Meet Your Elected Officials for the 2020-2021 School Year!

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Provided by Alison Betancourt

Senior Secretary Alison Betancourt was one of many Class Officers to be elected by students remotely from home on Monday, August 10th. Although honored to be secretary now, she did not always appreciate the role. “At first I wasn’t really interested in this position until I realized how underrated and important this position was, then I was intrigued…”

Leslie Tello and Joshua Martinez

Along with new classes, UP is also getting new class officials for the year! Polls for the student election closed this week, with the only day to vote being the second Monday of the school year, August 10th. Students voted digitally from home via Google Forms, and the results are in!

President Kajal Bhangu, Vice President Alaa Oda, Secretary Jesus Martinez, and Treasurer Toby Matta were elected to be this year’s ASB Officers.

As her class’s vice president freshman year and president sophomore and junior year, 2020’s ASB President Kajal Bhangu is no stranger to leadership roles. She believes her training has prepared her for her new position. Her duties will now include running and leading the class in planning all school events, fundraisers, and activities. COVID-19 has made events her main concern for this year. 

“We can’t hold any of the events we normally would because of social distancing,” she stated. Like many others, she will have to adjust her plans. Her advice to underclassmen is to: “hold as many events as possible to get your classmates involved.”

Class President and senior Denisse Arana agrees with the sentiment of increasing engagement. 

…I want people to know that we as ASB and as class officials are trying our best to accommodate our fundraising and events, and that we STRONGLY encourage as much class participation as possible.

Arana hopes to offer the class of 2021 “COVID safe” events so that the seniors can have a memorable experience, if not the one they had planned for. Arana also wants to offer her class more fundraising opportunities. Prior to the pandemic, she states that, “the plans were to have as many fundraisers as possible to lessen the cost of senior packages and senior activities.” 

Her fellow senior class officer, Treasurer Denise Gonzalez, believes that these plans will prove to be more complicated this year. “COVID-19 affects my goals as treasurer because part of this position is for me to manage fundraisers to make money and it is much harder to do so during this pandemic,” she stated.

Despite all the unknowns and tribulations, senior Secretary Alison Betancourt wants to promote school spirit.

“As a student [of UP] from 7th grade, I always noticed the lack of school spirit; my mission as an elected official is to ensure the most amount of spirit around campus.” She reiterated the importance of cooperation, saying, “I just want the people to know that school spirit starts with you guys. ASB could plan the most amazing things in the world but without participation, it will fail and we’ll never get out of the loop of a dead and sucky school.”

The seniors also picked Vice President Ariauni Hilliard to help lead their class.

Julien Pineda, shown here with his Cadet Corp uniform, was elected by juniors as their President. He stated, “Our class spends days working hard in classes, so they should trust that when events come it’s a chance for them to relax and have fun and not be bored.”

Junior Class President Julien Pineda’s pre-established plans, like a 2022 Lock-In with new games and prizes and new fundraising opportunities, have also been hindered by the virus. Nevertheless, he states, “COVID won’t stop us from having a great year!” 

“Going into junior and senior year, even under these circumstances, we still should all make the best of it because we don’t want to look back at these years and regret what we didn’t do. Instead, I hope to offer greater events in a virtual or on-campus setting that all the students will enjoy and have a great time at.”

He wants his class to know that they “should be at ease knowing that their president is thinking ahead and taking everything into consideration,” and that he is extremely thankful to have been elected. “And if anyone has any questions or concerns,” he states, “they can always contact me. I won’t let you guys down!”

When asked to describe his feelings after being selected, he stated, “The feeling is amazing. I had an amazing competitor so it was definitely nerve racking…” 

His win has not discouraged his opposition, junior Vallariee Garcia Trevino. “I will definitely be running again next year and since I will be a senior, I also have the opportunity to run for ASB president.” 

Here is one of junior Valleriee Garcia-Trevino’s campaign images. She ran against Julien Pineda for the position of class president. She said that she would have advertised more if she could have gone back in time and done something differently.

To Pineda, she says, “If you ever need help, I’m here for you!” She states that she is looking forward to planning a great year for the school despite not winning the presidency.

In addition to Class President Pineda, the juniors chose Ashley Fuentes as Vice President, and Moala Fotu as Treasurer. Ashley Canizalez as was also chosen to be the Junior Class Secretary.

As Secretary, Canizalez’s job requires her to manage the paperwork for her class and keep it in order. Like Bhangu, she is already familiar with her duties. “I ran for this position because I’ve always been fond of the secretary position, and since I have already been my class’ secretary, I have the experience and knowledge to help my class succeed.” With COVID-19, she says that she will have to adapt to doing things differently.

The sophomores picked President Crystal Salazar-Hernandez, Vice President Julie Mahho, Secretary Trinity Washington, and Treasurer Guadalupe Rodas to lead their class.

Freshman President Isabella Gomez, Vice President Bindiya Bhangu, Secretary Abigail Jimenez, and Treasurer Delzeren Pilaza all won their election as well. 

Pilaza stated that she is nervous to be a treasurer due to the great responsibility it requires. However, she also said that she was excited and will keep records of each expense and ensure that all the money will be spent wisely. “I believe the student body made the right decision electing me because I am loyal and trustworthy and I will perform my responsibilities the best that I can...”

Freshman Secretary Abigail Jimenez wants her class to know that she is also responsible and will prioritize what is most important. She says that she will help those struggling with online learning and hopes to offer fun to her class.

Also wanting to provide comfort is freshman President Isabella Gomez. She states, “I want to offer my class a sheltered spot to come to…I would like to [welcome] them with open arms and I need them to realize I care about each and every one of them regardless of the circumstance, because I genuinely do.”

Gomez believes that casting a ballot is critical to get everybody’s perspective. “I would never want any of my classmates to feel that they are unheard,” she stated.

Junior Secretary Ashley Canizalez also stressed the importance of voting. “I do think it is important to vote because it gives our whole class the opportunity to have a say in who they will entrust their class positions to.”

Pullquote Photo

I do think it is important to vote because it gives our whole class the opportunity to have a say in who they will entrust their class positions to.”

— Ashley Canizalez

Alison Betancourt states, “Without a vote, it would mimic a dictatorship and that’s definitely not what we are.”

Garcia Trevino believes that the motives behind voting matter too: “I do think it is important to vote as long as you vote for the right person to fit the job. If people are voting just because their friend is in the campaign, then it’s going to be a biased vote. So as long as people vote fairly, I think it is always essential to know what the people want.”

“I think it’s important because you should want an officer you trust and can rely on to get the job done,” stated Pineda.

If you missed the opportunity to vote in this year’s election, please keep an eye out for next year’s. Like Pineda said, “Ultimately, the officer you vote for affects you.”