Zixuan “Camellia” Liu, as of April 18, is the new student body president of 2017. Hilal “Parla” Ozdelice, the former student body president, resigned via an all-school email on April 7.
Her presidency is supported by the administration. “[We] wanted to make it a smooth and thoughtful transition,” says Dean of Students Alun Polga. Head of School Steven Griffin says he “has a ton of confidence” in Liu.
So far, Liu reports that although it is a lot of pressure to step in with only six weeks left in the school year, she is eager to try her best. She does have some concerns, however.
“It’s kind of weird for me to take [this position] and I’m kind of concerned about how the students will feel towards me,” she says. Liu explains that she was given the whole weekend to decide for herself if she was ready to take on this new role. Over this period of time, Liu talked with her friends about what to do, and contacted her former advisor, Kelli Ross, who is no longer working at MacDuffie, to ask for her opinion. “For most students,” says Liu, “it’s probably not a big deal, but for me it’s a hard decision.”
Yi Qing “Whitney” Peng feels that this change in the student council has not affected her or the community much, but she has seen some positive outcomes. “Parla and I both had a lot of passions at the beginning of the year…But it kinda just fades away…[Camellia] likes to strive for the best, so it really helps me because my passion fades away and she still has the passion…I think it’s a good change.” Peng says that when she was privately informed by Polga that Ozdelice was resigning, he gave her the option to take on the role as head of the student body herself. Peng, however, turned down this opportunity. She says that there is not much of a difference between the positions of President and Vice President, and downplays the difficulties of the transition. “It’s just one more person, one more voice.”
“I think [Camellia] will do great,” says Ozdelice. “My advice is she should just keep trying.” When asked what the most important thing is about being a student leader, Ozdelice was ready with an answer. “Patience and courage,” she says. “If you don’t have the courage to start up things, than other people won’t do it. You have to show courage to do things and if people don’t try, you have to have the patience to keep trying.”
Ozdelice also emphasizes the legitimacy of Liu’s brief term. “Just because she’s a new leader and she just got in doesn’t mean that you can act like she’s not a leader or a [part of the] community,” she says.
With the support of the student council, friends, and advisors, Liu has willingly taken on her role as student body president. “I’m trying my best and I’m hoping the school will run with that.”
*Dean of Students Alun Polga is The Magnet’s co-advisor. He was not involved in any way with the reporting, writing, or editing of this article.