First-Ever Whittle Student Council Elected

Our Whittle Upper School students cast their votes on November 5, 2019 in Whittle’s first-ever student council elections! Twelve upper school students spent weeks preparing, campaigning, and debating, and it’s safe to say we definitely have some future politicians in our midst.

In the month leading up to this historic event, Assistant Director of the Washington, DC Center of Excellence, Greyson Mann, with support from Head of Upper School, Ara Brown, led a research team of 9th and 10th graders to create the initial student council structure and determine a fair and thorough election process. Eager to ensure student priorities were considered and valued, the passionate group did not take this responsibility lightly. They deliberated how the council could be most effective, transparent, and inclusive, especially in its first year. In fact, they proposed that in lieu of having one student preside over the council (e.g. a President), the leadership should be dispersed between two students to ensure accountability and balance.

Whittle’s student council is one of the most anticipated initiatives launched through the DC Center of Excellence, which focuses on international cooperation, diplomacy, and social entrepreneurism. “Since the inception of the Center of Excellence concept two years ago, the student council has always been a foundational goal for us. The COE team is excited to see students learn more about governance in how it relates to the school along with local and global policy making,” says COE Assistant Director Greyson Mann. 

The planning finally came to fruition in late October as twelve students announced their candidacy for the inaugural election. Each of them developed platforms, campaigned, and even participated in a friendly but fierce debate—where they proposed creative, insightful, and impactful ideas to better the student experience.

Candidates listen Mr. Mann (front) explain debate instructions.
Candidates listen to Mr. Mann (front) explain debate instructions.

In the end, the race was tight, but the votes are in! For the 2019-2020 school year, Sophia Nicole Bay and Basil Wasinger will serve as Co-Speakers of the Council, with Rachael Muresan as their Vice Speaker.

In her opening statement at the debate, Sophia expressed her commitment to collaboration and impact within our campus and beyond:

“Community Service and outreach throughout the city will be the cornerstone of my mandate. There are so many opportunities to serve as representatives of Whittle so my main task will be for us to channel all of our positive energy and personal ambitions into a few community projects that will be both sustainable and hopefully long lasting.”



Grant Baxter, Catherine Brentzel, JiaJia Fu, Isabel Gray, Dionis Martinez, Calla O’Neil, Natalia Polo, Addison Rose, and Charlotte Weir will all serve on the cabinet, and support the Co-Speakers and Vice Speaker. 

The Center of Excellence would also like to recognize the students who have chosen to serve in the Student Council's volunteer positions. 

  • Parliamentarians: Zoe Beck, Douglas Boateng, Oliver Cox, Hudson Purdy
  • Judges: Robbie Favaro, Daryn Fling, Simon Lee, Devin Thompson, Padraic Wasinger, Amy Weng, Christine Wood
  • Representatives: Meliyah Evans, Lara Gutierrez, Ellie Fitzgerald, Harrison James, Mak Nurkic Kacapor, Inshera Kankam-Boadu, Asher Riser, Ella Song, Marley Wingfield

Last week, Sophia, Basil, and Rachael led their first official meeting and are already discussing important issues, such as the tardiness policy, which is currently being deliberated by school leadership.  

Co-Speakers Sophia and Basil and Vice Speaker Rachael lead the first official student council meeting.
Co-Speakers Sophia and Basil and Vice Speaker Rachael lead the first official student council meeting.

Next up, the student council will finalize their priorities for the year and craft the official Whittle student council constitution and bylaws. Reach out to Greyson Mann at for more information.


About the Washington, DC Center of Excellence

Each Whittle School has its own Center of Excellence (COE) in which students work with mentors to explore an area of interest with unprecedented depth and focus. In the heart of the nation’s capital, the Whittle Washington, DC COE is focused on International Cooperation and Diplomacy. Modeled on research institutes at leading liberal arts colleges and universities, COEs will connect the Whittle learning community with the world beyond our classrooms. Our global network of COEs will develop students’ learning along STEM and humanities pathways and foster design, communication, and problem-solving skills.