The Student News Site of University of Detroit Jesuit High School
+-+On+the+left%2C+Vice+Presidential+candidate+Danny+Miller%3B+on+the+right%2C+his+opponent%2C+Mike+Mathis

– On the left, Vice Presidential candidate Danny Miller; on the right, his opponent, Mike Mathis

Vice Presidential – Q&A

April 25, 2021

Q: Why did you choose to run for your specific position in the Senate? What difference do you think you can make in that position? Please provide specific and detailed answers.

Miller: I chose to run for Vice President of the Student Senate because I want to ensure every student can have the best possible experience next year. This is what truly motivated me to run for this position because we have already lost so much to the COVID-19 pandemic. When looking back at previous years, before some of us were even at the High, students had weekly student sections, so many dances, and always had an opportunity to stay after school for an activity or event. We all have lost these opportunities, so as we bounce back next year, I want to be the one fighting for and ensuring every Cub has the best possible experience. I believe this role works specifically well for me because I am a person who loves to support others and push them forward – so taking on the role of Vice President, I will take it as my responsibility to ensure the Senate and our President are constantly motivated to push forward and thrive. I think I will make a great impact in this role because I know all the candidates quite well and will be able to effectively work with them all in the upcoming year. I will make this difference by ensuring I try to talk with my fellow Senate officers each day and make sure we have careful and up-to-date schedules that will keep us on task. I believe this will work very well for me because I have plenty of experience motivating and organizing others –  whether that is helping run a communications team, motivating my teammates in Track and Cross-Country, or even helping out guys in the classroom. I really believe I am the right person for this position because I have been a people-person can rely on when they are stressed and need help. I will continue to do this as an Officer and work for all of you.

Mathis: I chose to run for Vice President because I love U of D and I hope to share that enthusiasm with everyone else. I believe I can be an effective right-hand man to the President and communicate well with the many diverse groups we have within the student body. I make a point of reaching out to people in different classes and different activities. I really try to be a Man for Others and to look out for the people who might need a little extra help or a connection to someone at the school. I have many ideas centering around mental health and school spirit that I look forward to implementing.

Q: What Senate activity would you like to replicate and build on?

Miller’s Response: When I read through what the duty and role of the Senate are, one of the opening lines states, “The Senate sponsors dances on a regular basis, represents student issues to the administration, and directs a variety of activities designed to promote school spirit.” When I read this line, I realized we have really not been able to build on and utilize dances or spirit-filled student sections in past and present years. Looking forward to next year, as we begin to reemerge from COVID-19, it is my primary goal to create a new Winter or Spring formal dance. Along with this, I want to ensure every sport, whether it’s hockey, soccer, tennis, etc., has a “Fill-the-Bowl” type event. When I first came to U of D in seventh grade, being able to enjoy the camaraderie at football and basketball games was one of my favorite things to experience. Now, looking forward, I want to ensure every student can still have this great opportunity, but also ensure every athlete understands that they have the whole school community behind them and supporting them.

When it comes to dances: I’ve been at this school for almost five years now and in my total time here, I have only had two dances. Some students could have been here since the Academy and have never been to a single dance. We lost these dances not because we made a mistake, but because we, for some reason, have to pay for the mistakes of people who are not even at this school anymore. I will fight for every student to get more dances next year to make up for what we have lost. I have already talked to members of the Administration about how to do this next year. So I will ensure my fellow students, if you want dances and unbelievable student sections at your sports next year, vote Miller for Vice President.

Mathis: I would like to build on the student sections at athletic events. For example, a “Fill-the-Bowl” style event for all sports, from E-sports to Football. They are an important part of our identity as students here, and we missed out on the opportunity this year. Hopefully, as Covid begins to wind down, the Student Senate will play a pivotal role in having the upperclassmen enjoy their final years and having the younger Cubs learn what we are about. I think a good sports rivalry can be fun for everyone at school – not just the athletes.

Q: Each Senate officer leads a Senate committee. Which committee would you like to lead and why? What new idea would you bring to your committee?

Miller: I personally would like to lead the Student Activities Committee. I would want to lead this committee to ensure we bring numerous events back to The High that we missed this year, ensuring everyone gets the high school experience we deserve. This includes ensuring next year’s seniors receive all the activities they deserve, and all grades are able to participate in all the events next year that they may have missed this year due to COVID-19. Obviously, I would work to ensure every student has at least two dances each year to make up for all the ones we lost, and I already have plans with the administration to execute this.

Secondly, Cubs have had extremely few opportunities to interact with or meet the ladies at our events in the past and present. I would want to change this by hosting events such as movie nights, student sections, pig roasts, etc…, that invite girls from numerous schools to attend. While this may sound like it is not feasible, I have also already talked to the Administration about this and a plan to execute it by simply communicating with other schools’ student governing bodies. Overall, my goal in leading this committee is to make up for the time we lost in high school and create the most
memorable year yet.

Mathis: I would like to lead the Student Section Committee and continue with my idea of a “Fill-the-Bowl” style event for all sports. Being in the student section is a huge part of being a Cub. During my freshman year, I was a JV wrestler. There was a small student section that came out to support the team and it really had a positive effect on how I competed that day. Even now I remember that feeling of everyone cheering for me and I want every Cub to feel that.

Q: Senior year is full of excitement, hard work, and fun. However, as a Senate officer, you’ll have a lot of extra work to do. What activities are you involved in and how will you balance these?

Miller: Currently, the activities I am involved in include Varsity Cross Country, Varsity Track and Field, the Spring Musical, Generation of Promise, and Scouting. I am fairly involved in all of these activities and have tried to show leadership in each one, but I recognize that if I am elected to this role as a Senate officer, I will need to take a step back from many of them. The way I plan on balancing these is by prioritizing my job as a Senate officer as my number one responsibility. If there is ever the situation where there is a practice or rehearsal at the same time as a Senate activity or event, I will have to choose the Senate activity because that is what I signed up for going into this. If I were to stick to my own schedule and only do what I want, I would be dropping the ball for all those Cubs who choose to elect me for this role. This will also take a good bit of time management ensuring I stay on top of school so that I can provide you all with a great year. Overall, as Vice President, I would make all of you and your concerns my number one priority.

Mathis: I am a Varsity Football player and Track and Field thrower. I am also involved in the Band and the Big Brother program. I learned how to manage my time early on at U of D and I am not afraid to work hard. I think what makes all of us good candidates is that we are so involved in activities at school. Being involved in the Student Senate along with my other activities is the best way to show my Cub pride and leave a mark on the school.

Q: What do you see at UDJ that currently needs the most improvement or change? What would you do to get the change in motion? What would be the sign that the change is in place?

Miller: One of the biggest issues I see at the school currently is addressing students’ mental health. Over this past year, the school attempted to implement “Prepare U” as a way to “create dialogue” and “move the needle” of mental health, but this program did not work for the majority of the students at The High. We need to ensure we do not use a program such as this again. This does not mean our mental health is not important. Though this program may not work for us as a student body, we still need a way to address mental health because we have lost too many close friends and brothers over these past years to anxiety, depression, and stress. A change needs to be made. I believe the best way to address this issue is to create a program driven by students at U of D. My personal belief is that the best setting to be honest about my mental health has been at school retreats in situations led by fellow students. This allows a genuine connection and understanding because we are experiencing similar things right now. I believe the best way to address mental health is to create an optional opportunity for students after school weekly, where students can come and talk about how they are doing. This could be done through “BeNice,” which already works to promote mental health and help students.

Overall, I think this optional program run by students would prove to relate much better and focus on students who actually need it. We also need to work with our counselors more to promote mental health weeks and days that allow students a chance to unwind and relax during our stressful semesters at U of D. These weeks should definitely demand a lower amount of homework so that students can relax. We would begin to see a change at the school through there being a common dialogue about mental health, as students understand they can rely on and talk to each other about these things. They will also just be able to relax more, knowing they have these breaks and opportunities to unwind.

Mathis: I would like to see some adjustments in our approach to mental health. I believe Prepare U has its place, but ultimately is less effective to teach mental health, especially to the younger students. I see this every day as a Big Brother. I believe the mental health week should be brought back and expanded to once a semester or even more frequently. Students need the opportunity to speak about their mental health in a less formal setting and learn ways to develop solid foundations for positive mental health. In this academically rigorous environment, I think the change will be obvious with students feeling better and being more comfortable seeking help.

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