Leading the Way

by Ella Hou, Andrew Lindsay and Feiya Wang

Class Office

Harvey Chen, ’26

With his first steps into class office, freshman class president Harvey Chen said that he is excited to plan class events and build community among freshmen.

“I’m hoping to plan an awesome freshman dance and do lots of fundraisers,” he said. Fundraisers will include bake sales and merchandise sales.

Additionally, Chen said he hopes to promote a welcoming environment at South.

“[I want to] keep the vibe straight, [focus on] stopping bullying and raise the community spirit,” he said.

Chen said that in addition to building connections with the South community, working as a class officer helps students develop confidence and public speaking skills.

< photo by Feiya Wang

Michael Shen, ’25

After a successful first year of class office, sophomore and returning class president Michael Shen said that he hopes to keep up the momentum, starting with releasing merchandise for the class of ‘25. 

“We are working on creating new merch and a submission form so people can submit designs, and then we’ll do a rolling poll,” he said. 

Shen said he hopes to continue to make positive changes within South. 

“When you’re a class officer, you’re in the position to make a big impact on the school, which can benefit everyone,” he said.

Shen also said that he is looking forward to forming new relationships. 

“I’m excited to meet more people, get to know more people and create new friendships through these class office events,” he said.

photo by Maureen Caufield >

Kevin Yang, ’24

Junior class president Kevin Yang said that this year, his goal is to reduce student stress. 

“Junior year is a stressful year. We all have to admit that. My goal this year is to make our new year as stress-less as possible,” he said.

This starts with a welcoming environment at school, Yang said.

 “First and foremost my biggest responsibility is representing the grade and making sure everyone has a great time. One thing I try to do as president is say ‘Hi’ to everyone,” he said.

The Junior Semi-Formal is another special part of the year, and Yang said he is looking forward to planning this and other events. 

“COVID is kind of waning so everyone’s really excited right now. The officers are hosting a bunch of events, and we have so many ideas,” he said.

< photo by Maureen Caulfield

Tom Shimoni, ’23

Senior class president Tom Shimoni said that he is excited to plan events for seniors this year.

“I want to promote school spirit in the school, and I want to plan some sick events. It’s cool to make events that unite the class, and it’s always a great feeling after, when there’s a good turnout,” he said.

As prom will be funded by money that the senior class office has raised and saved since freshman year, Shimoni said that he is looking forward to seeing the results of their efforts.

He said that being transparent and keeping students updated on upcoming events is important to his role. 

“We try to be as open as possible [to] make sure they know what we’re doing, when the events are and what we’re planning,” he said.

photo by Maureen Caulfield >


Victor Lock, ’26

Freshman senator Victor Lock said that Senate is looking to address a variety of issues within Newton South.

“[The problems] are mostly easy to see, like the bathrooms [and] water fountains,” he said. “[We’re also] trying to get more uniform grading throughout departments.”

Senate gives students a voice, Lock said.

“[Senate] is made by students for students. I think it’s important to have an orderly way of communicating with [administration] on changes you feel are necessary,” he said.

Locke said he plans on listening to the suggestions of the student body.

“That’s part of being a good leader because you always want to know what’s wrong, how you can fix it and if what you’re doing is actually needed,” he said.

< photo contributed by Victor Lock

Marty Basaria, ’25

This year, sophomore senator Marty Basaria’s focus is on improving mental health at South. 

“We’re thinking of ideas such as giving a mandatory five-minute break [during] classes, [which] not every [teacher] in the school follows,” he said. 

Basaria said that considering student perspectives is crucial when making decisions. 

“I specifically try to talk to people in our grade [and ask], ‘What do you think about this? What do you think could be changed?’” he said. 

Basaria said that the Senate deliberates decisions carefully to benefit the community. 

“We have to be pretty careful about [creating policies] because usually school policies are there for a long time. It affects 2000 people and how they interact with each other,” he said.

photo by Maureen Caulfield >

Michael Chang, ’24

Junior senator Michael Chang said that a large priority for him is implementing the Homework-Free Religious Holiday bill, which was passed last year.

“Teachers [aren’t supposed to] give homework on Diwali Eve and Lunar New Year …. but the school isn’t recognizing them at the moment,” he said. 

Chang said that he enjoys collaborating with his fellow senators. 

“The community there is great. Everyone that’s there wants to make change,” he said. 

While making these changes, Senate is looking to increase student input, Chang said. 

“We’re hoping to implement way more frequent surveys and update forms on a monthly basis so that we can hear your opinions on what students would like to implement,” he said.

< photo contributed by Michael Chang

Wasan Rafat, ’23

Senate president and senior Wasan Rafat said that an ongoing project is the establishment of a prayer center in the school. 

“It was approved, and we have a room. It’s all about setting it up now,” she said. 

Rafat said she hopes to improve communication between Senate, the faculty council and the school administration. 

“This year, I’m hoping for open communication, bouncing ideas off of each other, getting feedback, coming up with new plans, and I think it will go smoothly,” she said.

It’s rewarding to make changes in the school, said Rafat. 

“There’s power in numbers, and we can analyze voices and give them an actual avenue for change if we have legislative systems like the Senate in place. I think it’s powerful,” she said.

photo by Maureen Caulfield >