November 29, 2012 by 1787news
by Michael Fowlkes and Brenden Graulau
In its seventh annual student government election, the Con High community elected four new officers. Senior Deion Jordan won the presidency, and Senior Ashley Gonzalez joins him as Vice President. Senior Edward Caraballo won the race for Treasurer, and Junior Abigail Perlman prevailed in the race for Secretary. Debates took place on October 24th in the auditorium of Parkway Center City, and the election followed on October 25th.
In the days before the election, controversy erupted over the eligibility of one candidate, Deion Jordan. According to student government advisor, Mr. DiFede, an anonymous member of the school community informed him that Jordan’s attendance record was “not up to par.” Mr. DiFede explained that, according the school Constitution, students with more than five unexcused latenesses may not run for office. At the time, Jordan had twelve unexcused latenesses.
At an October 24th student government meeting, students discussed the possibility of Jordan’s disqualification as a candidate. Dr. Davidson arrived at the meeting, and Jordan said that he could procure notes from a guardian to excuse his lateness. According to Mr. DiFede, “excusing him for his lateness came down to Dr. Davidson.” After a phone call home to confirm the contents of the note, Dr. Davidson approved Jordan’s candidacy.
Later that day, hundreds of students traveled to Parkway Center City’s auditorium via Septa. Dr. Davidson presented the State of the School Address and included references to the updated school website, a recent article about Senior Courtney Simmons, a Channel 6 broadcast of students from the Constitution Center, and this paper. Dr. Davidson also mentioned that any member of the school community, whether teacher or student, is eligible to deliver the State of School Address.
Instead of attacking each other, most candidates in the debate took aim at the Constitution. Running mates Liam McShea and Ashley Gonzalez promised to eradicate the Constitution completely. Gonzalez went so far as to rip the Constitution in half on stage several times. Meanwhile opponents Jordan and Kemraj planned only to amend the Constitution.
The winning candidates’ campaign promises were ambitious. In addition to amending the Constitution, Jordan promised to take strict attendance at student government meetings and require representatives to report back to their advisories. He proposed the plan of requiring representatives to get teacher signatures to prove that they had communicated with their constituents.
Jordan also focused on the school’s finances. He described a plan that involved students selling food and student government managing the money that is raised. During the debate, he said that his administration would “assess where money is going, how it’s being allocated, and how we can take that money that’s going out and put it back so that we have an increase.”
After the election, Liam reflected on his opponent’s success: “[Deion] promised that he’s gonna get freshmen out for lunch, and… I have to say that’s the reason that he won.” He also said that having ninth graders out to lunch is impossible because of a School District of Philadelphia policy. Liam added, “I was disappointed in the students’ reaction to the election. Overall, students seemed completely apathetic. I wish the candidates could have given speeches before the debates happened.”
Jordan would like to make minor changes to the Constitution. In his first month in office, he has discovered the challenges of being school president; one challenge he reported is that advisory representatives are not showing up to government meetings. “It’s a very difficult job. I just got elected and already everyone’s complaining. My wish is that all student representatives would show up to the government meetings, participate actively, and do their civic duty, so that we can pass legislation for the students.”