The student news site of Peddie School

The Peddie News

The student news site of Peddie School

The Peddie News

The student news site of Peddie School

The Peddie News

Co-President Statement : Leon (Linfeng) Zhao

Co-President Statement : Leon (Linfeng) Zhao

Candidate Statement 
When I first arrived at Peddie as an international student, I found a second family amongst the diverse and supportive student body. For all that I’ve learned from the people I’ve met
here, I believe that I must give back to this community and be a role model for others just as people have done for me. Thus, my candidacy for Co-president is one of selfless service. I
believe Co-presidents should be willing to sacrifice personal interests for the betterment of our community and strive to encapsulate Peddie’s core values in their words and actions. They should be open and accepting of everyone’s voices and be able to convey these voices to the administration. Lastly, Co-presidents should unite students under the mission of becoming better citizens and leaders.

Governing student council and the school will take a good portion of your time, what other activities both in and out of school do you plan on participating in? How will you balance them?

I’ve been a varsity swimmer all three seasons since my freshman year and was always able to mentally and physically balance that with whatever I was doing. I also lead the Young Voices SIG and have had to organize meetings relating to the SIG. These experiences have trained me to find time in small chunks, whether that be during meals or in the transition between blocks or chapel. If elected, I will continue these habits, making sure to find time to talk to and serve the student body.

What qualities do you possess that makes you a good role model and representative that will allow you to be a leader of the entire school?

I will always strive to stay true to what I think is right and won’t change my principles because of peer pressure. However, I’m able to stay flexible in my approach to issues by finding innovative solutions. Having met with the administration on many occasions for my SIG, I’ve developed the ability to find creative ways around obstacles. You can always approach me to express your opinions as I’m empathetic and non-judgmental. Most importantly, I can focus on the problems at hand rather than on how people view me.

What ideas do you have for change and how would you implement these ideas? What would you like to continue?

My ideas for change revolve around DEI, mental health, and open communication. As students, we face pressures from all angles–parents, teachers, friends, and ourselves–and we all yearn to be heard by someone. While the administration and student council are working towards incorporating the opinions of more students, there still are plenty of underheard voices since an elected representative can only talk to so many people. Everyone’s voices must be heard to foster a sense of belonging in the community. My solution is to have small group, student-led conversations across campus which create safe spaces for discussing issues in the community or just sharing experiences to increase connectivity. Every participant’s voice can be heard in these conversations, creating a more powerful collective voice that better informs the student council or administration. Furthermore, facilitators of these conversations shouldn’t be solely limited to student council members as it’s important to empower students outside of the council to become leaders of change. Through campus-wide conversations, we can connect people from different backgrounds, fostering mutual understanding. The second thing I hope to work on is giving the student body a larger stage to express their interests. Every single one of you is talented in some area and I think we can learn from our respective passions. To do this, I hope to increase connectivity between the student council and student organizations(clubs, interest groups, affinity groups) as well as collaboration between these student organizations themselves. I hope the student council will continue working with clubs in designing community meeting events. The student council–which is informed about the collective needs of the community–can also aid in club initiatives by offering advice. I have already worked on some of these ideas and hope to continue them as Co-president.

Q & A

What are some clubs, activities, teams, or groups that you’re a part of on campus? 

I’ve been a varsity swimmer since freshman year and did Model UN during my freshman and sophomore years. I also lead the Young Voices SIG, a student interest group that hosts small group student-led discussions.

What is your favorite Peddie tradition/Peddie memory?

My favorite tradition would have to be the bonfire run that the swim team does before Blair Day. Yes, it’s cold but the energy and coming together of the whole school around a bonfire is something truly special.

What are some things you like to do in your free time?

I like to watch movies with my friends and have discussions about life in general late into the night. On the weekends, my friends and I also karaoke random songs from APUSH and musicals. I also follow club soccer(I support Barcelona) and watch matches every week.

Favorite book/movie/tv show?

My favorite movie is Forrest Gump which is always nostalgic since I remember watching it a lot with my parents. My favorite book is Life of Pi from my freshman year humanities.

What song/songs have you been listening to most right now?

I’ve been listening to a lot of songs from musicals recently, mainly Les mis. But my go-to artist is Chopin.

Share a fun fact about yourself!

I’ve actually lived in three different countries: China, Australia, and Canada before arriving at Peddie.

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