Candidate for MAL Chairlady: Claudia Garcia


Why are you running for your desired positions on Student Government?

The duties of a Member-at-Large can often be demanding: working a morning shift every week, arriving to school early to make bouquets for birthday lunches, blowing up hundreds of balloons to ensure the school is festive for events, and making sure that everyone is acknowledged on their birthday. While these contributions to the school often go unnoticed, I find that being a MAL is nonetheless very rewarding to me. When people look around and see the school’s cheerful decorations, such as the birthday balloons, I recognize that the welcoming atmosphere of MCA is due in part to not only my hard work but also the hard work of the other MALs put together. The accomplishments of the MALs is the product of the united effort of students who share a strong dedication and love for MCA. As a MAL, I get to give back to a school and student body that has done so much for me in growing as a person, but more specifically as a leader. In addition to running for MAL, I am running for MAL Chairlady because I want to be a leader in a way that models the values of MCA, which I believe are sisterhood and devotion — devotion to individuals, to the community, and to God. Knowing my strong work ethic, I know I can handle the responsibilities of MAL Chairlady, and I hope to use my talents to promote the interests of the Student Government.

What is one thing you want to accomplish this year in your desired position? How will you go about doing so?

I want MALS to feel more appreciated for their hard work and contributions to the school because many MALS feel that their position is not as important as the other positions on Student Government. I want to encourage MALS to be in more positions of leadership since MALs have a talent for working in teams to get a job done. Since MALS mainly work with balloons, I want to extend the use of their talents. More specifically, I want MALs to help organize and be leaders durings events that are often times very hectic when a large portion of the Student Council is involved, such as Bulletin Board days or New Student Orientation. MALS can use their creativity, positive attitude, and teamwork skills to help make these events run more smoothly.

What is your favorite thing about MCA?

My favorite thing about MCA is the fact that the school has created an environment for us where we can exercise our potential and have the love and support of our faculty and peers. There is a club for everyone to utilize her unique talents, and the faculty structure our classes to maximize learning and give us the chance to explore our interests. During days like Spirit Day and Gym Day, each class comes together to create something spectacular while our teachers watch on proudly and then applaud our hard work. Even in small details, such as the round lunch tables or the desks arranged in pods, Mount Carmel has always made it apparent that its students are surrounded by shared love and support. I truly believe that is for this reason that I am able to accomplish all that I have, such as uphold a strong academic record, stay actively involved in the school, and happily interact with my peers at school. Since eighth grade, I have seen my diligence, confidence, and ambition skyrocket all thanks to the challenging yet supportive nature of MCA. I will always be grateful for the immense support and opportunities MCA has given me that has allowed for my development as a young leader.

How do you act as a positive example to other students at MCA?

Often times other students are surprised to hear my rigorous course load and involvement with extracurricular activities. I have maintained a cumulative GPA of 4.61, and I participate in various clubs and organizations apart from Student Council: Encore, Chorale, SNHS, NHS, and Teen Ambassadors Against Crime. All these clubs help me to grow as a leader in a group setting where everyone has a common goal. I come to understand others more. For instance, I understand that the structure of the school system, in general, is not always compatible with everyone’s learning style. Therefore, I like to set a positive example by uplifting other students when they feel stressed or offering help when they do not understand a lesson. I also like to give people advice on how to manage their time since I have noticed that poor time management is the root cause of many people’s troubles with school. Ultimately, my goal is to boost others to try their hardest and to set the example that nothing is impossible with both determination and organization.

Why should your peers vote for you? What qualifications do you have? Are there any awards you have received?

After having been a MAL for two years, I have gained so much knowledge on how to be a leader in the span of two years. I have seen and experienced myself what works and what does not work in terms of managing the time of the MALs, making me qualified for the position since I know how to effectively achieve the duties of the MALs. I am also aware of the MAL Chairlady’s workload to which I am willing to commit. I have also served as an officer for Encore for the past two years, giving me some insight on what it is like to be in an official position of leadership. In addition to these qualifications, I had never received a demerit until this year and had perfect attendance in previous years until now. By now, I have learned the value of hard work and what it takes to uphold obligations and expectations. Regarding awards, I was recognized as a scholar for my academic excellence by the New Orleans Hispanic Heritage Foundation. I am always proud to be an example of any group I represent.

How do you embody the term “servant leader” Be specific about your contribution both in Student Council and at MCA in general?

My intentions for being a leader are not about recognition, but rather, I want to be a leader because I want to be an advocate, a voice for others. I think I act as a “servant leader” by putting others before me and leading with everyone’s interests in mind.

Sometimes I take on tasks that go unnoticed, or I do things while being mindful of others. For instance, I stay and pick up any trash that remains after a morning shift, and sometimes I cut extra pieces of vinyl material for the next morning shift to use. Although I would like to help at more Student Council events, I do not sign up for them because the amount of people working an event is limited, and I know that other people need the Student Council points more than I do. When it comes to MCA in general, I like to be a “servant leader” by using my talents to help others. For instance, I value the success of my peers and my class as a whole. I am always willing to help when somebody needs an essay proofread, help with Spanish, a history review, or simply a quick pep talk.

Recognizing that MCA’s Executive Board is extremely time consuming, how do you plan to manage your time next year if you win? Be specific about your strategies for time management.

My biggest strategy is prioritization. I will never toss aside school work and instead try to balance all my responsibilities. Once I set apart times to ensure my schoolwork will get done, I will dedicate myself to my duties as MAL Chairlady. Once I organize my schedule with regard to both schoolwork and Student Council, then I will factor in the rest of my responsibilities since I do want to lose any prior commitments. Additionally, a current strategy that I will continue to incorporate next year will be starting on assignments as soon as possible and working on them periodically instead of waiting the night before to complete the whole assignment. This strategy has saved me from excess stress and has also developed my ability to focus on several things at a time.

What are some of the things you love about Student Council that you want to maintain?

One of my favorite Student Council events is SLR. I love SLR because I get to interact with new people and grow close to them as we play fun games throughout the night.

Specifically, my favorite part of SLR is when we all come together to cheer because it is very reminiscent of the excitement and pep of Spirit Day but without the added pressure of Spirit Day. Then at the end of the day, we all cozy up in the gym and talk to everyone about our day. I hope more people attend SLR to not only have fun but to learn about leadership.

What goals do you have for Student Council next year? How do you think we can accomplish those goals?

I want to increase participation and student turnout at school events because nothing is more notable than a school with spirit. Any school can offer various clubs and challenging academics, but not every school can have outstanding school spirit. School spirit is a reflection of the nature of the student body. I think we can accomplish increased turnout by offering new, different incentives to go to events since as of now, our main incentives are dress down days and spirit points. Not only can we offer more incentives, but I think we can make events more appealing and fun to students by making them more relevant to us or our generation in general. For instance, pop culture characterizes our generation, so using specific themes from pop culture to promote events, such as Pink Games, I think would target students in a way that appeals to nostalgia and individual interests more.

How do you spread JOY at MCA?

I spread JOY at MCA by recognizing God’s presence at the school and within each and every student. If there is anything that the bible preaches that resonates in my heart, it is to love my neighbors unconditionally. It is not something that comes easily all the time, but I strive to accomplish this everyday. I try to help my classmates when they need it, reserve any judgements, and remain patient when I am stressed myself. I know God’s plan for me is to follow in Jesus’ footsteps to be a leader with unwavering love for others. Ultimately, what makes me happy is being able to make others happy.

What strengths did you see in the member-at-large system this year? How will you continue to implement these strengths?

The two biggest strengths I noticed were the apparent teamwork of the MALS and the organization of the system in general. For instance, during morning shifts or senior birthday lunches, balloons are made in a manner that resembles an assembly line, where different groups of people work on different things. This way of taking on the tasks of the MALS proves very efficient. Additionally, I noticed that everything is very organized, such as the balloons separated by color in the bins. During morning shifts, the list of birthdays was always there, and everything we needed to make the balloons was either set out or in the cabinet ready for use. I will continue to encourage teamwork and comment when people are standing idly around during blow up days so that all MALs grow to learn how to help when they are not doing anything. I certainly want to maintain the organization of the cabinets and the way the system works in general.

What improvements do you envision for the member-at-large system for next year? Please give specific steps for improvement.

One thing I have noticed while working my morning shifts on Tuesdays is there is usually not enough pre-cut pieces of vinyl material to use, which is a minor inconvenience. MALs usually have to cut more vinyl material to create the birthday balloons. When I have to cut extra vinyl pieces for my shift, I usually cut extra pieces for the next group to use. The morning shift after mine benefits from this and does not have to cut out more pieces, avoiding the inconvenience altogether. To make this more equal, I would want to give the task of cutting out a large, set amount of vinyl pieces to a random morning shift when it seems the pre-cut pieces are running low. I would try to rotate this, so a different morning shift each time would have to cut more pieces out. This way, cutting a few more vinyl pieces does not have to be an inconvenience for some morning shifts to worry about each week, and there will always be pieces cut and ready for use, making the task of creating birthday balloons easier and quicker.

Additionally, I noticed that the work of morning shifts is usually unequally distributed within the people working a particular morning. This is in due part to both the number of balloons to make that day and the time that MALs arrive to school to work their shift.

The issue is not that MALs do not arrive on time but rather that everyone arrives at different times. Usually people who drive to school arrive around 7:00 am, and underclassmen who do not drive usually arrive later. On days when there are not many balloons to make, it is very common for the people who arrive earlier to school to make all the balloons and then deliver them to the lockers, leaving no work behind for those MALs who arrive later. While no one is particularly at fault for this occurrence since everyone is technically upholding their duties by arriving by 7:15 a.m., it definitely creates an uneven balance of work. This can also be an inconvenience when a MAL makes an effort to arrive to school on time only to find out that there is nothing for them to do. I think this can be easily be solved by enforcing the MALs to arrive at the designated time not earlier and certainly not later.

Another area where the system could improve upon is attendance to blow up days. I have noticed that many MALs do not show up to these days or show up late. It is often hard to notice when a MAL is missing or arriving late because the area outside the Student Council office is usually bustling with working MALS and balloons floating everywhere. It is unfair to the MALS who show up and arrive on time because it puts a strain on the MALs trying to get everything done on time. I would want to enforce attendance by having MALs come to me personally to sign in when they arrive. My goal is not to come off as harsh or look for reasons to penalize anyone but rather to make sure that everyone is upholding their obligations.