Former S.O. Presidents: Where Are They Now?

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Former S.O. Presidents: Where Are They Now?

Julia Lauer, Bronx Science Class of 2016

Julia Lauer, Bronx Science Class of 2016

Julia Lauer, Bronx Science Class of 2016

Julia Lauer, Bronx Science Class of 2016

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At the start of second semester, while the majority of Bronx Science students are recovering from midyears and getting excited for their upcoming vacations, a small population of students are focused on just one thing: becoming student organization leaders.

In 2018, February 7th and 8th were the kickoff dates for the much anticipated Student Organization (S.O.) Election season. The interest meetings always bring in multitudes of intrigued students, some of whom just want to check it out, and others who have been dreaming of presidency since their freshman year.

While tens of students walk into those February meetings, only five of them will come out of the process at the end of March as part of the S.O.. Each election season produces one Junior School Leadership Team (JSLT) Representative, one Senior Council President, one S.O. Secretary, one S.O. Vice President, and— of course— one S.O. President. As the candidates all know, getting elected to any one of these positions is no easy task.

The rules for who can run for certain positions are fairly simple: only sophomores can run for JSLT, and only juniors can run for Senior Council President. Though there are no written rules about the other three positions, it is an unspoken courtesy to leave the President and Vice President positions to juniors and the Secretary position to sophomores. This is how it has been for years, but what is much more important than who the President is, is what they do in office.

For S.O. Presidents past, present, and future, campaign work is just the beginning of the responsibilities these students have during their year-long terms. As the official 2017-2018 Elections Packet describes, “The President is responsible for representing the student body at meetings with the school leadership […], executing any plans he or she deems essential, ensuring that the purpose of the S.O. is being achieved […], overseeing and ensuring the success of all cabinet activities and initiatives, whether part of their platform or someone else’s.” So why do they do it? Looking at how successful they become after being part of the S.O., it is clear the job helps them in one way or another.

During the 2015-2016 school year, Julia Lauer ‘16 was S.O. President. “ It’s no secret that I had my issues with Bronx Science, but […] I’ve always held a firm conviction that this school shapes every person who comes into it. […] The issues that I raised had more to do with Bronx Science not living up to its full potential than somehow failing in its mission. The way that I saw it, I could take one of two approaches: 1) accept the status quo and continue to complain to deaf ears, or 2) run for President, proudly understanding that I may lose just as I did a year earlier in my campaign for Secretary,” Lauer said. Lauer is now studying Government at Harvard University and continues to use the skills that she learned as president in her studies. “Something I believed then – and believe even more strongly now – is that you should be willing to criticize and question the things you care about, otherwise you’ll never see them grow,” Lauer explains.

Adam Shaham, Class of ’17

Sabrina Raouf, Class of ’18

2016-2017 S.O. President, Adam Shaham ’17, had a similar experience. Shaham was very active in student government long before reaching the president status. In his junior year, Shaham was the S.O. Secretary, a role that prepared him well for his responsibilities as president. Though it was an exorbitant amount of work, Shaham says he could not have loved his presidency more. He even made his senior yearbook quote a tribute to his beloved S.O. Suggestion Box.  

Currently taking a gap year before joining the Georgetown Class of 2022, Shaham is using most, if not all, of the skills that he developed as president. While he is enjoying his gap year immensely, Shaham cannot wait to take on Washington D.C.

Shaham is not the only student who ran for president as an S.O. incumbent. Current S.O. President, Sabrina Raouf ‘18, followed the same path. “Before Adam, we had a running joke in Cabinet that the Secretary position was cursed, since no one who was Secretary ended up becoming President. Adam broke that curse,” said Raouf. Everyone who got the chance to work with Shaham loved him, and the same goes for Raouf. From her infectious positive attitude to her incredible self-written and performed raps, praise for Raouf can be heard anywhere and everywhere within Bronx Science.

As she gets ready to attend Stanford University next fall, Raouf reflects on her time in the S.O. and tries to savor her last few days of presidency. “[Stanford] still feels like a dream. I think the biggest thing I’ve learned from being Secretary and President has been learning how to reach out communicate with others. It feels really bittersweet. I’ve made so many good memories here, and it’s a little hard to move on from that. I think that the last thing that I want to do is to make sure that next year’s S.O. is ready to top what we’ve been able to do this year. I’m confident in Artea and strongly believe that next year will be great,” Raouf said. As Raouf prepares to leave, the next S.O. President, Artea Brahaj ‘19 is getting ready to enter office.

From Harvard to Georgetown to Stanford, it is obvious how incredible the futures of S.O. Presidents are. Running and serving takes a strong work-ethic, constant charisma, and intense perseverance, but those who succeed have a lot to show for it. Bronx Science is forever indebted to Lauer, Shaham, and Raouf for all of their hard work, as it surely will be to Brahaj after she serves next year. The only question is who is next? Will it be you?

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