Meet the candidates: Student Council President, 2020-21

NOTE: Student Council elections for Passaic Preparatory Academy will be held virtually on Wednesday, Oct. 28, from 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. All Prep students are encouraged to vote. The Boulevard staff will offer information on the candidates right up to Election Day to help voters make an informed decision.

Millions of Americans have already voted in the 2020 Presidential election. Here at Passaic Preparatory Academy, students will be able to choose their Student Council President, Vice President, and Secretary/Treasurer. 

We reached out to the candidates for President of Student Council with six questions that could help you decide who to vote for. 

The candidates:

  • Junior Amy Zarebczan, who was president last year
  • Junior Amari Gawthney


TBO: Why is Student Council important? 

Amy: “Student Council is important because it installs life skills in our student body. Student Council helps you develop communication skills, leadership skills, and it is a way for you to bring your ideas to life.”

Amari: “Student Council is important because it brings together a bunch of student leaders that want to be able to make a difference in the school environment.”


Amari Gawthney
Junior Amari Gawthney is running for Student Council President in 2020-21. (Photo courtesy of Amari Gawthney)

TBO: Why did you decide to run for office?

Amy: “I decided to run for re-election because politics is my passion. I have been able to do so much for our Student Body and for our City’s youth and it has jump-started my political career for my future. Our student body needs a leader with experience, and a leader who goes above and beyond during uncertain times like now, and I believe that I am that leader.”

Amari: “I decided to run for office because I know that I am an amazing leader and someone who will fight to the ends for any and everyone else before even thinking about myself.”


TBO: If elected, what’s the most important thing you would do?

Amy: “I would help bring our student body together. In times like now we have to come together and stand up for each other. Right now many students are struggling with virtual learning, so I really want to focus on providing resources that students need to find motivation to keep pushing through this challenging time.”

Amari: “If elected, I am to make NO promises but I will try my hardest to get what’s asked and needed for the student body. The most important thing I would do is be the voice for those who are not yet heard and those who are ready to be heard and need an outlet into solving their problems.”


TBO: How is having elections virtually harder than doing them in person?

Amy: “Out of all the campaigns I’ve ran, this is definitely the most challenging! It is challenging because it is harder to reach our peers. Usually when candidates campaign we are able to physically interact with our peers, and physically give speeches. This year, we unfortunately cannot do these things, so candidates really have to get creative with ways to reach our peers.”

Amari: “Having elections virtually is harder then doing it in person because I can not have one to one conversations to be able to answer the questions of all those who want to ask anything about my campaign as well as not having the same ways to be able to campaign and get people to want to vote for me. But as every leader who is dedicated I will find others ways to get our messages across.”


TBO: Why should the students elect you?

Amy: “I’ve been an advocate for students for a very long time now. I have done things that the majority of teenagers have not had the opportunity to do, but it’s all because of our student body and student leaders. Our students need advocates to fight for them, and to really speak up.”

Amari: “Students should elect me because I am a person that no matter how hard things get I will always continue to push until everythings done the right way. Not only persistent but always dedicated to anything I put my mind to. I am not afraid to speak forward when I see something is wrong, as well as me being a friendly face for all those who want and need to approach me to talk about anything, ask any questions or just to simply have a conversation.  Another reason could be because sometimes change is needed and a lot of good things can come out of this change.”

TBO: Can you make a difference for the students at Prep? How?

Amy: “I feel that I can and have made a difference for students at Prep by being a consistent leader. What I mean by this is I remind students that they’re the backbone of everything that our council does. Students motivate me, and I hope that I can only motivate students. Majority of our student body and I have built trust. Making a difference just doesn’t come from one person, it comes from all of us at Prep, and that is how I’ve been able to make a difference and will continue to do so.”

Amari: “As I stated before, I will never make promises that I am not sure that I can fulfill, but I do plan to be able to make a difference for students at Prep. The only promise I will ever make is to always keep working for what’s best and never giving up. I also plan to be the outlet for all members, not just certain grades or certain people, as my public speaking fear has slowly drifted away. I began speaking to many throughout the school to be able to build a connection to where they are never afraid to talk to me. So one thing I will work on is to make sure everyone is included in these choices and problems going on throughout the entire school because only sticking to one group or one grade eventually does not benefit everyone and my main goal is to be able to have everyone included and be able to have every ‘social group’ feel welcomed at Prep and to make sure that every single student in Prep knows that their opinions, problems, and concerns matter.”