With the school year quickly coming to an end, the time has come for the students of MGCI to choose their leaders. From colourful posters decorating every hallway to videos being filmed for Instagram feeds, politics prevailed at MGCI during election week, which took place from 31 May to 4 June 2019.

Election campaigning started on Monday, 27 May 2019. Throughout the week leading up to speeches, candidates advertised with posters around the school and paraded the hallways during lunch, making themselves known in every way possible. Many candidates even made Instagram pages and websites for the occasion.

On Friday, 31 May 2019, each of the candidates gave speeches in the cafeteria outlining their platforms and plans for improving MGCI in the upcoming school year. The speeches took place from periods 1 to 3, with Grade 9 students attending period 1 and continuing throughout the day to end with Grade 11 students during period 3.

In addition to campaigning that was held prior to the beginning of the voting period, on Monday, June 3, 2019, The Reckoner held a presidential debate for the two candidates: Edith Nyamekye and Nelson Lee. At the beginning of the debate, each candidate was given a few minutes to discuss their qualifications and platforms, after which they discussed ideas they had for increasing spirit, increasing SAC funding, and keeping SAC accountable to the student body. To conclude the debate, the candidates were asked about what makes them stand out. While Nelson emphasized passion and dedication, Edith spoke about her insider perspective on the student council. The debate was later posted on The Reckoner’s Facebook page for students who had not been able to attend.

The SAC presidential debate. Image: Justin Ye.

Winners were announced on Tuesday, 4 June 2019 at 3:00 pm. The students of MGCI voted Nelson Lee as their president for the 2019 to 2020 school year. His campaign focused largely on multiculturalism and making sure that students from all backgrounds feel included and welcomed. Nelson also campaigned for a rise in school spirit and student involvement promising to make spirit and social events more accessible for students. Nelson’s plan also includes bringing back grade representatives to increase leadership opportunities for all students in all grades.

He also plans to continue the MGCI Let’s Talk initiative, a mental health awareness event which featured many de-stressing activities, and implement a Universal Mental Health Program. This program would make it mandatory for every student to attend an educational mental health session in which they would learn about dealing with anxiety and stress and recognizing symptoms of poor mental health.

Incoming president Nelson Lee gives his campaign speech. Image: Justin Ye.

At the right hand of Nelson, students voted Ryan Chang as vice president. This position requires him to act as a bridge between the Student Council and the student body. Ryan plans to do this by supporting Nelson in bringing back representatives for each grade so that everyone has an equal opportunity to become a member of the student council and so that everyone has a chance to have their voice heard, no matter what grade they are in. Ryan also plans to introduce student ambassadors and house colour leaders to create unity and promote spirit.

Taira Mehta has been entrusted to run social events as Social Convenor. Although this was her first year at MGCI, Taira already has a clear idea of how to improve the social atmosphere at MGCI. She plans to work with Nelson to implement the idea of MGCI Season Passes and to start an initiative called the Grade Lounge.  She said in her campaign, “I believe that it is ridiculous to have to pay money in order to go to social events and meet the rest of your grade, so by implementing this free solution, we can build grade spirit and collaboration!” The Grade Lounge will feature a hangout-spot in the cafeteria for one hour after school for one week per grade every month. With this initiative, Taira hopes to remove any divisions among students at MGCI and create a bonded school community.

Eram Ahmed, the next Athletic Convenor, has been involved in sports at Garneau in one way or another since his first year at the school. He has promised an unforgettable Athletic Banquet and an increase in the number of intramural sports, which will be voted on by students. His goal is to give those who are unable to join teams an opportunity to participate and be active by playing sports they enjoy.

Special events such as the famous International Show have been the highlight of the year for many MGCI students. However, with the cancellation of International Show this year, students have found themselves in need of an event that brings them together and gives them something to celebrate. They have entrusted the duty of planning large-scale events to Qays Matadar, Special Events Convenor. In place of International Show, Qays has an idea in the works for an International Dance. This event will differ from other school dances in that it will feature traditional clothing and cultural performances from students.

Students voted Evan Woo as Spirit Convenor in this year’s election. Evan plans to keep spirits high by having a welcoming committee greet students coming to school in the morning. He has also promised to keep students on their toes with more pep rallies that are inclusive and engaging, as well as increasing the number of Spirit Weeks so that students have more chances to display their school pride. His idea for a large-scale spirit event includes bringing back MGCI’s Fun Fair.

Along with seven other members selected by the elected members of SAC, the newly elected SAC was sworn in on Tuesday, 11 June 2019. With promising ideas from all the candidates, teachers and students alike have great hopes for the next school year.