“I’ve grown so much”: An Interview with the School Chair

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Eric Oregel ’17

The Thacher School Chair, chosen annually, is a senior who has been selected by his or her peers as the student leader of the school. Eric Anthony Oregel is the senior elected to this position for the academic year of 2017.  Eric runs assemblies, acts as a member of the Judicial Council, heads the Community Council, and works hard to establish his ideals of the school as a reality.  

What drove you to become School Chair?

I’ve grown so much since coming to Thacher.  When I got here I was really nervous, a very introverted kid; I would never have thought that public speaking would be a part of my daily routine.  That growth was a factor in my decision to run was key.  Also, a few of my friends asked whether or not I’d be running; they thought that I would be a good candidate.  What really drove me, in the end, was knowing that I  would have the support of the people that I’d be representing.  I knew that it would be worthwhile if I’d won because I had the approval from my fellow peers.

What do you hope to accomplish this year as School Chair?

I ran on a platform that had three aspects of what I would like to accomplish.  The first part was to develop further our current mental health initiatives that Eliot Schiff, the previous School Chair, had set in place. They were met with such positive feedback that I felt the need to continue finding solutions to mental health, as well as to bring about awareness on Campus.  Since Thacher maintains a rigorous academic environment, it is important to keep in mind the mental well-being of all of our students.  

My second goal is to initiate Town Hall meetings.  In which, we would elect certain themes, gather as a community, and anyone who would like to speak on the subject can.  Whether they talk about how the new Dining Hall should look, to a more profound subject such as religion, race, or ethnicity, anyone can come and speak their minds.  

Right now, there has been some controversy with regards to the dress code, and how it is biased against the female members of our community.  These are the types of conversations that we need to have, and the Town Hall meetings would be the forum for discussions like this.  

The third topic that I want to address is that recently, there’s been a diversity council comprised of faculty and staff.  Throughout my Thacher career, diversity and inclusion have been something that I wanted to see move forward because I do not think that we have put all of our efforts and resources into raising awareness. It was convenient for me as School Chair that this is one of my passions because the Diversity Council has already been composed. My job, now, is to figure out how to include the students’ voices on that council, since it only has adult representatives.  

I want to find ways in which we can keep the best interests of everyone in mind.  Also, if anyone or any group of people feel the need to address something that they see within the Thacher environment, whether it is something that warrants change or simply needs to have light shed on it, I am happy to have a conversation with them.  With these issues like these, I  act as a liaison with the faculty and communicate with them to get things done.  Running assemblies every week is fun, and having people guess “Who’s That Thacher Toad!”