2018 All-school Community Council candidate statements

Candidates for All School Community Council positions will deliver their speeches on April 13, 2018. Each candidate is required to craft a statement describing what qualifies them for the position they are running for, what they have done for the school, and what their goals are for next year.

All School Candidates for President

Will Goldsmith

My inclusive personality makes me an ideal candidate for the position of President. During my time at Hackley, I have shown that I am willing to work with both my peers and my elders in a respectful and open-minded manner. As President, I will engage with all members of the student body to understand their thoughts and feelings on the ways in which life on the Hilltop can be improved upon. While I do hold an inclusive personality, I am also a bold and resolute individual. My work on the Dial—work in which I regularly and deliberately challenged administrators—demonstrates my willingness to stand up for the student body. Both my teachers and classmates are aware of the dedication I put into my school work. I intend to apply my tenacity in the classroom to the position of President as well. In addition, my role on the Strategic Planning Steering Committee has given me unique insight into the opportunities and challenges Hackley faces. I will therefore be well-equipped to deal with the challenges Community Council may face next year.

While serving on the staff of the Dial, I have been committed to providing a voice of reform for the student body. Specifically, I have worked to understand the thoughts and concerns of my peers on issues relevant to our community, and I have then advocated for positions which have taken into account such perspectives. For instance, I co-authored a piece last year which called for the creation of gender-neutral restrooms. Such restrooms were created after the printing of our article. I am also one of two students who serves on the Strategic Planning Steering Committee where I work with parents, trustees, teachers, and administrators to lay the foundation for the next successful period of our school’s history. And I have dedicated a lot of time and energy into the strategic planning process. Finally, I have served as a Peer Advisor this past year to help advise freshman on the ways in which students should navigate the rewarding yet challenging experiences of the Upper School.

One of my goals for next year is to make the Upper School a more positive and healthy place. Too often are Hackley students enveloped with anxieties and pressures. I intend to play a role in changing our stressed and worried culture. But how? A recent informal survey I conducted for the Dial found that some teachers do not honor the “No Homework Weekend” policy. My administration will work with Hackley administrators to hold such teachers accountable. Also, a student I recently spoke with for a Dial interview shared with me his frustration over the shortcomings of the “Stress Down Day” which takes place before exams. The student pointed out that one day of stress-releasing activities is not a sufficient way of reducing stress. Such activities should be held more frequently throughout the school year. That in mind, my administration will work with Hackley administrators to use the Johnson Center as a place of relaxation and tranquility throughout the academic year. More yoga may be in order for next year! The performing arts are often neglected at Hackley. While I am not involved in plays and musical performances myself, I still value such displays of creativity and artistic prowess. My administration will encourage students to attend such performances next year, and we will also work with Hackley administrators to incentivize more students to attend plays and concerts. A popcorn machine at student performances sounds like a solid place to start. I also want to increase the school spirit and the camaraderie on the Hilltop next year. To do so I will advertise and foster excitement around big events such as Snow Ball and Field Day. But I’m also interested in bettering such events. How does an actual photo booth at Snowball sound? With regard to increasing student camaraderie, I would like to create an official Hackley FORTNITE Facebook group where people can team up with their comrades and build new relationships. I would also like to establish a Hackley Meme Day, a day in which people can dress down to dress in attire representative of appropriate and humorous memes with their friends!

Paul Peruzzi

I would be a great candidate for the position of president for two main reasons: my experience and my goals. I have already served as president of the junior class and have been a very active member of community council. I have always been a ready and willing participant in all council work and events and plan to continue to do so. Also, having been president of my grade for the past year has given me the experience of being in an elected position on community council, and will help me to better understand what ideas and events will be possible and most successful, as well as experience as to how to put these ideas into action. Having been on council I have very clear ideas of what I want to accomplish and I know what goals are realistic and worth pursuing.

I have contributed to the Hackley community through my work on community council, contributions to Hackley’s community service and my attendance at sporting events. Having served on council I have done plenty of work in the planning and organization of events for the student body such as snowball, movie nights, and so on. I also am the co president of the abbot club, a community service club at hackley which reaches out to underprivileged foster kids in the area, and have lots of experience getting the student body involved in community service and community building activities and events. I have also always been interested in promoting a strong school spirit. I have always tried to be a strong presence at our school’s sporting events and one thing I am running on is getting an increase in school spirit at our sporting events.

If elected to the position of president, I have some very clear goals for ways to increase school spirit and put together achievable and enjoyable activities for each grade. One of the platforms I am running on is increasing school spirit. I really believe that as president I would be able to accomplish this, and if successful, increasing school spirit would be one of the most beneficial things for the student body. Having been going to hackley sporting events for years, I have seen less and less spirit at games over the years, and I firmly believe that with some help and better organization with council we can increase spirit and attendance at sports games. In my speech I will go into more detail on the specific policies I will implement to make this a reality, including organizing fan buses, helping fund, supply and organize cheering squads, and creating half time competitions for fans who attend. Along with my specific plans to increase school spirit and game attendance, over the course of the next few weeks, I will be going around to each grade and asking people what they want for their grade in the coming year. Having served on council and knowing what ideas are reasonable and achievable, I will find the ideas from each grade that are popular and I will be able to make happen. This way, going into the year, I will have specific activities and events in mind that the people from each grade will actually want to do. In my speech, I will be addressing these plans in far greater detail, but to just give a taste, for my grade, next years seniors, I plan on brining back the ping pong table in Allen hall to have a permanent and better organized ping pong tournament for the senior class for the whole year. And if successful, these new programs could be available for any grade. I look forward to going into even more detail for my goals as president next week in my speech.

Zaya Gooding

I would be a good candidate for this position because I am dedicated. Because of my experience in Hackley’s Community Council, I am already aware of the immense work and responsibility that it takes to be Community Council President. I am willing to put in the work that this role requires. I have a lot of experience in leadership in and out of Hackley, and I am ready to take on this role as a leader, along with my roles of club leader and team captain next year.

I have participated in many school clubs, even being one of the leaders and publicists of Hackley AGSA. I have been on the softball and fencing teams. I also am currently a member of community council this year.

My main goal is to make the year the best one there can be for Hackley students. We are all so stressed in Hackley’s environment. As president I won’t be able to remove that stress completely from my peers, but want to be able to help Hackley students with this problem through events and fun activities, to bring the community together.

Cory Gorczycki

Through my work for my charity, Ski4All, over the past two years, I have acquired strong leadership and organizational skills. The various steps to make the charity a reality allowed me to learn what it takes to lead an initiative and get things done. I also know the work that is required to organize successful events, and I understand how important it is to compromise and listen to others’ opinions and needs. I also achieved leadership skills as a co-captain of the JV squash team, as a Science and Tech Editor, as section leader for the Jazz Band, and as a peer advisor. I have developed effective communication skills and I am self-confident presenting to large and small groups – from making presentations to potential donors for my nonprofit, and with colleagues on the school newspaper. At the Dial, I also developed strong writing skills – as a journalist and as an editor. I also write a blog and use social media frequently for my charity. I have become a peer advisor and a very active ambassador to try and help the Hackley community. This has allowed me to assist other people, whether it be a freshman or a prospective student. I answer their questions, give them advice, and share personal anecdotes about my high school experience so far. I have also had the chance to participate on the squash and baseball teams, the jazz and concert bands, and on the staff of the Dial. These experiences helped to make me a team player.

Hackley has given me a remarkable opportunity to have a well-rounded high school experience. I’m able to be in the concert and jazz bands while also writing and editing for the school newspaper. I can participate in all this while playing on the squash and baseball teams. I really wanted to find a way to give back to the Hackley community, and I have done that so far through being a peer advisor and ambassador. Whether it be a prospective student or a freshman, I want to make sure people become more informed about how people like me have been able to participate so many different activities and classes at school while maintaining a balanced life. Now I feel passionate about giving even more of my time to the Hackley community which is why I am running for President.

Given my experience interacting with a wide variety of students from different grades due to my varied classes, I would be a strong candidate to represent our student body. If elected to this position, I would create more social events for the school. A wider variety of fun events, like a bonfire with smores, a scavenger hunt, or a live musical event would be a really productive way for the Hackley community to see more of each other in a casual setting. I would also organize community service activities to bring interested members of the student body together to engage with people in need in the nearby communities around Hackley. I have seen first-hand that this can be a really amazing experience for not only the participants, but also for the volunteers. My underlying goal is to provide the student body with a persuasive voice and represent my fellow students as best that I possibly can. I want to listen to their ideas, questions, and requests, and try to respond to them to the best of my ability.

Amy Chalan

I would be a good candidate for this position because I am experienced, passionate, and dedicated. I have been on Community Council for 2 years of high school experience as a grade representative and as grade president. Throughout those 2 years, I began to learn how to take the opinions and voice of the student body and, while not always successful, at least attempted to put them into action. Because I was not on council my junior year and instead part of the student body itself, this has given me a perspective on how the majority of Hackley students perceive the aims and inner workings of Council. I now understand how frustrating it might be to feel when your suggestions don’t seem to be getting through. Instead of participating in Council my junior year, I am the Co-President of Hudson Scholars, Soup Kitchen, and the Progressive Action League. I have learned how to listen to the input of my peers and work efficiently with others and how to handle all the aspects of planning big events such as budgeting and organization. I think having these experiences as well as the love and dedication I have for Council would make me a qualified candidate for president of Community Council. In addition, I have learnt a great amount of responsibility and how to look at things from a broader view, anticipating the impact of Community Council, which the president of Council will have to be able to do since they overlook each grade’s representatives. Overall, in my experience working on Council and other clubs, I have learned that inspiring a love for learning in middle school students in Hudson Scholars or planning community service events to people in need makes me happy as well. This why I have loved all the time I’ve been able to spend on Council and since it has been one of the most impactful experiences for me at Hackley, I am ready to continue trying to improve the Hackley community the way I did my freshman and sophomore year.


Throughout my experience at Hackley, I have been a part of many clubs and organization including Community Council. On council specifically, I have contributed to or organized the US bonfire, Snowball, Candy Grams, Field Day 2016 and 2017, the first annual Haunted House, and a movie night for my class. During my freshman year I created a system to package the candy grams and deliver them successfully in which we sold over 200 candy grams and organized the Class of 2019 sweaters with Belle and Mikhaila. In both years on council I constantly emailed teachers and Hackley members to coordinate Council events and worked with my peers to listen to their ideas and bring them forward to the entire Council. My biggest project on Council was spearheading the T Shirt Contest to create Hackley merchandise to sell to the students. Outside of council, I have organized now monthly events for the Hudson Scholars Club. These include the annual December Holiday Dinner where we hosted about 100 guests from the program and the annual Easter Egg Hunt for the scholars. Through this program, I have strived to provide an outlet for students to mentor and teach middle school students as well as grow as a leader themselves from the experience. In addition, I was involved in planning the recent walkout at Hackley in February and was given the opportunity to read the letter written by students to our representatives to promote awareness for the issue of gun violence in our community. I have also been a part of Soup Kitchen since my freshman year and will lead the club with Matt Fisch next year, where students aid in a local monthly soup kitchen.


If elected as President of Community Council, my overall goal would be making Hackley a better community for the students, since high school is a major life experience. As a junior going on senior myself, I know it goes by extremely quickly. Throughout my Hackley experience, I have learned how importance a sense of community is and would strive to improve the support Council provides to students through both planning exciting events and working with the administration to change aspects of the school that students would like to improve. Although many candidates may stress the creativity of their new, complex ideas, my main goal would be to promote regular students to be able to contribute to Community Council and organize activities people will actually appreciate and attend. I would formally organize an online method of submitting ideas to Community Council, which would give the student body a bigger and more official voice, and would also increase the transparency of Council as a whole. More specifically, since my freshman year on council, we have been trying to organize an entirely new Field Day that fosters more school spirit like ones that public schools have. This would include better organization and more diverse activities so more students would attend and participate as well as organize bigger lead up to Field Day. Also, in the past Council has tried to plan a spring carnival/music festival, which I can promise I will try my best to make happen, involving food trucks, live music performances, and activities for the entire upper school. Another problem a lot of Hackley students face is handling academic stress, so I would try to organize more events and changes geared towards reducing stress and academic pressure such as a Stress Down Week utilizing the new gym where students would be able to relieve their worries. I will also try and recreate the excitement around fundraising projects like Candy Grams, so Council will have a bigger budget for Snowball. With a larger budget, Council would be able to improve the Snowball experience, by making it more exciting and interactive for students. Another way to do this would be by organizing more merchandise like the Hive T-shirts Council has sold in the past.

All School Candidates for Vice-President

Kyle Spencer

I am an effective communicator who has strong relationships with both the student body and the administration. I have the ideas and skillset to get things done and make a difference in the Hackley community.

Established and Directed Hackley Holiday Fundraiser for the Buildings & Grounds and Kitchen Staff, and I plan on continuing this next year. I am a three year student ambassador. I have coordinated the Change for Kids dodgeball tournament for P. S. 81 for the past three years. I am the founder and president of two clubs.

I want to concentrate on better communication between the students and the faculty, particularly regarding the college testing date for Junior year (ACT and SAT), which were mishandled and very poorly coordinated, this year. I want to increase participation for students attending the Hackley Stings each season. I also would like to improve the sports acknowledgment amongst the student body.

Varun Krishna

I want to be the voice of not just my grade, but of the whole high school. I want to be able to make sure that everyone’s ideas and concerns are heard and thought about. I think that I have great leadership skills. I am able to get a group of people to focus on a particular task, and I always have a positive and encouraging attitude. I have been told that I am a good, patient and nonjudgmental listener, and this is very important for a vice pres, as they have to be able to lead, but also listen and incorporate the ideas of other people at all times. I am also able to my feet. When time is short, I am able to remain calm, and figure out a solution to a problem, for example when the boys squash team had no coach, it was I who was able to think quickly and notify the school of alternative options. I’m also a fun and outgoing guy, so I won’t be afraid to take any risks. My charismatic personality and creative mind will allow me to work with the president to make next year as fun as possible.

I have contributed to the Hackley community in many ways. I have been the leader of the Round Square club for the past 2 years, doubling the membership of the club in each year. Through Round Square, I have also encouraged many middle and upper school students to step out of their comfort zones and take risks whether it be being a leader on campus or by traveling away from home. I have also been an admissions ambassador and have had the opportunity to welcome new faces to campus. On a smaller scale, I am never happy to see someone alone at lunch, I either go and sit with them, or invite them to my table. I try my best to make sure that everyone feels welcome in this community.

I would make sure to work closely with the school president and treasurer, as well as the representative from every grade to coordinate and set up a variety of school activities, such as ping pong and spikeball tournaments. I want to establish some sort of way for the students to be able to give suggestions to council, because I’ve heard in the hallways people suggest great ideas, but there isn’t an effective way for these ideas to reach council. This way, council can reflect the student body as closely as possible. I would also like to find ways to increase the attendance at school events such as sports games, drama plays and concerts. VK for VP.

Rahat Mahbub

For starters, I think I’d be a good candidate for this position because I haven’t been on community council yet. This has allowed me to view community council from the outside, as a regular Hackley student, and see what other students who aren’t on Community Council have seen. Joining Community Council would add a completely new perspective to the meetings, a perspective of someone who can input new and innovative ideas on how to plan events more efficiently and make the student experience much more enjoyable. Alongside being able to propose my own creative ideas, I always do my best do be a good and thoughtful listener. Whenever I can, I plan on taking in the ideas, suggestions, and recommendations of all my peers from all grade levels and implementing them into Community Council, which would integrate the popular view into Community Council, helping Community Council make more informed decisions about what would give Hackley Students the best experience they could have here.

My contributions to the Hackley Community cover a wide range of activities. I’m a leader of Hackley’s autism awareness club, Life’s Worc. I’ve also been a part of multiple theater productions, contributing as both cast and crew. I’ve contributed to the lives of 17 lively freshmen by being one of their peer advisors, which requires extensive planning and coordination with my co peer advisors. Furthermore, I’ve contributed to the growth of Hackley’s community by being a Hackley Ambassador for all three of my years here at Hackley. I’ve also been a part of Hackley’s fencing team, both as a strong fencer and an even stronger supporter. Adding Community Council to this list would enable me to contribute to the Hackley Community at the highest level, making Hackley a better place for all students to enjoy.

My main goal is to unify the Hackley Community through Community Council, and create events that excite all students, not just specific groups, and makes them want to show up and participate, increasing Hackley spirit overall. For example, one of my major plans is to increase advertising for the drama productions. My goal is to make it so that the PAC is over capacity for every show, similar what we saw in “Almost Maine.” Along with this, I also want to help maintain an increasing amount of excitement throughout the student body for events such as Coffeehouse, sports games, Snowball, and Field Day. Another one of my goals is to create more Hackley accessories using student input, similar to the Hackley phone pockets. I also want to create a greater number of community council sponsored, grade-wide de-stress days, especially for a few of the blocks of school that don’t really have any breaks, such as the space in between spring break and summer that we’re currently in.

All School Secretary/Treasurer Candidate

Charlie Hite 

I am very interested in numbers and math and would look forward to contributing to the council in the best ways I can.

I have been an active member of the Hackley community but have yet to run for a community council position. I have joined many clubs in the past such as Midnight Run which I will be leading next year. I have also been a 3-sport athlete.

My goal is to contribute anything I can to make Hackley a better and more fun place.

Anastasia Popova

I think I would be a good candidate for this position because I have spent many summers studying mathematics. Due to this, I can confidently say I am capable of not only thinking methodically and being organized but also picking up and learning new skills. While I have never been a part of council before, I think that I will bring an interesting perspective to the meeting and will be able to put my best efforts forward in overcoming any challenges that come up.

Throughout my time at Hackley I have had the opportunity to engage with the Hackley community of all ages. This past summer, I spent three weeks working at the Hackley Summer Camps in an engineering class with lower school kids. I really enjoyed spending time with the little kids and acting as a role model for them. Also, I have been a part of the Upper School Math Team for the past three years and have helped lead the team through multiple amazing “seasons”. Finally, I have been a three-season athlete for the past three years and have had the opportunity to not only learn from the older students on these teams but also act as a mentor for the younger kids who are coming into the program.

If I get elected to become the Secretary/Treasurer, my goal is to not only make sure the goals of the student government can be funded but also being transparent with the student body about how and where money is spent.