Last spring was a busy time for the junior class. People were trying to determine what senior leadership positions they wanted, what clubs they wanted to be head of, what prefect positions they wanted, and whether or not they wanted to run for school chair. After narrowing down the candidates, we were left with two: Nicole Bassolino and Griffin O’Neill. In a close race, Nicole won by 12 votes, giving her the title of our new school chair. I decided to ask Nicole some questions as part of our School Chair Spotlight edition.
- When/why did you know you wanted to school chair?
I guess I knew a week or two before statements were due. I thought about junior spring, but I didn’t know if I would actually run because I didn’t know what I would do. It wasn’t until people came up to me asking, “Nicole, are you going to run?” that I thought about it. Then, I thought about what things in the community that I wanted to change and help be a voice for the students. In past years, I felt like school chair was “removed” from the student body. Students often think that now that a person is school chair, they’re “corrupted” and “part of the administration” when in reality, it’s another one of your peers that has decided that they want to be the change.
- What changes have you already made or plan to make?
The first change is with the salad bowls in the dining hall. I asked Mr. Maxwell, and he has ordered some mugs and they should be coming soon. I also have met with the juniors and seniors and I am soon going to meet with the sophomores just to touch base and see how things are going. After the meetings, I want to send out an email with a list of focuses such as the dress code or formal dinner. Then at the end of each trimester, I want to give a wrap-up and tell the community what has been done and our progressive. But first I want to finish the grade talks, so we can start on the townhalls.
Personally, on my agenda, is the formal dinner dress code. I also want to talk more with Ms. McMahon about more frequent runs to Ventura and Trader Joe’s.
Another thing is talking about the greater diversity in counselors. Both of the counselors that we have are females, and guys may not be able to relate to females. So, I want to talk to Mr. Balano, the new director of diversity, about creating a greater range of counselors.
- In the all-school banquet speech, you talked about taking things slow. How do you plan on taking things slow this year?
I like being organized. I have a spreadsheet about school chair stuff, classes, etc. I am really good on checking in with my friends, but I am not always good with checking in with myself. The idea of wandering is awesome in the sense that I get to hang out with friends, but for this year, checking in with myself is taking things slow.
- Can you remember the school chair your freshman year?
His name was Owen Driscoll. I remember that he made Wednesday and Saturdays Vons runs. I feel like as a freshman, you are not interested in what is actually going on around school
- What things will you keep and or change from the previous school chair?
Eric was always composed. I remember when the visitor came and asked about why Thacher didn’t have flyers. Eric remained so calm and composed in that situation.
- What advice would you give to someone wanting to be school chair?
I feel like it’s hard to give advice on how to be school chair when there are so many ways to lead. There isn’t really one right way you can lead. But I do think the biggest thing is being able to handle a lot of work— both from classes, college, and school chair. For example, if you want to have a town hall meeting, you have to be willing to put other work aside to in order to focus on your position as a school chair. Also, one would need to understand that you won’t be able to please everyone and you won’t get everything done. One year can seem long in retrospect, but it’s shorter than you think.