Students get a lesson in democracy

Photo Courtesy of Mirvetk Tonuzi
Newly elected Student Council representatives Payton James, Makayah Gaskins, Katelyn Bludson, Club Advisor Charlene Johnson, Mildred Solomon, Jazlyn Gordon and Francis Ulysse stand together. Below, students sit in the auditorium, where prospective candidates gave presentations before the vote.

The walls at the Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts were adorned with posters.

Students were vying for the coveted leadership roles in the student council.

One enthusiastic participant even distributed tags, which were worn by classmates to show support for their candidacy.

After a week-long effort of self-promotion, the eighth-grade cohort gathered in the 400-seat auditorium for a final push to sway their classmates’ votes.

Each aspiring leader had a two-minute window to share their vision for the school year, accompanied by visuals displayed on a smart board—an engaging display that captured the audience’s attention.

The front row buzzed with anticipation as the candidates awaited their turn at the podium. With around 14 students competing for these sought-after roles, Charlene Johnson, the club’s advisor, set the tone, reminding the audience to show respect during the presentations.

“When they step up here, let’s show them our respect,” Johnson said. “I trust you won’t need a reminder to keep things quiet.”

Katelyn Bludson, aspiring for the chairperson committee role, started the series of presentations, followed by candidates aiming for positions like historian, secretary, treasurer, vice-president, and president.

Each candidate took their turn in the spotlight, passionately sharing their visions and ambitions to secure votes. After the presentations, students cast their votes, anticipating the announcement the next day to reveal this year’s triumphant leaders.

Commenting on the election results, Johnson expressed her enthusiasm.

“I’m very excited about the outcome of the election. Most of the student council members are honor roll students.”

When the votes were counted, Payton James was elected historian, Makayah Gaskins won the presidential race, Katelyn Bludson was selected as committee chairperson, Mildred Solomon had won the race for secretary, Jazlyn Gordon became the new treasurer, and Francis Ulysse became vice president.

In the wake of the election, Johnson intended to schedule individual meetings with each member.

“The next steps are to meet with me to discuss what each of their titles consists of and what is expected of them in their role,” Johnson said
Johnson has several planned events, including Game/Karaoke Night, Sneaker Ball, open mic/poetry night, talent show, 8th-grade social, BBQ, field trips, and a few fundraisers.

“Congratulations to all our student leaders,” Principal John English said. “It’s fantastic to witness such robust involvement in school leadership. Hopefully, this passion for participation will persist through high school.”