Grade 11 Rep. Candidate: Chris Gratsas

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Interview conducted by Matthew Lindzon, Esther Eisen & Josh Blatt

WHO IS HE?


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Follow him on Instagram!

Favourite Subject/Course: English

Favourite movie, book or TV show: Pulp Fiction

Best quality or skill: Staying Calm

Activities: DECA, cross-country, track, math club, basketball, soccer

BIOGRAPHY


Chris Gratsas is a very motivated and self-driven individual. He has always worked hard at everything, from school to basketball. He is constantly trying to better himself and is able to recognize when a mistake is made. He learns from all his mistakes and tries to better himself each and everyday. Everyday you will see him chatting in the halls and joking around. He loves meeting new people and constantly has a smile on his face. He a very passionate person and always works to get what he wants.

WHAT THEY VALUE MOST


  1. A Fun Environment
  2. School Spirit
  3. School Community

PROFILE


Forest Hill C.I. is a very diverse group of students, with over 900 individuals. How will you ensure that you are representing all of these various opinions and voices?

I would ensure that the voices of all different people at FHCI are being heard by continuing to talk with and meet new people in my grade. I’m a very approachable person and would try to encourage people to come talk to me about their ideas.

In one sentence, what do you think is the number one thing and/or most prevalent issue that students at Forest Hill CI want changed, fixed or introduced?

A school with more spirit and a closer knit community.

What makes you different than all of the other candidates?

What makes me different from other candidates is my approachability, reliability, and cooperation. I’ve always made an effort to put myself out there and meet new people everyday. This will allow me to reflect what all different people in the school want. Also, I am a reliable person. I can be counted on to attend every meeting that I am required at. In addition to all of this, I have been working with team members since I was very young in basketball and soccer. I know how to work with teammates and would be a valuable member to the council.

INTERVIEW


The following questions and responses took place during live in-person interviews featuring Golden Falcon editorial staff. The responses are practically identical to the candidate’s responses.

What is your definition of leadership? What is your overarching purpose as a leader?

“Well, a leader is someone that can talk to people, be looked up to by people, reflect people’s wants and needs, and stays confident and strong. Everyone looks up to them. Leadership – it’s a really important quality, obviously, for student council business like this, and not everyone has it. You need to stay strong and reflect people’s wants and needs. Let me add onto this: you need to be the top. You need to excel, and it’s hard to do.”

What, if anything, are you going to do to improve school spirit?

Yeah, that’s definitely a big thing in the school, because it does improve everyone’s experience in the school. So, I am friends with a lot of people – I know a lot of people – and we’ve been trying these Semis, these things. People don’t seem to be into it. Personally, I think I could use my influence, because I have a lot of peers and friends, and I can try and talk to them and say [something] like, ‘this is our high school experience; we want to make it good and have a fun time doing it’ – just [by] [talking] to people. Some of the ways that we’re doing to promote these school spirit events are kind of corny, you know. We need something that appeals to everyone, [making them feel] like ‘you need to come to this, you can’t miss it’. Everyone wants to have a good high school experience and we want to make people feel like [they’re] missing out on this [event]. The way to make that happen is to get people’s friends to come, because if your friends aren’t going, [you might feel like], ‘my friends aren’t going, so I’m not going to go either’, right? So, how are we going to make people come? I think we can do that just by talking about it, staying true, and giving a good appeal.”

How will you ensure you are accurately understanding the mindset of your grade?

“I’m currently a member of sports teams, different clubs and stuff. The people that I have met in this school – I can talk to them. I can really reflect the ideas of tons of different people, and I consider myself an approachable person. I talk to lots of people, so I would encourage people to come talk to me if they want something done.”

In one year from today, what do you hope you have achieved? Be specific.

“In one year from today, I hope to have really reflected the ideas of all the people in my grade. I know that a lot of the events we’re doing does not appeal to everyone, and I really hope to talk to people and say, ‘come to these events, we need school spirit if we want our high school experience to really be fun’. I hope that everyone, by the end of this year, will [become a bigger part] of the community of the school – everyone being closer together, doing things as a school. Currently, people do everything [by themselves] on weekends and stuff, and if we could something like Semis that everyone actually goes to, [they] would have a much better experience. I hope that from one year from today, the Semi that we just had [would] have way more people, and that’s what I hope for.”

You said that you value a fun environment the most, why is that? Can you expand on that?

“I think a fun environment is really important in school, because school is about learning and stuff, but if you feel comfortable and you’re having a good time, you’re going to excel in academics and in life. School takes up the majority of students’ days, and it needs to be a place where you look forward to going to, [that] you’re excited about, and [where] you have a good experience at. That happens through all these events, through anti-bullying, and all that type of stuff.”

You said that you value a school spirit second most, why is that? Can you expand on that?

“As I said earlier, school spirit is extremely important for high school experience, and I just hope to encourage people to take part in school things, and show them that they’ll have a way better time if they do.”

You said that you value a school community the third most, why is that? Can you expand on that?

“It’s everyone being closer together. There are some people in my grade that I’ve never even met before if I had not had a class with them. Just to have a chance to do something [would be good], rather than just sit in class with with people in your grade or in your school, because I don’t know a lot of people in this school.”

Can you share some examples of when you were a catalyst who brought groups with polarized opinions together so that all voices were at the table?

“One time, I was on my basketball team and we were in a tournament. There were a couple minutes left of a really close game, and we were arguing about whether we wanted to play a certain type of defense – zone or man-to-man – and talking about basketball specific things like the benefits of each one. I was one of the best players on the team, so it was my job to step up and bring everyone together during a time-out. I just stepped up and went, ‘okay guys, we have to decide this – we have to be together. We can’t have some people wanting this and some people wanting that, we have to be together on this one because it’s important. What are the good things about this one, and the bad things?’. We then decided on one, and we had a good experience. We ended up winning that game.”

Why should students vote for you over all of the other candidates?

“Students should vote for me, because I think I’m in a position where I know tons of people in the school, and I’m confident. I stepped up for this position because I want to do something about it, and I think I would be a great person to get things done and to give input. This is something I’m passionate about – school being a good high school experience. That’s many people’s lives, the best times in their lives. Like my dad: in high school, he had the best experience of his life. I want it to be the same like that for everyone here, so I want to do something about it. I will input ideas and work really hard on it.”

Do you have any specific initiatives you want to bring to the school?

“Not new things, but things to improve. We could definitely improve the Semis and stuff – how we promote them. A lot of the methods we use now are kinda corny. [We need] something that appeals to everybody and gets more people to come, because if more people come one year and they have a good time, then the next year they will keep coming and it will just make everyone’s experience way better.”

You have the chance to say anything to the student body. What is it?

“I think I would be a great decision for this part. I’m approachable – you can come talk to me whenever. If you pick me for this position, it’s like you picked all of [yourselves] for this position, because I’ll reflect exactly what the [student] body wants.”

Why do you think you should be the representative of your grade? What experiences or skills have you developed that allow you to understand the mindset and values of students in your grade?

“I think that I should be the representative of my grade, because I consider myself to be one of the most diverse in my grade. I do many different things – I’m on the sports teams so I have those types of friends, I’m in the math club so I have those types of friends, DECA [too]. I’m in many different parts of this school, and I think I would be really fit to represent anyone in this school.”

STATISTICS AND DATA


Improvement of Events and Activities

The candidate stated their opinion on each of the following activities, events and initiatives performed by the previous Student Councils in the last few years. They rated each initiative from 1-5 | 5 means the activity was perfect, and they would not like to change anything about it. 1 means the activity needs to be changed, it is a high priority for them and they are highly motivated to change it.

Event Rating
Semi-Formal Dance 2
Halloween Dance 3
Hillstock 4
Pep Rallies 4
Number of Dances 4
School Spirit 1
Spirit Week 1
United Way Week 3

 


Editor’s note: Transcriptions of interviews were almost identical to candidate’s live responses. Filler words, such as “like” or “uh”, were removed for clarity.