Transparent transitions

Transitioning from the previous SGA leaders to the incoming for the new school year


Photo Courtesy of Elliott Lee

The old and new SGA administration standing together from left to right: Rushil Umaretiya, Bhaswith Suresh, Sean Nguyen, Leon Jia, Tiffany Ji, Yeefay Li, Vibhav Kuriti, and Jordan Lee.

Ketevan Gallagher, Staff Writer

Student Government Association (SGA) elections have recently concluded, and the student leadership that will be a part of SGA for the 2021-2022 school year has been chosen by the student body. Leon Jia will be President, Yeefay Li will be Vice President, and Rushil Umaretiya and Vibhav Kuriti will be Treasurer and Secretary, respectively. An officer position in SGA is not a job to take lightly, and because none of the new officers have any prior experience in SGA, they have a lot to learn. However, the previous leadership, and especially the previous President and graduating senior Sean Nguyen, have been eager to help out and show the new leadership the ropes during this transitional period.

“Sean was very helpful. We spoke immediately after I was elected, [and] he gave me a lot of materials… I really appreciate what Sean has done in the past year,” said junior Leon Jia, who is the incoming President.

Yeefay Li also agreed with Jia’s statement and added that the previous Vice President and senior Tiffany Ji was a big help too. 

“[Sean Nguyen’s] been really helpful, giving me a lot of tips on how things work, and helping me transition into the role of Vice President by giving me other projects that are a chance to take on bigger responsibilities and to take the lead… Tiffany, the former Vice President, called me one day and we just talked a lot about her role, because we’re in the same role,” Li said.

Because of the pandemic, Nguyen didn’t have a transition period; the elections happened in the fall, so most of the former administration had already graduated and gone off to college. Nguyen is working hard to make sure that the incoming leadership doesn’t have to go through the same struggles he did.

“I was one hundred percent pushed into the deep end. I essentially went, overnight, from someone who was just in the steering committee position — that was the term coined for the temporary position I was in — into SGA president. I didn’t really have a mentor like I’m trying to be a mentor for [the new officers] now, and in many ways, I just got pushed into the position,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen and Jia have both talked about their vision for the school and student body, and Nguyen has really put in the effort to make sure his successors build upon the shoulders of the last administration.

“Leon Jia and Yeefay Li, I was on like a four hour call with both of them, and I step-by-step walked through every avenue, every failure, every shortcoming I’ve experienced this part year, and very meticulously said: this is what I see as the vision for this upcoming school year… [I] tried to listen and ease into their own vision for where they see the school year coming into, and tried my best to give them advice,” Nguyen said.

Li has voiced that she’s excited about the opportunities to change Jefferson for the better that will be accessible to her in her role as Vice President, and she has added that she’s most looking forward to working with the Mental Health Coalition to improve mental health recognition and support at Jefferson. 

“[The Mental Health Coalition] is a group of people from PTSA, administration, class council, SGA, and TJ Minds Matter, the school’s mental health club. It’s where we all meet together and work on [mental health] initiatives,” Li said.

In addition, Li is also excited for the opportunity to help plan homecoming (Hoco) as an SGA officer. 

“Planning Hoco this year, even just one day, was already really exciting for me, and I think it’s going to be even better to fully plan in-person Hoco [next year],” Li said.

Overall, Nguyen believes that the new officers will do a great job, and urges the student body to give them a chance, even if they may not be the candidate they voted for.

“Absolutely, they are going to do a phenomenal job… I know the election was kind of contentious and sometimes tense [this year], and for a lot of students…sometimes the outcome that does occur, it’s not always the perceived outcome that you want. I’ve always said that we need to give these new officers a shot just like I was given a shot by the student body when I was elected,” Nguyen said.