Talia Gill is new Agenda Chair as election approves changes

SAC will have three chairs instead of two; Jonathan Fishman and Jordana Glouberman will lead Fairness


Neima Fax

DEBATE: Agenda Chair candidates Eva Suissa, Daniel Medovoy, and Talia Gill answered questions during a debate held on May 3.

Talia Gill was elected Agenda Chair for the 2018-19 school year May 4, following a week of speeches, posters and promises from the gym to the roof and throughout the school hallways.

Additionally, two referenda were passed, and in all, 12 people were elected officers for the SAC, Fairness and Agenda committees.  

Talia becomes the second member of her family to serve as Agenda Chair.  Her brother, Micah Gill held the post in 2015-16, when Talia was a freshman.  She said they’re both similar and different.

“Micah was the first person I saw ever lead a Town Hall, so he’s really the first person who influenced me to be involved with Agenda in the first place,” said Talia Gill, who has been an Agenda officer or representative all of her time at school.  “My brother and I are really similar in a bunch of ways, but we’re also really different, and I think those differences really emerge when contrasting our leadership styles.”

Also elected to lead Agenda were sophomore Maya Tochner as vice chair and freshman Kate Orlanski as secretary.

The Student Activities Committee, better known as SAC, will be led for the first time by three chairs — seniors Isaac Kahtan, Maya Miro and Abbi Sentchuk — all of whom advocated passage of a referendum to make that possible.  The referendum passed.

Newly elected vice-chairs are sophomores Maital Hiller and Caroline Edry, and freshman Shani Menna is secretary-elect.

The Fairness Committee next year will be led by co-chairs Jonathan Fishman and Jordana Glouberman and secretary Evan Rubel.

Campaigning began on April 30 with posters and slogans displayed around the school and on Schoology.  Several candidates took the opportunity to share funny videos, or even sing songs about why they were qualified, all posted on the school’s information management system.

Most candidates delivered speeches in the gym on Wednesday, May 2, and the next day, Town Hall was used for a debate among the candidates for Agenda Chair — Talia along with Eva Suissa and Daniel Medavoy. Voting and a Schoology announcement of winners came on Friday.

At Thursday’s debate, candidates answered questions posed by a panel consisting of Rabbi Ari Schwarzberg, Just Community adviser, current Agenda Chair Daniel Lorell, and Clara Sandler and Lucy Fried of The Boiling Point. Students also had the option of writing their own questions on cards, which the panel could add to its list of questions.

All three said they loved Town Hall but that it could improve.  Talia said she was best qualified to make that happen because of her experience on Agenda.

“The way to actually change Town Hall is not to elect someone that has never served on the committee,” Talia said.

Eva Suissa said she had the skills needed for the role, which involves choosing topics and then leading the weekly schoolwide meeting.

“I can listen, I am organized, I am able to manage a group, and I can foster projects,” Eva said.

The two approved referenda both involved SAC.  One increased the maximum number of co-chairs from two to three, and the other increased the number of vice chairs possible from one to two.

Although there have been many changes to school elections in recent years — including candidates having to be approved by administration, and a short-lived “instant runoff” computer program — it was the first time since 2010 that changes in election procedures had been put to a vote of the community.  

SAC Co-chair-elect Isaac Kahtan said the two approvals would be good for the committee.

“This specific referendum of Maya, Abbi and me is special because we each contribute different things to the position,” Isaac said, “and when we combine and work off of one another great things are bound to happen.”

“I ran because I see SAC as a way to bring the community together in a fun and exciting way,” said Isaac. “I want to be part of this community building as well as showing Shalhevet students what spirit is all about.”

Abbi hopes to expand SAC’s activities next year.

“A lot of people see SAC as just the fun stuff in the school, and next year I hope to make it not only more fun, but also add educational pieces within the fun and have people learn from the fun that they’ve participated in,” Abbi said in an interview with the Boiling Point.

SAC began adding new elements right away. As soon as the seniors left for their Poland-Israel trip, next year’s officers organized a Yom Yerushalayim lunch activity in the cafeteria, where they played Israeli music and gave out pita with hummus to make sure everyone knew it was the anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification in 1967.

Both of the new Fairness leaders have experience on the committee, which holds confidential meetings to mediate disputes between community members including students, teachers and administration. Jordana Glouberman has been on the committee since her sophomore year.

“Fairness is a really great tool for students and teachers to ensure that they are feeling heard in school but I don’t think people are using it enough,” Jordana said after her election.

She said this year’s Fairness chairs, Benny Zaghi and Jonah Sanders, had created a more approachable environment than in previous years.

“Benny and Jonah did an awesome job making the committee more accessible, but I want to push that a little further and I want people to be more comfortable with it and understand that it’s okay to use Fairness,” Jordana said.  “Seeing what they did this year made me really excited to be able to that next year and hopefully even a little bit more. ”

Rabbi Schwarzberg posted the winners’ names on Schoology just 30 minutes after school was let out that Friday.

“Congratulations to the JC Leadership on putting together a great three days of speeches, debates, and elections,” Rabbi Schwarzberg wrote. “This past week included a fury of creative and fun campaigning and some great action on Schoology. We’re super proud of the candidates who courageously put themselves out there, spoke from their hearts, and continued to keep our JC moving forward.

“For those who did not win, we hope that you will run again during Rep elections next year.”

Another change to Agenda next year will be its faculty advisers.  Rabbi Schwarzberg is staying on, but English teacher Mrs. Na’amit Nagel will replace Dean of Academic Affairs Ms. Aviva Walls in the second spot.