Have a question for Max? Ask it here!

In order to create a more substantive election, The Gilman News’s editorial staff consulted a range of students to discover what the voters would like to hear the candidates talk about. Candidates were asked to elaborate on the three following subjects:

1. Tri-School relations: After a turbulent year, articulate your thoughts on how we could improve our relationships with the girls schools?

2. Gilman Culture: What defines Gilman culture? What specific aspects of Gilman culture would you like to maintain, add, or remove?

3. School Unity: What specific actions would you take to create a more unified student body?

4. Any issue that has fractured or angered the student body in the past couple of years


Hi everybody. For those who might not know me yet, my name is Max Sobkov, and I’m running to be your school president. Today, I’d like to talk to you so you can learn a bit about myself and my thoughts on certain issues from the past. And how better to start than on the topic of Gilman culture? 

This is a tough question to answer because it is asking me to generalize Gilman which I can’t do. I love the energy at sports events and It’s academic tapings. The people who perform at coffee house and in the various shows and in the classroom. Even the cheering for the events to which people wouldn’t go like mock trial championships. Each one of us is completely unique, which is exactly what I love. Take the student who is president of health club. At band practice, he might sit next to a member of the track team, who runs with traveling men singers. Every part of Gilman and every one of you contributes to its culture. Having taken club photos for two years now, I’ve seen first hand the broad scope of interests that we have to offer, and all I can say in terms of what changes I would suggest is to get involved in them. Even if you just go to sit and watch, if the club sounds interesting, you will be entertained. Also, talk to teachers whomst you like about starting a club. I assure you that most of them have some interest that they would like to share with a group of students who might be interested in it as well. I also think the competitive sports teams are an incredible part of our culture and create the greatest sources of spirit. We go completely nuts and I love it.

I think this is a good start on how we have already started to unify the student body, but what else can we do? I’ve already started to tackle this issue through barbecue club. We can give people a reason not to leave campus, to stay for at least a bit to watch the games while they eat. Next year, I’d like to extend this further and offer any club, team, grade or other organization bbq club’s services. I envision it as a club for the whole school and as long as you’re willing to work out the details including planning a week in advance, the club will try to bring even more people to your events. I wonder about the question of unity though, because the question implies that we have a problem with unity, which I do not believe is the case. I remember being a freshman and staying in my very close group of friends, but now I also hang out with an entirely different group of people. It seems to me that unity happens naturally and the only way that the process can be expedited is by having more events which can encourage people with different interests to go. My solution for this is to have you all elect even more all school leaders, which I will touch on in more detail in my speech on Tuesday. 

Next, I’d like to talk to you about tri-school relations and how we can improve them. It’s no secret that the senior room incident and events surrounding the 2016 presidential election created tension between the schools. This came from a lack of open honest dialogue. We share classes, productions, and many values with girls from both schools, yet at the same time, the schools or individual students will sometimes have very different opinions which need to be shared. This is where dialogues become productive. I thought the tri-school dialogue that the juniors and seniors had was a good idea and I would like to create a sharper focus on specific issues. If an problem manifests itself where disputes between schools is created, we should try to organize a dialogue with student leaders from both schools. The dialogue will be opened to the student body because at the end of the day, every one of  us has a stake in trying to make the three schools a community of dialogue and understanding. My hope is that we can recognize that we have a difference in opinion and turn that into a positive from a point of contention. My hope is that next year, we can start fresh as an upper school and be aware that the way our school think is not the same as the girls schools.

Finally, I get to speak about an issue of my own choosing and today, I want to talk to you all about nights that we are told that we don’t have homework. On any night which we are required to stay late at school, we are told that we will have a no homework night, but this is rarely the case. I want to work with Mr. Heubeck and every single one of you to make sure that we can feel comfortable going to dialogue night or the Mountcastle lecture without worrying about what we will have to do when we get home. In addition, there are nights that are not no homework nights that I believe should be. For example, a large part of why we are at Gilman is to prepare for college. I know that there are plenty of students who didn’t go to the college fair this year strictly because of too much homework. I’m not going to give a false promise of many no homework nights. I simply want to protect the ones which we already have and add one or two reasonable ones where they are necessary. If we can keep an open dialogue with Mr. Heubeck and the faculty and use rational arguments, I assure you, we WILL have a great year. Thank you and go hounds!