10 Questions: Celia Mitchell (’15) and Dariush Yazdanpanah (’15)

Describe the other using a quote or a metaphor.

Celia Mitchell (CM): Daz is: “Strong as rock, but not as strong as ice. Cannot be cracked.”

Dariush Yazdanpanah (DY): Celia is epitomized by the quote: “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”

What inspires you in this job?

CM: I’ve been on Student Council (StuCo) for three years now, and I think something that can get lost along the way that inspires me to want to be a huge part of StuCo are the changes that we can actually implement and the power we are actually given. We are truly this group that can motivate, facilitate change, and inspire others in our High School.

What don’t you know? What scares you?

DY: What scares me is receiving criticism from the student body. We need to make sure we are perceived in the correct way by everyone. I don’t want people to be negative or to think that we can’t handle our roles.

CM: Or that StuCo doesn’t do anything. There’s nothing worse than your beliefs and your desires for everything this could be to just kind of waste away or never fully be seen. I think there’s always the unknown in terms of the limit of what we can and should do.

Where did the council fail last year?

CM: I think we failed in, or need to improve in, maintaining that connection with the student body because often there’s an image of StuCo that the students don’t necessarily want to be that involved in what we do. To have that connection in which students are happy to come up and tell us what they would love to have changed and to fully foster that community spirit is something we can always work on. There are more things to do than just have two events and I think that’s where we can push ourselves next year.

DY: It’s still frustrating for me to be asked the same question: ‘What exactly does StuCo do?’ We’re not taken seriously enough; that’s a main failure of ours at the moment. We aren’t appreciated enough. It’s not about blaming that perception on someone, but I think sometimes the way we come across in front of the school doesn’t reflect the hard work we put in.

How do you think the average ASL student would describe StuCo and the work it does?

DY: I think the average ASL student would say: ‘StuCo just plans events.’ They wouldn’t really know about the initiatives we do to improve ASL. They would think of us as a party planner.

In a year’s time, how do you hope the average ASL student would describe StuCo and the work it does?

DY: Reliable. Most importantly, that we get the things they want done.

CM: Useful. People in the past, such as The Standard, have questioned the usefulness of StuCo and whether or not we are a necessity in the High School. We want to exhibit to the student body that it is important to have that group that ties everyone together and works to keep that community together.

Do you believe that StuCo is granted enough power by the administration?

CM: I do. I think that [Principal Jack] Phillips and [Dean of Students Joe] Chodl have been extremely welcoming and are two parts of the administration that have always wanted to be involved and support us in our endeavors. We are always the ones that the administration looks to first; for example, with the interviews for applicants for the Director of Student Life. The power that we are given and the capabilities that we have are extremely immense and we need to take advantage of that. What the students want is what we push for, and [the administrators] always accept.

What are your thoughts on the StuCo officer election process?

CM: For years, the argument has been that for officer positions the student body doesn’t necessarily know the work that each representative does within the council and therefore it’s better for the council to simply vote on who earns those roles. Then, of course, the counter-argument is that representatives who are potential candidates should be able to present their work to the High School and be recognized by their peers and not just by their grade representatives. The first argument is the safer one. The presidential elections this year were extremely close, and it’s daunting to think that the 400-or-so kids in the High School could decide that, but we are always open to opinions of the student body and if that’s what they think is best, we could take that into consideration.

DY: I don’t think the voting process should be turned into a popularity contest. That’s the big risk when you open it up to the High School student body.

What’s most different about this year’s StuCo team from last year’s?

DY: The spirit within the council is much better. Last year, it took us a very long time to really gel and become one, but this time, we all get along very well and are pretty much all friends in there. Meetings are a very nice place to be.

What does your dream StuCo look like?

DY: My dream StuCo is a group of highly motivated students who are efficient and have ideas and the ability to execute them. The ability to execute is something we have had a problem with in previous years. There have been very good ideas but not people who could see them through. We want to be a group who has solutions to the problems that students bring to us.

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