Olivia and Ben are both seniors and Co-Student Body Presidents at PCDS this year. They’re gregarious, smart, and tremendous leaders. And, they’re different– Olivia is a national champion debater and very into theatre, while Ben is the founder of a very popular Photoshop club at PCDS and leader of our Robotics team.
Q. What are yours and Ben’s plans as student body presidents this year? What is your main area of focus as a student body president?
A. Ben and I decided that we wanted to try a different approach in running senate and thus are focusing on facilitating the senate through systematic planning and ideating. We created a framework in which all the senators have to fill out, aiding their process to make their ideas reality! We really want to be a bridge for the student body and administration, helping each and every one of the PCDS community achieve what they want!
Q. You are into performance art tell us a little more about that?
A. I’ve always loved to perform ever since I was young. However, it wasn’t until high school when I joined Speech and Debate that I saw the potentials that performing could hold. I have also translated this view of performance into my theatre as well. I discovered that through my own performances and through those of others, I could understand others more deeply. From performing, I have gained a sense of sympathy and empathy because I am listening to the stories of whom I portray and translating that story to others. I think performing has great capability as a platform to develop mutual understanding between many types of people.
Q. You are also a National championship debater what is that like?
A. So I am actually a National Speech champion, not debate. They get mixed up all the time, so it’s definitely confusing! Speech is quite different from debate. Essentially, it is competitive acting in different areas. The event I won my championship in is Duo Interpretation. This event is different from others because I perform with a partner. My partner graduated last year. His name is Matt Corsillo. We performed apiece called The Good Father. It was amazing performing with Matt because we both just loved to perform. That was all we wanted to do, and to tell the story of our characters as best as possible. The championship was definitely amazing and one of the most surreal experiences of my life! To perform and be recognized as a champion was amazing.
Q. What are you looking forward to most about being co-student body president?
A. I am most looking forward to working with Ben. Our school hasn’t had co-presidents before; it’s unprecedented. But I think that this is definitely in our favor! We’ve already broken down one precedent, so why not more!? I’m exciting to be a pioneer with Ben by my side and try new things! Uproot the system a little bit!
Q. What was one awesome thing you did this summer?
A. This summer I had an internship with Book of the Month Club in New York City. It was amazing experiencing the city and being a working woman in the world! I am ready to set my mark in the world as a strong woman!
Q. What are yours and Olivia’s plans as student body presidents this year? What is your main area of focus as a co-student body president?
A. Both Olivia and I want to make a difference in the PCDS community by increasing communication and collaboration, yet our means of achieving that vision are somewhat different. Olivia is focused on enhancing the student experience, and is constantly overflowing with ideas of how to do so. She is introducing new activities and events to unify the community and strengthen the relationship with the administration. She wants to make attending PCDS more enjoyable, while I’m focused on making it more practical. I hope to bring structure to the senate, so it can be as effective as possible. The student government has been rather disorganized and it’s challenging to hold people accountable. There has been a gap between the interests of the student body and the senate. I hope to create a framework that can be followed for years to come, to keep us organized and our interests aligned with that of the student body. We have already been able to accomplish a lot through our cooperation, and I believe our vision will be much easier to obtain through collaboration.
Q. You are involved in A LOT at PCDS, can you give us a brief synopsis of what your life is like outside of the classroom?
A. My life is rather turbulent outside the classroom. Debate takes up most of my time, but the time I’m not using researching is quickly consumed by robotics. I used to spend much of my week in Boy Scouts, but ever since I got my Eagle, other activities have filled the void, including Photoshop club, Students for the Exploration and Discovery of Space (SEDS), and now student government. To make time, I often sacrifice sleep and lunch periods. I really enjoy myself though, so I’d say it’s worth it.
Q. What do you think drives you to be involved in so many extra circulars and also do so well in school?
A. My ambitious nature has driven me to where I am today. When you live with someone who is exactly like you, it’s hard not to become competitive. My twin brother, Reed, unintentionally compels me to push myself in every aspect of my life. I strive to be the best at everything I do, yet often over commit myself as a result. I’ve become good at balancing my life only after all of my failures to do so. My grades, sleep, and social life have all suffered at some point due to over commitment. Over time, I’ve learned from my mistakes and changed my priorities so that I can be as involved as possible both in and out of school.
Q. If you do actually have time what do you like to do for fun?
A. I hate to do nothing, so I often involve myself in programs to occupy time. In the rare occasion that I have free time, I try to do something less demanding. I love to play Dungeons and Dragons, but since that requires other people to play, I usually find myself watching extremely terrible movies or playing video games.
Q. What is one awesome thing you did this summer?
A. The best part of my summer was attending Speech and Debate Nationals. Although I didn’t succeed in my main event, the experience was wonderful, and I learned a lot about argumentation.
Ben and Olivia are both seniors at Phoenix Country Day School.