Candidate Kashvi Kamra
“My main role in making sure that we’re reaching out to a diverse group of students is to look at the makeup of our class council in general. I want to read every application with the same mindset knowing that my goal is to create a diverse, evenly split class council with students from all over our class.”
For those in a hurry:
- Kashvi Kamra is a candidate for Junior Class Officer. She is running on a platform of INCLUSIVITY, and hopes to bring her experience with special education students to build a diverse Class Council.
- Kamra believes that she’ll have a lot of work to do to rebuild what spirit was lost during distance learning, but also hopes to continue using Zoom to host virtual events during in-person learning to help with bondings before students even step back on campus.
- For homecoming, Kamra hopes to better publicize events that are going on, such as what the Triple Crown is, and have more input on things like class dances to increase participation.
- While prom plans for next year are uncertain at the moment, Kamra hopes to have a combo prom with the seniors as soon as conditions allow, and make it as fun as possible to celebrate the end of the pandemic.
- Above all, Kamra hopes to be the approachable candidate that anyone is willing to talk to if she is elected, and learn as the year goes on what works to make the year great for all.
Felicia: Why do you think you are the best candidate for junior class officer?
Kashvi: I can go back multiple years to see how my leadership has improved over the course of elementary school and middle school to now High School. My first true experience in leadership would be working with special education students. Back in fifth grade, during recess and lunch, I would just go to the special education classroom and hang out with them, be an assistant to a teacher of sorts. In middle school, I was in Horner ASB on the spirit commission, where we mainly had to learn how to communicate with people in the courtyard at lunch alongside all the activities we were doing. Then, in the summer of eighth grade, I volunteered at this place called Friends of Children with Special Needs. You’d get assigned to a student the ages 5-7 and elderly seniors, but they all have special needs, and you help guide them through things like dancing, arts and crafts, going to the library. That definitely kept on adding to my communication and leadership skills. And even now, this year, I’m in Irvington’s ASG, on the Public Relations Committee. It’s all led me to running for Junior Class Officer today.
Geoffrey: You’ve talked a lot about the work you’ve done with special needs children and special education. This kind of ties into this idea that when we talk about class officers, we often associate them with popular kids that don’t often reach outside their bubble. So what is one way you will gain input from your entire class?
K: My main role in making sure that we’re reaching out to a diverse group of students is to look at the makeup of our class council in general. When I’m reading applications, I don’t want to look at just the popular kids’ applications and automatically let them in. I want to read every application with the same mindset knowing that my goal is to create a diverse, evenly split class council with students from all over our class. And along with that, I’d consider myself a pretty social person. When it comes to using word of mouth, I’d be able to reach out to a lot of students, popular or not. This entire year, we’ve switched to being online, which has made it tough for some people socially, especially since it’s harder to reach out to someone through a phone. What I would do is utilize School Loop a lot more. I know that every student probably checks School Loop because of their grades.
G: Touching on COVID all of the spirit events that have been happening this year, do you think your class has unity right now? And if not, how would you improve that unity?
K: I’ve kind of noticed this ever since seventh grade, but my grade was always kind of divided into different groups. To help with unity, I think having more bondings will be essential. Whether we’re online or not next year, Zoom calls are always pretty easy to set up. And hopefully, we can get a lot of people to attend those. And even if we go back to school, it’d be super fun to safely have more bondings. Because after not seeing each other for so many months, you’d want to recreate that unity that we might have once had.
G: In terms of all these spirit events, one of the big spirit weeks that Irvington always has is homecoming. As class officer, you’re going to be planning some of the homecoming events, so what ideas do you have for homecoming? If we remain in distance learning, are there some things you want to do to improve that HOCO experience?
K: Being sophomores at the moment, we’ve only had one homecoming in person. It’s definitely important to create that memory of homecoming throughout your high school years, even if half of it happens to be online. In regards to specific ideas, one thing that really sticks out to me is class dance, because I’ve been doing dance for a long time. And I know that last year, it was just the class officers and a few other people creating the dance and then the rest of class council learned it. Dance involves a lot of creativity, and I think that engaging more students within the class dance would create, again, more unity and bonding and also just a nice dance.
F: How would you specifically organize those class dances and get the whole class to participate in them?
K: Right now, what would be ideal is everyone submits a video of them doing a dance step, and then combine it to make the class dance. I’d definitely do that next year, if it was online, to have an online sort of video made for the class dance. I think word of mouth will be super important in spreading the message that there is a class dance. I’m sure that there are a lot of dancers in our grade, or if not dancers, just people who would love to participate in it. And then it’s up to the class officers and class council to decide what we want the final dance to be.
G: Besides all of the homecoming dances, another big part of homecoming is bench building, which is another big part of class council. What plans do you have around organizing bench building? If it was virtual still, how would you go about carrying out bench building? And if it’s in-person, what differences would you make to the process?
K: I’m sure that if we had bench building in person, it still wouldn’t be the same as last year, because it’s very likely that we have to wear masks and still be distanced. We could have more locations for bench buildings, just so that there aren’t a huge amount of students at one person’s house. I know that this year, we haven’t gone too much for bench decorations because that wouldn’t really be useful for homecoming if it’s online. Even if we do end up making the props, I’d definitely have multiple zoom calls where we can make the props from home face-to-face, but screen-to-screen.
G: Typically there’s a prom associated with junior year, and class council has a part in that. Do you have any plans for that prom? Any ideas to raise money for that prom? Have you thought about that yet?
K: Prom is something that kids look forward to since whenever they find out about it. I think having a lot of fundraisers that go towards prom would be super beneficial. And although next year, we have our first prom out of the two, I think that it’s really important to create a fun first prom for everyone, especially with this year’s gap. I know that seniors—right now, they’re juniors—they don’t get a prom in-person. I think doing a combination prom, first of all, is fun for those juniors that have senior friends. But it’s also thinking about the seniors and how they don’t really have a prom in-person this year.
G: As a junior next year, it’s going to be probably the most stressful year of high school. How will you juggle your responsibilities as a class officer and help your fellow students and class council kind of jostle the responsibilities along with all the academics happening?
K: I’m pretty good at handling my time, being productive throughout the week with my work. Everything’s even on my plate, and I am able to get things done, which is something I’m definitely proud of myself for. It’s important to really balance out everything that we’re doing; don’t assign one thing to one commission. You want to make sure that everyone’s doing the same amount just so that it’s less work for each person, and they can dedicate their time to academics and their extracurriculars and the things that we’re doing within class council.
F: Based on your experience with class councils so far, are there any improvements you would like to make to the current way class council delegates tasks to certain committees, or any improvements that you want to make to the way class council is run?
K: I think that it’s great that we have such good leaders for the students in our class. Each committee has their own thing. But I think in regards to giving tasks, there’s some committees that don’t get much to do. There’s publicity where they make the flyers, and then there’s other committees where they do spirit days, but then there are also committees such as recognition and visualizations making videos. I’d definitely focus on giving each committee a task so that no group in class council feels like they have no role being in class council.
F: One of the biggest problems with class council that lots of people see is that they’re not given proper direction. What would you do to make sure that information flows properly throughout the class council, let alone getting that information to the rest of the student body?
K: Sometimes the Messenger group chat is a pretty fun place where you can talk to everyone, but it’s also really important to reinforce the importance of the group chat and how it’s to really spread the message of what’s going on. I’m a very organized person, and I’d take that organization and put it into class council and being class officer. For example, I can make monthly scheduled calendars where we have events written down on each day and stuff that’s coming up. You can also make your own personal calendar per committee so that everyone in your committee knows what’s going on. And they’re also aware of what’s going on in other committees.
F: Lots of class councils have the strike system or whatever system that they use to tally how the performance of each member. Do you have any suggestions or any thoughts on whether or not you would like to improve your current accountability system? Or perhaps do you have any new ideas for how you want to keep class council accountable?
K: Sometimes in class council, I can completely forget what gives you a strike and what doesn’t give you a strike. Class officers currently keep a spreadsheet of the strike system and who has a strike; I’d make that spreadsheet a little more easy to access so that you can keep track of your strikes. And also have certain things that can remove a strike if you do something a little extra.
G: All right. Final question that we’re asking all the candidates: is there anything that you’d like the student body to know that we haven’t talked about?
K: First of all, I thank everyone for the opportunity to run for class officer. If we’re talking about experience, I have a lot in the past. In general, I’m a pretty approachable leader. I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to learn something from running because even before campaigning, we already learned so much from just applying and the application, the interviews, and speaking to other people. Overall, I’m definitely grateful that I applied because it’s a learning experience for me, and hopefully, I will do a good job being class officer next year, if I get the position.