Vice-President Candidate: Bailee Cohen

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Interview conducted by Matthew Lindzon, Esther Eisen & Ethan Blumberg 

WHO IS SHE?


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Follow her on Instagram!

Favourite Subject/Course: Biology 

Favourite movie, book or TV show: The Office (obviously)

Best quality or skill: Always smiling!

Activities: Dance Fashion Show, Science Club, Cross Country, Tennis team, DECA, Sick Kids Foundation Club, Out of the Cold

BIOGRAPHY


Bailee Cohen is that kid that is always saying hi to different students in the hallway. She is very outgoing and confident and can brighten anyone’s day. Her favourite food is a tie between sushi or watermelon, (Very random duo) and chicken nuggets depending on the day. Bailee is kind of unique in the sense that she enjoys coming to school because she loves being with her friends and meeting new students.

WHAT THEY VALUE MOST


  1. Inclusion
  2. Respect
  3. School spirit

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?

It is essential that every single student feels their voice is heard. I will try my hardest to listen to and support all of the students at Forest Hill because all ideas matter. I believe it is important that our school community recognizes how unique and inclusive Forest Hill is.

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?

One thing that students at Forest Hill Collegiate want is more spirit.

What makes you different than all of the other candidates?

I am someone that will listen to all of your ideas with zero judgments. I want to be a Vice President all students can trust and will come to if they need advice. I am very personable and easy to talk to. Being personable is one of the most important qualities to have because students will be able to get my help and support whenever they need it.

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?

“Leadership to me is one of the most important things at Forest Hill. For example, many students come to Forest Hill not knowing anyone and not knowing where anything is and having someone that can show you the ways and show you where things are make your year and your school life easier is a big deal. Having someone that you can trust and talk to is really important and that’s why I’m running for this position: I want to make other students lives a lot easier and I want to make them feel like they have someone to talk to and someone who they can trust. I want to be that person that other students can come to to make their lives easier.”

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

To improve school spirit, I think something really big that we could do is [focus on] spirit week. Spirit week this year was obviously amazing but there was still obviously not enough spirit. I think to make the way to make spirit even greater is to have competition or competition between the grades, I think that would be really cool. So if the grades each had a unique colour or they were with different people and different grades and there were different teams and we could all compete for maybe a free lunch or a day off of school, something that would make the kids want to try harder and encourage them to beat other people but also meet new people on their team. I think that would make a huge change. We could also do more fundraising and more stuff for charities, stuff like that.”

What could cause you to fail as the Vice-President?

“Obviously it’s really tough to be a Vice-President because there’s a lot of people counting on you and a lot of people listening to your ideas, but I think something that would be really hard is if the student council and I try so hard to make the school spirited and improve spirit week and improve school-wide events but the school community doesn’t follow through. If we, for example, add another semi-formal or add another dance ad people don’t want to come to it, like it happened last year, then this could be something that could really be detrimental.”

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

“In one year from today, I hope that I am a Vice-President that people can really trust and come to and talk to and feel like I’m someone who isn’t just their Vice-President, but their friend. Obviously a lot of people say this, but I do want this school to have a lot more school spirit and I know that I can do this because I’ve been a leader in this school, I’ve been a prefect, so I kind of know what this school has and I know what it wants and I think with this, I could work with the prefects and work with other clubs to make this school better and that’s something I hope to do: work with other clubs and other people. Something that’s also cool that I would like this school to have next year is a bigger variety of sports teams, so maybe not just a boy’s hockey team, but it would be really cool if there was a girl’s hockey team, if people would be down for that. I’m obviously going to think of more ideas as the time comes, but I think one of the biggest things is that people here feel like they have a voice and people around them that they can trust.”

Why did you rate inclusion as your number one value?

“Well I think the most important thing is to be included. The only way to really express yourself and feel like you’re wanted is if you are included. I know I’ve been friends with a ton of people who don’t feel included and I know how sad they are and how they feel when they aren’t included in something or involved in something and I want every student at Forest Hill to feel like they’re involved and they can do what they want to do and they can support what they want to support and just express themselves.”

Why did you rate respect as your second most important value?

Respect I think is a huge one, not only with students, but with teachers as well. I’m always in classes and I see a lot of students talking and obviously I talk too sometimes but I think one of the biggest things is for students to respect teachers and for teachers to respect students; a mutual respect so people enjoy their year more.”

Why did you rate school spirit as your third most important value?

School spirit is obviously a big one. I think school spirit would really make Forest Hill better, obviously. If we improved spirit week or we had more events or more dances or stuff like that, with school spirit, it will make the year go by a lot quicker and a lot smoother and people will enjoy their time here more.”

Many of the decisions in the student council won’t be consensus decisions. What or who will inform your decision making?

Well obviously there are going to be some disagreements on ideas and I think in the past years, probably the president has been making the most decisions and maybe this year we could all even do a survey or a pool so it’s really fair. Looking at what’s best for the school would have a huge impact on my decision-making, like I would look at it like ‘some people want this and some people want this’ but this one may improve the school the most and this one may really significantly change the students’ life so I would choose the one that makes the most sense.”

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

“Before I came into this role, I knew a lot of students at school and I’ve heard a lot of students not complain but pretty much say that Forest Hill is an OK school and that was something that meant a lot to me. That word meant a lot to me. I don’t want Forest Hill to be an OK school; I want Forest Hill to be an amazing school where students feel they can express themselves and they feel welcomed and they don’t feel any isolation. So that’s why I ran for this position: I want to be a Vice-President that students feel could be their friend and I want to be someone that they can come talk to, come tell their stories to, come tell their problems to, ask questions, ask for help with work, anything that makes them feel like they have someone to talk to and have someone that they could trust.”

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

“If I could say anything to the student body, I would probably offer a wider variety of sports teams. I know this is very broad but I’ve heard a lot of students say how some of the sports teams are very gender specific, so like the hockey team, there’s only a boys’ hockey team and I know that for tennis, it’s mixed, which a lot of people like, so maybe next year I would try to incorporate with them even a hockey team or field hockey team for girls so they feel the sport isn’t just one-sided at our school.”

Explain your view on events within the school and how they could be changed.

“So one of the first big things is assemblies and I know this year a lot has happened with the Holocaust assembly and I heard a lot of people complain about the prom assembly, [saying] how most of the time they felt victimized and I feel why waste time doing that when we can celebrate other parts in history and have assemblies on important days, like the Holocaust to recognize the people who all perished a long time ago, and we want other students to be educated about it. As well as pink day, we want people in the LGBTQ community to feel like they’re welcomed and like we all support them. Another thing I talked about was spirit day and I think that this year spirit day was amazing, however, a lot of students didn’t really have spirit and feel like there was that pressure or they didn’t feel like they had to dress up or had to have that spirit. So I think next year I would do something with teams hopefully and team up grades and have them have unique colours or team up with other students and all fight for a prize so they would feel more confident and more competitive.”

Let’s say a group of four eager and excited students approach you one day and ask you to create a new event. At the next Student Council meeting, you ask the seven other Student Council members what they think of the idea. They all say that they do not think that the idea should be implemented. If you had the final say, what would you do? Walk us through your thought process.

“If I went to a student council meeting and heard that seven of the student council members did not agree with this idea that the four students had, I would first ask them, obviously, why they don’t like the idea. I would understand what’s wrong with the idea and I would hopefully find a way to improve this idea. So I would first talk to the four eager students and tell them the changes that the student council would make and improve to their idea and if the student council members were up to working with and changing their ideas, and change their lookout on what their events will be like, then I would do this event.”


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 3
Halloween Dance 4
Hillstock 4
Pep Rallies 4
Number of Dances 5
School Spirit 2
Spirit Week 4
United Way Week 5

 


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.