The Road to Success in Class Elections

Chloe Flynn, Author

As all of Gibbons knows, the 2023 class elections have just come to a close. This year was record-breaking, with over fifty students running for class office or student council positions. This prompted a large portion of the class of 2027 to campaign through the halls for weeks, handing out whatever candy they could get their hands on in exchange for students’ precious votes. Just like the political division in the United States, there is a social division within the eighth grade, though on a much smaller scale. Therefore, some students have applauded the victories of their beloved peers, while others were left to crinkle their noses at the results of the election. Losing candidates sit and wonder, “How did they do it? How did they manage to get so many votes?”

As an eighth grader, Luca Rice (she/they) is about to finish her career at Gibbons. You may recognize her by her short brown hair, wide eyes, and bubbly demeanor. She enjoys reading and playing basketball, and has been a volunteer at the  Westborough Public Library for over two years. Luca always has a smile on her face and, as she puts it, is just “a chill dude.” Last summer, she spent her time volunteering at a daycare to help children in need. Her next pursuit was to run for class vice president, and after weeks of campaigning, the victory was hers. Luca is accompanied by the soft-spoken Raegan Mullen (she/her). Over the years, Raegan has become a familiar face all over town. You may have seen her playing sports here in Westborough. In her free time, Reagan likes to read and babysit. Now, she carries the important responsibility of class treasurer.


You may be asking yourself what would provoke somebody to run for a class office. Why would anyone want to spend hours setting up a campaign specifically designed to make others like them, just to carry the pressure of making their entire grade’s high school experience fun? People like Raegan and Luca, however, have found meaning in running for class office. Raegan feels the need to be more involved in the school’s decision making. “I wanted to help improve our high school experience,” she explained. Judging by her incentive, it seems that Raegan can’t just sit still and watch life pass her by. Now that she is elected treasurer, Raegan has the power to prioritize the parts of high school that the class of 2027 holds dear. As you may have guessed from her various volunteer positions, Luca finds it important to be a part of her community. “I wanna make a positive impact on the school, and I think that by running, I made those dreams possible,” she stated. Both elected officials hope to use their power as an outlet to improve the Westborough community. 


When she assumes the role of vice president, it will be Luca’s duty to work with class officers across multiple grades and the entire student council. She will communicate and convey information between the two to make sure there is no confusion, especially within the large student council. In her words, her purpose is to make sure that “it all goes smoothly.” As treasurer, Raegan will manage the school’s budget. She will decide how much money goes into each factor of the high school experience. To do this, she will need to look to the student body for their preferences. 


In past years, elected officials have not carried out their duty as readily their peers had hoped. Some officers, however, have felt at home in their position and fulfilled the requests of the student body. Raegan thinks that she is a good fit for treasurer because of her past experience. She described how she has multiple family members in finance who, over the years, have taught her how to handle money. “I think that’ll hopefully pay off while doing this job,” she expressed. In her election speech, she even joked how she always has more money than her sister because she handles it responsibly. Raegan voiced that she understands how important it is to have someone reliable managing money, and believes that it is in good hands with her. To explain how she feels suited for the position of vice president, Luca referenced her time playing on sports teams. “I feel like I’m very good at teamwork,” she reflected, “which I feel is important for this job and the communication.” Luca reckons that to fulfill the role of vice president, a person should be organized, clear, and straightforward. She hopes to take these characteristics with her throughout the school year.


Besides their already established reputation, one of the most important factors in winning an election is a student’s campaign approach. After all, a lot of the grade makes up their minds even before the speeches are delivered. How does a candidate present themself? Are they brazen and outspoken, or quiet and considerate? Luca and Raegan displayed a mix of both when they explained how they structured their campaigns. “Well, I kinda bribed people,” Luca joked. “I gave them candy.” She also figured that it would do her justice to create a memorable slogan. It ended up being Rice for Vice, “which is dear to my heart,” she stated. Rather than fearing losing, she changed her mindset and stayed positive throughout her entire campaign, always making an effort to put herself out there. Raegan thought it was important to have good advertising. She described how she put her poster in a location where many people passed through. “I think that paid off,” she concluded.


The campaign leading up to the election makes a large impact, but a candidate’s speech can make or break everything. When asked how she approached writing her speech, Luca chuckled. “Um so… I actually wrote it in math class on the back of my math paper,” she answered. She made sure to include what she thought were her best qualities. She also asked for feedback from the people she looks up to, like her mom, and their input gave her confidence in her speech. Raegan had a more meticulous strategy for writing her speech. “I wrote a list of things that I thought that a good treasurer would need to do,” she stated. She wrote down her best traits, as well. She took these resources and used them to formulate her speech. Then, similarly to Luca, Raegan had her friends and family read it and give their input.


It is clear that both Luca and Raegan made sure to stay true to their beliefs during their campaign. However, they were both more critical about their actions to ensure as many votes as possible. Luca gave an example of this involving her interactions with her friends. She expressed that when you are close enough with someone, you can poke fun at them without offending them. Before the election, however, she was extra careful about what she said because she did not want someone to hear it out of context and think that she was being hurtful. Raegan made a point that having as many connections as possible is key. She asked her friends to get her name out tell people to vote for her, which created a community surrounding her campaign. Raegan mentioned that she talked to new people, whose votes she may not have gotten otherwise. 


On the day that they were elected, Raegan and Luca received an email telling them to run a booth for the Westborough music festival on June 16th. Luca explained that the class officers needed to get together and organize this event. “We had to meet up, figure out where everyone was, and how we could meet up.” She voiced how complicated this was, especially considering that all of the class officers have different beliefs and motives. “I kinda had a stronger appreciation for people who work at the school,” Luca noted. Raegan agreed, adding that it takes a lot of effort to coordinate everyone’s schedule and communicate important information.


Since the majority of the class officers had different campaign approaches and intentions from Raegan and Luca, it has been a challenge for the two of them to get their points across. Nonetheless, they stay assertive and optimistic about the authority that they earned. “We will work together,” Luca said. “If ever there’s a time where it’s us against each other that’s where it will go bad.”


Luca and Raegan have worked to attain some control over the decisions made in the high school. They each have their own mission for next year, a goal to work towards. Raegan hopes to bring some life to the school. She’s focusing on making high school as magical as possible. She noted that some school events can be boring, and wants to increase the level of effort put into these events. Below the surface, it appears that Raegan wants to make an impact on people by changing their attitudes. “The biggest thing I live by is, it’s kinda cringey, but treat people the way you want to be treated,” she smiled. Luca also wishes to change attitudes in our school, and, as she puts it, become an “educator.” “I’ve seen firsthand some very crude things being done or said within the school,” Luca stated. She spoke about how many kids in her grade use slurs and derogatory language without knowing how they harm the people around them. It is clear that Luca wants to denormalize the usage of these terms and help others gain respect for their peers. “That to me is really important,” she expressed.


As for their future plans, both Luca and Raegan brought up the possibility of running again, depending on how this year goes. Luca even exercised the prospect of running for president. In this case, she would be running to defend the very influential position of president, and making sure it is in the hands of someone who is reliable. Raegan played around with the idea of taking a year off, and trying some other clubs; however, running again is still in the cards for her. 


Whether it comes from the need for an impressive résumé, bragging rights, or the true desire to improve the community, everyone has a different motive when running for class election. Sure, some students may be swayed by a piece of gum received in class or a funny speech. However, when determining a good elected official it really comes down to their moral beliefs, which will ultimately affect their actions. It looks like both the elected treasurer, Raegan Mullen, and the elected vice president, Luca Rice, have high hopes for the coming school year. They plan to hold true to their values and consider the opinions of the student body. A year from now, the class of 2027 will be able to see the effects of their votes for themselves. Who knows what Westborough High School will look like in a year? “Hopefully it’s epic,” Luca remarked. But only the elected officials, and most importantly, the voices of the student body, can make that dream come true.