Bleep. The intercom system turns on. “Ladies and gentlemen we would like to announce the winners of this year’s ASB Elections”. As names are announced, winning candidates are speechless with joy. But what about those who don’t win? What are their stories?
Karsten Lomax, Conrad Rich, and Jose LuisGandara lost the election for their respective officer positions. Nevertheless, they look forward to helping Shorewood in the future, and plan on using the lessons from their loss for the rest of their lives.
Lomax has been a leader since middle school. His primary focus as a leader has been to listen to the student body. “I want to listen to the student body and give everyone a voice in the student government,” he said. Armed with this leadership principle, Lomax ran for Corresponding Secretary. Unfortunately, he lost to Max Luthy. After getting wind of this result, Lomax was downcast for a couple of days, but then his feelings caught up to him. “I felt empty at first but then I was happy for Max,” Lomax said. Eventually, Lomax has fully come to terms with his loss. He has reflected on what he can improve, and he plans to run for Vice President next year. He has some new campaign ideas that he hopes will help him become VicePresident. “I need to encourage others to join clubs, talk at more assemblies, and participate at school events”, he said. If he wins the office of VicePresident, Lomax ensures that changes will be made. He would like to increase student input at Shorewood and at school board meetings. “The school board make some decisions that the ASB should have a say in. They didn’t consult school leadership when they decided to move sixth graders to middle school in 2020. I would try to push for more student involvement in these kinds of decisions,” he said. Lomax doggedly chases a leadership position because he wants to make Shorewood better for future students. “I want to improve my sister’s future. When I was in elementary school I didn’t have the support systems to get me involved. I don’t want it to be that way for her and future students.”
Rich’s path to running for Treasurer was quite unorthodox. Prior to high school he didn’t have any leadership experience. In high school, he was only in leadership class his freshman year. However, Rich believed that his lack of experience didn’t hinder his campaign. He said, “ I help with boosters, have good connections with the business office, and I love handling money.” Rich ended up losing to Alex Lim. He was saddened for the first couple of days, but he quickly got over his loss. If he would have won the treasurer position, Rich claims that he would directly communicate with students about the ASB budget. “I would be open and easy talk to. Students can come and talk to me about financial needs for clubs and I would actively push their agendas”, he said. Rather than focusing on what could have been, Rich likes to focus on the present. After losing the election, he believes that he can make the biggest impact on Shorewood as a LINK leader. “I was inspired by my LINK leader, Lexi Yamane, to become a LINK leader,” he said. Yamane’s influence has helped to shape Rich’s style as a LINK leader. “She was a personalized adviser for each of her LINKlings. Whenever she saw me in the hallway, she would ask me how I was doing. She still contacts me every now and then,” he said. Since becoming a link leader, Rich has enjoyed having a similar relationship with his LINKlings. “I cherish the ability to go off script sometimes and connect with my students outside of LINK. It’s also valuable to create a lifelong connection with your LINKlings.”
Gandara’s leadership journey began with an invitation. This invitation has sparked him on a journey to make Shorewood feel “at home” in their school environment. He was inspired to make this change by his cross country teammates and how they helped make him feel “at home”. “Every day, I wake up facing a wall filled with pictures of my friends and teammates on the Cross Country and Track teams. These people are my family, and have been since I first entered Shorewood as a freshman,” Gandara said. His efforts to improve Shorewood’s environment cannot go unnoticed. Gandara publishes the Potty Talk, updates the Shorewood Instagram page, writes the NEST script, and works on Leadership associated projects. Despite being such an influential figure, Gandara lost the Presidential election to Arden Hubbard. This loss was an emotional blow to the passionate leader. Gandara said, “When I saw the results, it hurt. It stung like a bandaid had just been ripped off, and it took a long time for that pain to subside.” Although, Gandara felt pained at first, he was able to take away positive experiences from the election process. He realized that he was an impactful figure in the many people’s eyes. “I was so encouraged as so many people, many of them who I had never talked to, approached me to talk about how I have influenced their high school experience for the better,” he said. Gandara plans on improving students’ high school experiences in the future as well. “ After the election, I was stuck with this campaign account on Instagram, and I wanted to do something with it that would work to create change in our school. I’ve been inspired by Houston Kraft’s message of choosing love, so I’m excited to see how this to see how this platform evolves and shapes around my voice and ideas,” he said. He has accepted a less involved role in the Shorewood Leadership program; he is not running for a senior class position. However, he believes that powerful leadership can come in many forms. “We are all leaders because we impact the people and the environments around us. You can either be a leader for good, or a leader for bad, and that’s determined by what you do and what you say.