Interview conducted by Matthew Lindzon, Esther Eisen & Josh Blatt
WHO IS SHE?
Favourite Subject/Course: History
Favourite movie, book or TV show: Saturday Night Live
Best quality or skill: Organization
Activities: School Rep for the International Women’s Day Summit, Hippo Day School Volunteer, TEMC Day Care And “Coffee Hour” Volunteer, TEMC Scripture Reader,Kensington Women’s Health Clinic Volunteer, OPS Careers Course Focus Group participant, and Boxing!
Gracie Gollom is an extremely motivated, organized, and determined grade 11 student. Gracie’s avid volunteering has helped her become a stronger individual, and an active member in her community. Gracie loves to read, hang out with her friends, and play with her really cute cats. Her favourite movie is Rocky and she knows way to much about Michael Jackson. Gracie is very empathetic and loves giving unqualified and unwanted advice to her friends and family. She’s is very outgoing and is always willing to listen to your opinions and thoughts on fun and important topics.
WHAT THEY VALUE MOST
- School Community
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?
By representing the grade 12 class, I will ensure that my peers voices are heard by keeping an open dialogue and gathering students ideas to make our school a more inclusive environment. Our’s school’s diversity can be highlighted and supported by encouraging our students to bond with one another.
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?
Work-life balance is the primary issue facing Forest Hill students, as our academic standards are extremely high, and causes great stress in classes.
What makes you different than all of the other candidates?
I am super passionate about the well being of our student body. Forest Hill is known for preparing students for post-secondary programs, however, I believe that like anything- there should be a balance. The stress that students face today is overwhelming and difficult to to understand without the right support. Anybody who knows me, knows that I get things done as efficiently and as best as I possibly can. My main goal would be to use that skill set to ensure our grade 12 students have a great final year, where we can all bond and get the proper support as we enter the next chapter of our lives.
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?
“My definition of leadership would be first organization and having an outgoing personality. I think it’s really important to help engage others. I wouldn’t call them followers, but to engage your group or your team. I think when you do that you really create an effective and proficient environment for everyone to work together. In terms of my overarching purpose as a leader, it would be to really help your team and be a source of advice or knowledge when they need help, when they’re struggling, or even when they’re doing well, it’s just to check in and say ‘you know, what can I do to help?’. A leader is there to help, they are there to guide, and they are really just there to make a difference.”
What, if anything, are you going to do to improve school spirit?
“School spirit is something that is kind of lacking at the moment. Because I am going for the position of grade twelve rep, we are going to be the leaders of our school, so I think that the best way to gain school spirit is to have the grade twelves work together. We’re a really diverse bunch; but we are often sectioned off, so let’s bond and work together and create student-led activities that we can conduct on our younger grades. Even the grade elevens for next year, I think that that would be really effective, whether it’s just making a mural or creating cheers or showing up to school as group colours and just really showing a positive attitude. Maybe our pep-rally could even be a little bit more spirited and having us all really engage. As the grade twelve rep, really asking my fellow students what they would want to actually see at a pep rally because I don’t think that that’s really been done and I think that that would be really important to really get the seniors’ outlook on it and what they think our entire school would really appreciate and value.”
How will you ensure that you are accurately representing your grade?
“I will ensure that I am accurately representing my grade by having an open line of communication at all times with my peers. I think that that’s such a big part of actually being a leader and being a grade twelve rep is making sure that I am listening to my friends and to my fellow classmates on their ideas and their different ways to be as socially-conscious but also ways to make our school environment the best it can possibly be. So, by doing that I think that I could not only best represent my grade but also best represent the school and kind of say that the grade twelves are now the leaders of the school, as I said before, so let’s make sure that they are heard and that we’re doing a good job of being those kind of inspirations for those younger grades, in order to best lead and to best represent our school.”
In one year from today, what do you hope you have achieved? Be specific.
“In one year from today, let’s hope I am the grade twelve rep and I would really like to be able to achieve more personally, academic success and being able to volunteer a lot more, which is something that I am really passionate about. I also want to help promote school spirit and our school’s diversity because diversity is something that Forest Hill is actually not lacking in, but where we fall is that we don’t do a good job of really highlighting our diverse groups. So, I think a great way of doing that is having us all bond, especially going into grade twelve, having our grades and our students bond together to really work hard at highlighting all that Forest Hill has to offer.”
Why did you rate school community as your number one value?
“I think that everyone has their own definition of community. For me, I grew up in a really tight community and that means a lot to me and I think community is above all really supportive of one another and super helpful. It’s about making connections with one another. I know we’re pretty young, but even networking and being able to really gain the proper support we need in any area or any stage we are currently in, in our lives. So, that’s really big for me.”
Why did you rate courage as your second most important value?
“Again, everyone has their own definition of courage. For me, courage is doing what you are most afraid of. It is, in a way, facing your fear and a lot of people in our school our super courageous and that’s amazing and I think that we should highlight that, really, and highlight these individuals and allow them to share their stories, to help others gain more courage to share their own stories or do things they are maybe a little bit afraid to do.”
Why did you rate inclusion as your third most important value?
“Inclusion is super important, that kind of has to go along with diversity. I think that while Forest Hill is especially inclusive, which is great, we have to do a better job at getting to know one another and really including each other. If you see someone in the hallway, just making sure they have a friend to sit with is really important because I feel like we’ve all been in those particular situations and it’s the worst and so being friendly and being open and open-minded, while remaining respectful of one another, because we all come from different backgrounds, so let’s try and really include that in every area of our high school lives.”
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?
“My family is a great example. My family can be kind of politically divided. Where I come from, I was raised more liberal, or in the U.S. it would be democratic, and my mom’s side of the family is primarily republican and we had a family reunion and it can get really messy. I was lucky enough to be with my sister to help us all remain civil and make sure that each opinion is at least validated. All opinions are valid and making sure that we all can really listen to one another and have open dialogue about these important issues.”
Why should students vote for you over all of the other candidates?
“I think that something students should know is that I am extremely determined and I am pretty stubborn, which can actually work in my favour. I get things done, especially if it’s for the greater good. I really believe in listening to everyone and listening to everyone’s opinions. I also have a lot of experience with volunteering and being a good role model or representative. I have a lot of little cousins in my life that I have to be a good role model for. I think that I can really do a great job and be really effective in making our final year together, because the grade twelves are almost done high school and we’re kind of going off, but really making us bond and actually having a memorable year that includes a better work-life balance because I know how stressed-out students can get.”
You have the chance to say anything to the student body. What is it?
“I would say: vote for me, please! But really, if you’re going to do anything, please vote for the person that you think is most effective and who will actually get things done to ensure a great experience for our coming year and who will be great at representing you. Especially to the grade twelve students: what I want to do is I want to be able to help everyone and I want to be able to ensure that we’re not as stressed out and we’re really getting better work-life balance, that’s super important, and that we’re also having fun and making memories.”
Do you have any initiatives in mind to improve the work-life balance that you want to share?
“Absolutely. So, work-life balance is huge anywhere. Everyone has issues with it. I think a big thing is actually getting support because with work-life balance, comes stress and bad time management, that’s huge. Let’s do a better job of, whether it’s working together, even as a student-body or with our teachers, or even with our guidance counsellors, to create small workshops or presentations to really help us gain a better understanding of what a work-life balance is. It’s also having fun, that’s so important and so prevalent. We are going to be grade twelves, so we should kind of have fun, this is kind of our last year of being able to be kids. So, let’s actually gain a better understanding of what that means and how to cope.”
Why do you think you should be the representative of your grade? What experience or skills do you have that will allow to deeply understand the mindset and values of your grade?
“I think that I should be representing my grade because I honestly see both the good and the bad in our school. I came here when I was in grade ten from a really bad high school environment. So I was able to really open my eyes to all the good that this school as to offer and it’s amazing. However, like anything, there is also bad or the not so good. Forest Hill is really lucky, but what I want to address as our grade twelve rep specifically is finding a better work-life balance because as great and high-achieving as our student-body is, we also need to be more knowledgeable about what is important and our priorities in life. It should be both: work and play.
Any final comments you want to share with the voters?
“I would say that I really just want to do my best for our grade and for our student-body to work together to become close and to bond and to have fun but to also work really hard and gain support as we come into our final year. We are a really hard-working school and that’s incredible but we also want to be able to really have memories of times we spent together. It’s about building those opportunities for us to be leaders and for us to have fun.”
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.
|Number of Dances
|United Way Week
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.