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Daily Bulletin

CGI Presidential Elections: an Interview with Sarah Bjerklie

Sarah Bjerklie with her running mate Alessandra Canario

Sarah Bjerklie with her running mate Alessandra Canario

Non-CGIers may not know that during period 2 on the third floor, a CGI student body of around 200 debate domestic and foreign issues, plan community events through various departments, and operate under their own government and constitution. After Tuesday’s brief presidential debates, CGI students still have many questions about the candidates running for President and Vice President. To help inform you, The Bull has given each presidential candidate an equal opportunity to answer questions about themselves and their candidacy.

Tell The Bull a little bit about yourself. I am a passionate and driven student. I’m a first generation Spanish-American—my mom came to this country when she was about 5 years old. Family is very important to me. A lot of my family on my mom’s side lives in Spain, and I visit there almost every summer. I have a sister who goes to Boston College, and I have a cat and a dog. I swim and dance competitively, but I love doing both just for fun too, and I do yoga. I have worked as a CIT at Sharron Miller’s performing arts summer camp. I’m also a lifeguard.

Why are you running for CGI President? I’m running for CGI President because I love what CGI stands for. I’m really interested in government and politics, and after high school I plan on studying political science. I honestly think it’s so cool that CGI runs like a mini government. But above all, I’m running because I want to enact positive change and ensure that students in CGI thrive and have a genuinely great time while in the Institute.

What one word would you say best describes CGI? More than anything, CGI is “community”. Whether we’re writing legislation and debating or not, we complain about the same assignments, love the same teachers, and attend the same events. There’s always something to talk about with someone from CGI, because we share the same experiences.

What was your favorite CGI moment? My favorite CGI moment was listening to Jackson Brietzke dubstep Adele at the CGI retreat last year. 

What do you think of the new Congress format? Honestly, I dislike the new Congress format. I definitely see the value in making debate more focused so that we don’t just debate “opt out of gym” bills, but still, I really don’t like it. I think that with this new Congress, we debate less legislation. I also don’t see much value in the position papers. From what I’ve heard, most people don’t like the new Congress either. I just want to make sure that I accurately represent everyone’s opinion. It’s really important to see where the teachers are coming from though. If elected, I would make it a priority to meet with the teachers and discuss constructive ways to resolve the issues with the new Congress.

Do you think CGI is politically balanced? In general, I can agree that CGI tends to be a left-leaning body. However, I don’t like to see things in terms of black and white, or Republican and Democrat. We work together as a body, and so I don’t think we should draw strong party lines. Some CGI students will feel more conservatively on certain issues, while others will be more liberal, and I think we should encourage this. CGI should be a place where both conservatism and liberalism are embraced.

Considering the changes made to 2nd period by teachers this year, how do you as a student propose to make substantive change next year? If elected president, I have a specific plan for reforming the new Congress. Instead of debating just one issue like gun control or immigration, we’ll be able to write and debate bills within the jurisdiction of a given congressional committee, which will change every few weeks. This is will broaden debate, so that everyone can write bills/resolutions on issues that are important to them.

If you had the power to change one thing about CGI today, what would it be? If I had the power to change one thing about CGI today, it would be for the Institute to make more of a difference. I think everyone would be more enthusiastic in Congress if our legislation enacted real change. I would love to encourage CGI to write legislation that will actually affect us. If we want to paint the CGI hallway blue, then let’s do it!

Are you in support of the changes made to CGI this year and the “new CGI”? I’m not a huge fan of the changes. I miss CGI last year, but this could be because as a sophomore, that was the only CGI I knew. I know that a lot of seniors miss the way CGI was their sophomore years. I will work to bring back the major components of CGI that we all miss, but at the same time I recognize that it is important to embrace change.

What is your opinion on the amount of homework that is assigned in CGI classes? I’m not going to lie and say I haven’t complained about the CGI workload. I despise Federalist Papers and resent any test called “megatest.” But the CGI workload is the only workload I know. I can’t speak for what it’s like in history and English classes outside of CGI. Despite all of the CGI workload craziness, we all somehow manage. I really feel like we’re getting a well-rounded education through CGI.

What clubs or sports are you active in? I participate in Model Congress and Model UN. I’m the co-founder and vice president of the MHS Ballroom Dancing club and I’ve been a co-president of the Latin Club for the past two years. I swim on the MHS swim team and on the Red Hawks team outside of school, and I do ballroom, jazz, ballet and modern dance outside of school.

What do you do in your free time? I go on runs, do yoga, and hang out with my friends. I also love to cook and travel, and watch Parks and Rec on Netflix. And I love going into NYC especially for a cupcake run to Magnolia’s Bakery.

What is your favorite book, movie and food? My favorite book is Slaughterhouse 5. My favorite movie would be Devil Wears Prada and my favorite food is definitely sushi.

What is your #1 pet peeve? When someone asks to “see” your phone and insists on guessing the passcode until your phone locks you out of it for 5 minutes. 


7 thoughts on “CGI Presidential Elections: an Interview with Sarah Bjerklie

  1. I think Alessandra over stepped her commitment to CGI in the debates “the most important thing in my life”? come on

    Posted by student | March 20, 2013, 10:47 pm
    • Dear student,
      Honestly I do consider cgi is the most important thing in my life. Of course given 30 seconds to speak it is hard to express this. I feel that cgi has been able to shape me in such a way that no other institute can. Not only has it taught me, and inspired me, but it shaped me. It has pushed me to expand on my own beliefs. It has given me the platform to create any type of crazy fundraiser I could imagine with a support system. CGI has also led me to meet the most amazing friends, and feel passionate to hundreds of people whom I may have never met otherwise. Because of this there is no other “thing” that I can prioritize above this institute and the people in it. This is the honest truth take it or leave it.
      Now I understand that this is the not consensus among many students of CGI. That is why it is important to “be the change you want to see in the institute.” If Sarah and I can get the other students to see it as we do and make it their own we can be even more successful.

      Posted by Alessandra Marie Guadalupe Canario | March 20, 2013, 11:29 pm
  2. If President doesn’t work out Sarah should run for CGI QT because she’s about as cute as a button!

    Posted by Locke | March 20, 2013, 11:22 pm
  3. I don’t think how adorable she is has anything to do with this election. we need someone with a authority, and i don’t think she commands that.

    Posted by Anon CGI | March 20, 2013, 11:58 pm
    • It matters when it makes someone more approachable, likable, and relatable. These are qualities that are important in any leadership position. No this is not the most important quality for a candidate, but it is also not Sarah’s best quality. Sarah is organized, passionate, kind, and full great ideas for the institute. Given authority this year she has proven to be all of these qualities and more.

      Posted by Student #200 | March 21, 2013, 12:10 am
    • No one said that it has anything to do with her qualifications as president.

      Posted by Locke | March 21, 2013, 6:48 am

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