Election Convention


Karolyn Maeda

Current ASB president Jean Meyer takes the stage and gives a short introductory speech.

Nicole Chen, Staff Writer

UHS hosted its 31st annual Election Convention on Monday, March 21st, which determined the next school year’s student leadership on the Associated Student Body (ASB). During conventions, current ASB members ask candidates multiple rounds of questions, all submitted by student delegates. All candidates running for a position answered in succession and were given 30 to 45 seconds to answer, in a rapid presidential debate-like style. Unlike last year’s convention, where delegates voted based on a live broadcast, this year’s convention marked a return to the original tradition, with the theater packed with all two hundred plus delegates and candidates.

The convention kicked off with the pledge and the national anthem, sung by sophomore Rowan Olson, a member of the UHS choir. Current ASB president, Jean Meyer, then took the stage and gave a short introductory speech before handing it off to Dr. Astor, who emphasized the responsibility that the delegates and candidates in the room carried.

In each round, all candidates were asked two questions. Some were standard and predictable, while others were confusing and ambiguous, forcing candidates to think quickly on their feet.

Juniors Daniel Delpassand and Sumunaa Gnanashanmugam, who ran for Student Activities Coordinator (SAC), took the stage first. Besides the traditional questions, the two were also asked to read out a sample weekly announcement. In one of the most puzzling developments of the day, they were asked to interpret the quote, “In real life, I assure you, there is no such thing as algebra,” and apply their interpretation to their approach to the SAC role. Despite this, both passed the rounds of questioning with ease until a majority was met in the second round of voting.

 They were followed by Spirit and Rally Commissioner candidates, Michael Dougherty, Eunee Hong and Jana Salam. The candidates represented a range of different students at UHS: Dougherty is a junior, Hong is new to the school this year and Salam is a sophomore. Hong was eliminated after the first round of voting and a majority was met at the end of the second round.

The competition for Girls’ Sports Liaison was one of the fiercest, with three candidates going head to head: juniors Sydney Gaw, Kate Stenta and sophomore class president Anna Gubin. The questions they were given targeted their abilities to advocate for underrepresented sports and ideas for increasing publicity to further promote sports. By the second round, Gubin was eliminated. However, the results remained highly unpredictable until the very end.

On the boys’ side, junior Aidan Christie and sophomores Max Dreben and Sanghyuk Im ran for Boys’ Sports Liaison. All three stayed in running until Im was eliminated after the second round of voting, leaving Christie and Dreben in the third round. Like the SAC candidates, they too got to take on their desired position for a few brief moments as they were asked to give a mock announcement introducing athletes for the winter season.

In the most contentious, and arguably the most anticipated race of the day, the fight for the seat of Clubs Commissioner remained in flux until the final announcement. Candidates Bryan Tran, Varin Gupta and Mark Zakharyan faced a series of puzzling questions, including what spell the candidates would cast on the school if they were a wizard—to which Zakharyan replied “Kaynefication.” In the final round, the candidates picked a random object out of a miscellaneous pile and were asked to relate it to themselves and their goals, leading to some ingenious metaphorical comparisons. Zakharyan connected his object of choice, a graphing calculator, to the importance of having a good statistical background in differentiating between relevant and irrelevant data. Tran, with his box of colored pencils, drew an analogy between the blending of colors and blending of interests to form one complete picture. Finally, Gupta, holding up a pinecone, proclaimed how his support of clubs would nurture the seeds sown in the present for the students of the future.

Finally, the wrestle between candidates for the position of Vice President mirrored one that would typically be expected for President. Running unopposed, junior Ryan Alavi won the position of ASB President in mere minutes in the first round. On the other hand, candidates Joshua Zhou, Kassidy Leem and Shannon Hegarty took on numerous rounds of questions evaluating their capabilities as leaders. The three were asked how they would settle disputes between ASB members and how they would manage a hypothetical dilemma on the night before Spirit Night.

After each round of questioning, delegates voted for their selected candidate. Voting was carried out through Chromebooks, handed out by senior council members, allowing for a quick and seamless process. After the votes of all candidates came to a majority, Meyer came back to the stage to announce the winners. The “elected seven” for the 2022-2023 school year are Ryan Alavi as President, Joshua Zhou as Vice President, Daniel Delpassand as SAC, Michael Dougherty as Spirit and Rally Commissioner, Sydney Gaw as Girls’ Sports Commissioner, Aidan Christie as Boys’ Sports Commissioner and Varin Gupta as Clubs Commissioner.