Agarwal and Nornberg elected SBPs

Mayanka Dhingra, Staff Writer

Isha Agarwal (11) and Roey Nornberg (11) were elected Upper Division (UD) Student Body Presidents (SBPs) for the 2019-2020 school year.

The race was between six pairs of candidates and kicked off on Monday afternoon with an I period forum, where each of the pairs presented their platform in a Q&A style assembly facilitated by current SBPs Nader Granmayeh (12) and Janvi Kukreja (12).

In previous years, an assembly was dedicated to the candidates presenting their platforms. Last year, the administration decided to replace it with an I period forum to avoid the process becoming about “who put on the best show,” Stephanie Feigin Dean of the Class of 2020 said.

Granmayeh and Kukreja emailed the first forum question to the candidates last weekend for the pairs to begin considering why they chose to run with their partners. 

“I chose to run with Isha because she is kind and responsible,” Nornberg said, “She’s involved in many clubs such as East Wind West Wind and Science Olympiad, and she has served on the CC for three years.”

For Agarwal, Nornberg was the right running mate due to his public speaking skills from Model UN and leadership experience in programs like Horace Mann Orientation (HMO), Upper Division Orientation (UDO), and his past two years as co-president of the Class of 2020, she said.

In order to be considered, each candidate pair had to recieve 25 student signatures from each of the four grades, according to an email from Feigin.

Feigin believes that this year’s election in particular stood out due to the variety of different students who had teamed up to work together, each with a real vested interest in bettering the community, she said.

Nornberg set his sights on becoming SBP because of the ability to bring about bigger change, he said.

Rosy Arora (10) voted for Agarwal and Nornberg due to their combined experience of five years in student government, she said. “Not only are they already familiar with student government system, they also are both involved in different sets of activities, allowing them to connect with a broad base of student body,” said Arora.

Agarwal and Nornberg’s platform rested on three main pillars: diversity, student life, and a caring community.

To celebrate the community’s diverse demographics, Agarwal and Nornberg proposed a World Expo day that will teach students more about other cultures, in addition to initiatives to enhance student life such as increasing school spirit and promoting intramural sports. 

For Chandler Reyes (9) a good SBP needs to have a strong personality. Their most challenging, yet important job, is making themselves known and standing as representatives not just for their grade, but for the whole upper school, he said.

Agarwal and Nornberg also hope to use their positon to bring about change that comes directly from the students themselves, Agarwal said.

In order to achieve this goal, Agarwal and Nornberg proposed holding public forums, providing student feedback services, and working with student governments at other schools.

For Delanty, working closely with the SBPs provides her with constant updates about what students are thinking and “the pulse of the school,” in general, she said. 

Spanish teacher Michael Dalo, who will be stepping into Delanty’s position as Dean of Students next year and has taught Agarwal for two years, said he is impressed by Agarwal’s dedication, maturity, and organization, and looks forward to helping to implement the SBP’s new ideas for fostering more growth, unity, and enjoyment in the community.

English teacher Adam Casdin said what struck him about working with Nornberg in 10th grade English, was Nornberg’s joy in tackling tough questions, a quality that will serve him well as SBP.

The SBP’s play a really important role in setting the tone for the school year and its important that they bring all grades together from the start, Kukreja, said.

Suraj Khakee (11) voted for Nornberg because of his personable character and efforts to reach out to members of the UD community, including underclassmen, he said.

“The new elects should also remember that role of SBP is not just random initiatives, but at its core it’s being the people that adults, inside and outside the school, look to and say this is who represents the student body,” said Kukreja’s co-SBP Nader Granmayeh (12).

“SBPs lead by example. At their best, SBPs embody what it looks like to care deeply about the HM community, addressing student needs and adding positively to the student experience,”  Head of the Upper Division Dr. Jessica Levenstien said.

Agarwal and Nornberg already have plans to address the issue of stress at the school by increasing communication between students and the administration and continuing traditions such as Project X in addition to other fun games throughout the school year, Agarwal said.

“With being SBP comes a certain level of responsibility in communicating effectively with students and administration, and it’s a responsibility that we want to take on,” Nornberg said.