Hate can’t drive out hate, only East can

Coverage of the senior class election

Posing+for+photo+is+President+Alejandro+Zarate+and+Vice-President+Carolynn+Luong.
Posing for photo is President Alejandro Zarate and Vice-President Carolynn Luong.

Posing for photo is President Alejandro Zarate and Vice-President Carolynn Luong.

Elaina Rothmayer

Elaina Rothmayer

Posing for photo is President Alejandro Zarate and Vice-President Carolynn Luong.

Abby Folkerts, Editor in Chief

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With the start of a new school year, comes a new and eager group of seniors with one goal in mind: positively leading East High School and creating change for the betterment of students and staff. Seven presidential candidates ran for office in this year’s annual senior class election. Ambitious for the support of students, each campaign drew in followers by passing out buttons, cupcakes, cookies, flyers, and creating catchy videos that were shown to students in their Scarlet Blocks.

After a few short weeks of campaigning, voting day arrived on Thursday, September 14. This was the day a link to an online poll was sent out to students through Infinite Campus, and various social media outlets. What was supposed to be a fair and honest election, however, quickly drew controversy when it was brought to attention that students from outside of East interfered with the results by voting under names of various East High students. What was supposed to be a fun rivalry between a close knit group of classmates, ended up creating chaos among all parties involved.

The winners of the election, President Alejandro Zarate and Vice-President Carolynn Luong, are working diligently to set everything aside, and unite the East High student body.

“I feel like we are already united, it’s just enhancing it. I don’t want individual groups, I want everyone to know that we are all together,” Zarate said.

When Zarate heard the exciting news that he had prevailed in this year’s election, he was stunned. “I was honestly shocked,” Zarate said when he heard of the results. “ I knew this year was going to be pretty close so when I heard that it came to me and my other opponent, I was shocked because I knew either of us could’ve won,” Zarate said.

Unfortunately, not everyone can be a winner. When rumors of alleged cheating swirled around the halls of East, students and candidates grew concerned. As word of this spread, feelings of anger and tensions grew, especially among presidential nominee John Rickabaugh, and vice presidential nominee Michaela Verwers. Rickabaugh and Verwers ended up falling into second place behind winners, Zarate and Luong.

“It was very, very aggravating. We worked so hard in this campaign to get actual votes, so when we heard that kids from outside the school that had nothing to do with our election, were somehow getting involved in our politics, we just felt very irritated,” Rickabaugh said.

“I think what irritated me most was that we took the election so seriously, and some of the people around us didn’t,” Verwers said.

Even though there was interference from non-East students, East High’s administration assures students that they deleted all of the faulty votes. Vice Principal Elizabeth Ahrens describes the lengthy process her and community coordinator, Jill Padgett went through to ensure that all problematic votes were deleted. From deleting multiple votes off of the same URL from the same device, to entering in every student name to make sure the kids who voted were actual East High students, and deleting any duplicates, Ahrens strongly believes the outcome is fair. “Ms. Padgett and I spent eight hours going through every single vote. We ended up deleting 106 votes,” Ahrens said.

Students are left wondering if the voting could’ve been handled differently. Rickabaugh and Verwers definitely believe so. “I think there should’ve at least been a re-vote, like that is a no-brainer to me,” Verwers said. So why was a revote never considered? “As I said, we spent a ton of time going through it, and we felt it was a very legitimate election, and there was quite a large margin between the winner and the next candidate. We felt comfortable with that margin, and felt comfortable moving on without a revote,” Ahrens said.  Even though Rickabaugh and Verwers aren’t senior class president and vice president, they still plan to lead East High, similarly to Zarate and Luong. Their main goals are to change East’s perception in the community, and adjust some policies here in the school.

“I don’t plan on stepping down at all. All of the things that we promised with our campaign we will fulfill one way or another. Leadership isn’t a title, leadership is who you are as a person,” Rickabaugh said.

While they know it won’t be an easy process, the candidates are willing to do whatever is necessary to stay true to their promises, and their loyal followers. “The students know who they voted for, so even if I’m not president I know I’m still a leader to them, and I promised them I would do stuff so I will do it,” Rickabaugh said.

President Zarate has some words of advice to future presidential and vice-presidential hopefuls.  “I want people to know that this is just high school. No matter what happens, it’s high school. You have your future to look forward to, but your future means nothing if you don’t have supporters by your side,” Zarate said.

As we move forward with the school year, Zarate wants to reassure students that him and Luong have the best interest of students in mind. “I want to let students know that I am here for them, and we want to make this school year for them, not just for seniors, but for every single class,” Zarate said. Lets all work together to make the 2017-2018 school year one to remember.

Elaina Rothmayer
Posing for photo is President Alejandro Zarate and Vice-President Carolynn Luong.

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