Andrew Kofsky: Race for Presidency 2017
March 27, 2017 • 656 views
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Correction: The editors of The Banner failed to note that the author of this article, Daseul Kim, our spotlight editor, is also the campaign manager for Andrew Kofsky.
Whether spotted competing for the Varsity Tennis team, editing for the Banner’s Sports section, leading in World Affairs, or igniting important conversation among his peers within the Harriton Politics Facebook group which he has founded, Andrew Kofsky proves to be a valuable advantage for the Harriton community. In addition to his noteworthy list of involvement at Harriton, Kofsky recently announced his candidacy for presidency this spring. We were able to sit down with Kofsky for an interview to hear more about his campaign and ideas before the primary election is held in a week.
Harriton Banner: How would you describe yourself?
AK: I would describe myself as enthusiastic, dedicated, reliable, funny (sometimes), and most importantly, a leader.
Harriton Banner: Please tell us about your involvement in Student Council.
AK: I have attended all of Student Council’s meetings and brought in concessions for every Student Council event. This year, I was even lucky enough to make it to the finals of the Quidditch tournament. Another Student Council event that I really enjoyed was the Tailgate this fall by the football field. I was one of the first people to arrive, and got to play cornhole with special needs kids. I was the last one to leave, and helped our awesome sponsors, Mr. DiPaul and Mrs. Condon, clean up before I left. On the Student’s Rights Committee, I fought for Harriton students’ rights, especially when it came to helping to unblock useful websites. As a member of the Tech Committee, I worked on building Student Council’s website and the Mr. Harriton website. I have sold ads for Mr. Harriton, been responsible for getting the third place prize, and served as one of the ushers for the show this year. While I was shadowing current President Ben Barnett in the week leading up to Mr. Harriton, he asked me if I would mind giving up my seat with the rest of the school and working one of the projectors during the show. I was happy to help and so proud that I worked backstage at such a great event that raised over $30,000 for charity!
Harriton Banner: What made you decide to run for president this year?
AK: There were a lot of different factors that went into my decision. I am running for president for all of the students at Harriton who want a stronger sense of community. I am running for president for all of the students at Harriton who do not come out to sporting events because of a lack of school spirit, for all of the students at Harriton who are feeling the stress that comes with Harriton’s competitive culture, and for all of the students at Harriton who feel marginalized or even afraid to speak up due to fear of social backlash. Most of all, I am running for president to make Student Council more accessible to anyone who wants to have a voice and make that voice heard in their student government, and more transparent so that students can evaluate the officers and members of Student Council based on their campaign promises and what they actually accomplish.
Harriton Banner: What makes you a great leader?
AK: I am a good leader because I am willing to take charge of a situation and am passionate about the activities that I take part in. I always look to maximize the potential of everyone that is in the group that I am leading. I think my ability to communicate effectively is also really helpful in making me a good leader. What makes me a great leader is the ability to delegate. For example, as Sports Editor of the Banner, I manage about ten writers and have to assign them their articles, make sure that they are writing their articles on time, and that they include all relevant content important to understanding what they are writing about. Most of all, I think I stand out as a leader due to my ability to relate to people and have conversations with people of many differences.
Harriton Banner: How do you plan to lead the student body?
AK: I would lead the Harriton student body with grace, humility, and a down to earth and more personal style. I think that the best way to lead is to listen to the people that got you elected in the first place. During Lunch and Learn, one day each week, I would go around to different tables in the cafeteria and to different groups of students that are scattered around the school, and ask them about their experience at Harriton. I would ask them what they like and what they want to improve upon. From my own discussions with students, I can tell that this method would be really effective, as they expressed appreciation for me taking the time to speak with them.
Harriton Banner: What does your campaign platform consist of?
AK: I have a very ambitious campaign platform, yet at the same time, I think that my entire platform is made up of ideas that could actually happen, assuming the other officers support the ideas, as well as the administration. In my time at Harriton, I have seen students seeking office that raise campaign ideas that are really exciting; for example, being able to type your PIN number in at the Breakfast Table and even an afternoon breakfast table. The problem with these ideas and many others is that people have been trying to make them happen for years, and nothing has come to fruition. I think that my platform will set me apart from the other candidates because it is composed of unique and fresh ideas. The idea that I think students will find most exciting would be an application for smart phones called Ram Council. To give a brief overview, the app would allow students to see when their teachers are available to meet, including up-to-date information on their prep periods and when they are in the learning center. In addition, you could make appointments with NHS tutors through the app, and connect with tutors more conveniently. Furthermore, students could sign up for clubs through the app and even check out the lunch menu options provided by the wonderful Chef Mo. One of my ideas to increase school spirit is to set the tone at the beginning of the year by bringing homecoming back to Harriton. I also want to bring spring Quidditch to Harriton, and the winner will play a team fielded from Lower Merion.
Harriton Banner: What do you love about Harriton?
AK: I absolutely love our campus. Whether I drive by Harriton during the day or at night, I never cease to be amazed at how breathtaking Harriton is. From everything to the classrooms, the gym, the LGI, the athletic fields, and the Greenhouse, Harriton has amazing facilities and as a school we are so lucky to have them. I love the educational opportunities at Harriton, ranging from thought provoking electives like Philosophy with Mr. Scullin, to AP classes, to the International Baccalaureate Program, and so much more. I love that so many people choose to spend their time after school at Harriton participating in a wide variety of activities. I love the teachers at Harriton and I love the connections I have made at Harriton with people of so many different interests. We truly have an amazing school, and I want every student to be able to look back on their Harriton experience and feel the same love for their school that I do.
Harriton Banner: What would you change about Harriton?
AK: The wide consensus from different groups of students I have spoken with is that advisory needs to be revamped. I think that advisory, especially for underclassmen, should focus less on completing worksheets and activities and more of a focus on motivational and educational videos that will give students a chance to learn, for example, study skills, time management, and how to deal with social situations, which are all things I think anyone could benefit from. Some students have mentioned that they think that the Cafeteria food could use an upgrade, and I would do my best to see how I could try to bring costs down and to increase the quality of food.
Harriton Banner: What would be the easiest way for students that are interested in getting to know you and your campaign more, to reach out?
AK: The best way for students interested in getting to know more about me and what I am campaigning for is simply to walk up to me and strike up a conversation! I would be happy to talk to anyone about my ideas and why I think I am the best candidate. If you are busy during Lunch and Learn, or just feel uncomfortable speaking in person, that is totally okay too, and I completely understand where you are coming from. My Snapchat and Instagram are both @andrewkofsky, and feel free to “slide in the DMs” and I will definitely respond to you! If that all feels too personal, feel free to email me at [email protected]
Harriton Banner: What message do you hope to send to Harriton students through you running for president?
AK: The message I hope to send to Harriton students through my run for president is that your vote and your opinion matter at Harriton. Too often, I hear students tell me, “I’m probably not going to vote because so and so is going to win anyway,” or “I’ll skip that basketball game because no one will probably go anyway.” This is the year where you have a candidate that is truly committed to making the school a better place for every student, and I firmly believe that I am that candidate.
Harriton Banner: Why should the Harriton student body elect you as our next president?
AK: One thing that I want to stress to every Harriton student is that it is important to vote and make your voice heard. That being said, I hope that Harriton students will elect me as our next president for a couple of main reasons. I have demonstrated that I am committed to Student Council through my active participation in our events, especially Mr. Harriton. I have a proven record of being a successful leader in both the Banner and World Affairs Club. In particular, I was really proud to be a part of the delegation from Harriton that won Best Small Delegation at the Philadelphia Model United Nations Conference, and I played an integral role by helping the underclassmen write their papers and feel comfortable before the conference. One aspect of my experience in Student Council that truly separates me from the other candidates is my experience in both the Student’s Rights and Technology Committees, which are the committees that the president oversees as part of the president’s role in Student Council, and I am proud to say that this year’s Tech Committee supports me in my run for president. Most of all, I think that students should vote for me because my ideas are very realistic and could very well be instituted even if I do not win the election, and my proven leadership record and specialized experience and dedication to Student Council makes me uniquely suited to deliver on these promises. I would like to conclude with a final thought. Even if I do not win the election, I still plan to be very active in fighting for your rights, which is something that past candidates who have lost the elections have not necessarily held themselves accountable to. I encourage all freshmen, sophomores and juniors to take the time to look at the platform and experience of all the candidates running for every position, and to vote for the person you think will do the best job at each position. I hope to earn each and every one of your votes!