By: Laura Chen
Smoke Signal: What changes will you implement if you are elected as ASB president?
Alton Lin: What I think we could change is supporting our athletes. What I’ve noticed is that a lot of the attendance for sporting events is quite low, and it’s kind of disheartening to see. Especially since I’m an athlete myself, I know what it feels like to be on the home court, playing and looking into the crowd, and you see fans from the other schools outnumbering the home crowd. So I think what we could improve is working with the Warband organization. I think they’ve really taken a good step forward this year, but I think there’s more that could be done to cover all the different sports and all the different athletes. And I think this is really important because athletes make up a really big part of our school, so I think it’s really important to support them.
Tammy Tseng: I agree that athletics are really important. I think that all stems from having a good communication base. This year they’ve made good improvements with msjasb.org, we’ve been having more outreach days, but I think that could be taken a step further definitely. We’ve only had one or two outreach days, we haven’t had any Warrior forums of late, not many suggestions coming through. In addition to that, I think bringing back more charitable fundraisers, like two years ago they had Clash of the Coins, they had Bald for Bucks, and both of those, they got a lot of student participation, I think in part because they go to a charitable cause. So I think people are encouraged more to come out and support, so it’s a win-win situation. You’re giving money out to a really great cause and you’re also encouraging student participation in school events. And last of all, people have been saying that the service hour process is very long-winded and complicated, and people want to be able to check their service hours online. And there’s no easy way to do that right now, so I think implementing a system for that would be really helpful.
SS: What is your greatest strength and what is your greatest weakness? How would you work with each quality in the position of ASB President?
AL: I definitely think experience is important. The thing is though, I think all the ASB candidates that are running, they all have the leadership experience. A lot of them have been in L2, a lot of them have been class officers. Being class officer is a really unique experience. You learn all of the things about leadership that you wouldn’t be able to do without that experience. So I think experience is definitely important, but I don’t think it’s something that really defines any candidates that are in the election right now. I think what really defines me is what I like to call willpower. And the thing about willpower is, it’s not something everybody has. It’s more of that drive, that perseverance. When times are tough, someone needs to be able to step up, and I think that’s what really serves me and what would really make me a great ASB president, because being ASB President is not an easy job. There’s a lot of criticism that comes with it, a lot of stress, it takes a lot of time, effort, and energy. And I think this willpower is really what makes me unique because we need not only someone who is experienced, not only someone who is responsible, we also need someone who can step through when times are tough and even in the most stressful times like sleep deprivation, all of those things, somebody that comes through and can give their 100% all of the time.
As for my weakness, I would say on the spectrum from conservative to risky, I tend to lean more to the risky side. I like to take risks. One of my ideologies is “go big or go home.” If you can do it big, why settle for less? And at times, it can be a problem. It can lead to over-ambition and things like that, but overall it’s a good thing because you learn about the decision-making process, you learn how to make better decisions. The thing is, by making mistakes, you learn how to not make the same mistake and how to improve as a leader. That’s what I think is actually something that I’ve learned from, and I’ve been able to make better decisions. I think this is a good thing for ASB presidents to have, to have good decision-making skills.
TT: I think my greatest strength is the presidential expertise I picked up throughout the years. This experience is so incredibly important because you’re learning to delegate, to plan ahead, schedule, create the agenda, you’re basically leading all the other leaders. Definitely having that insight is my greatest strength. Working with the other ASBOs, I definitely need those skills to be able to lead all these people into a field where all of us will be unfamiliar with the task because we’ve never been on ASB.
As for my greatest weakness, probably I’m a little bit of a perfectionist, so sometimes I pay attention too much to small details. I’ve learned, however, throughout the years, to delegate more, to assign these responsibilities to other people. So I am working on improving my weakness, which I think is the most important part. And next year as an ASBO, definitely that’s just going to help me more, that’s going to help the team more, and help L2 more and the school.
Smoke Signal: What motivated you to run for ASB President?
AL: The one thing I did realize is that this year, all the ASB officers are seniors and they’re all going to be graduating this year. I really believe someone needs to step up and lead the L2 class next year, and lead the school in general. I got a lot of encouragement from the students I’ve been working with, from a lot of my peers, and a lot of the other Leadership students that I would be suited for this position. What really motivated me is that I feel responsible to lead the school in the right direction. As a leadership student, you definitely want to make sure that you’re making an impact, you’re making a difference, and I believe this is the way I could do that, to really lead the school and form a vision for what ASB has. This way we can make sure we can solve the problems that need to be solved and we can listen to all the students’ concerns. So what really motivated me was, in general, the encouragement I received from other students and a sense of responsibility for the school.
TT: I think all the L2 students feel the sense of responsibility. That’s why we’re in L2. We want to serve the school, we want to help. Especially me, I also feel that responsibility, also considering I’ve been president for so long. I have been in this leadership role for so long and I know what it takes, what exactly needs to be executed and what I need to do next year if I am ASB President. But definitely what motivates me most is knowing that as ASB President, you leave a legacy behind. It’s different from class work, where homecoming, prom, some things change every year but pretty much they stay the same, whereas ASB, whatever you do, whatever you change or improve, it really sets the precedent for the next year. For example, www.msjasb.org. They started that last year and now it’s grown so much. You definitely see that whatever ASB does, it sets the direction for the future years. So what I want to do is really make use of the scope of ASB work and take in student suggestions, student opinions, put them into creating a new MSJ legacy.
SS: Which fictional character do you think you most resemble, personality-wise, and why?
AL: I would say Nick Fury from The Avengers because he has a lot of components to him. He’s very multidimensional. On one side he has his resolve. He’s the leader of a group of heroes. As a leader, I’ve worked with a lot of people and I’ve been able to delegate and work with them and lead them in a direction. Something about him that I really admire is that he’s not exactly the most flashy of characters, unlike all the other superheroes with the powers. He’s not the flashiest of characters, but at the end of the day, he still gets the job done, he’s still able to execute his plan, and he’s able to really pull through in the end. I think that’s what really makes him an important character. It’s because he relies on his abilities, his natural qualities of leadership, and I think that’s what really exemplifies me. The sense of leadership, the sense of knowing your strengths, knowing your weaknesses, knowing who you’re working with, and it’s just that familiarity.
TT: I think I’m a mix between Harry Potter and Hermione Granger. I’d say Hermione is the logical side. She’s the one who thinks things through, plans everything out. I’m definitely a planner and an organizer. I’m very big on that. But Harry is the one who’s the heart of the group and I definitely feel that over the past few years I’ve learned to be the heart of the group, the person who keeps it driving, keeps the momentum going, especially as President for so many years. And Harry Potter is a good message overall, positivity. That’s really what I stand for, leading by positive example and by influence.