks leading up to breaks and other important school events. 

Each presidential candidate finished the debate with closing remarks. Maddie Ahmadi encouraged each student to vote, regardless of their stance. “No matter who you are voting for, please just vote. This is a great opportunity to use your voice. I want students to have input in who is leading their school.” Hankey left off with the bold statement, “I think we all know who the right candidate to vote for is, so I’ll pass this on.” Holcomb ended with a statement about her commitment to listening to the students who are unheard at EHS. Michaelides reiterated the importance of getting out and voting, especially for him and Lesny because they are devoted to making the school a better place. Pitcher shot back at Hankey stating, “I think DJ is crazy, the right candidate is me and Jenna…both of us are here for [the students].” Wignall was the last person to make a statement, “Vote Chase and Max for 2022.”

Elections are happening April 11th and 12th outside of the cafeteria during all lunch periods. Ballots will be counted by Student Government after school on the 12th. All students have the ability to vote, including seniors.