2023-24 Co-Chair candidate primary


Xavier Rolston

There are seven co-chair candidates this year that the upper school community can vote for in the primary. Only four will move on to the final election.

Matthias Jaylen Sandoval, Editor-in-Chief


Each year, several Masters students throw their hat into the ring and run to be the Upper School Co-Chair. All Upper School Students vote on the co-chair candidates so they can lead the community through Morning Meetings and Executive Committee meetings.

This year there are seven candidates and per Masters protocol, if there are more than four co-chair candidates, there must be a primary vote to narrow down the election. The primary election is on Friday, May 5. After the primary, the remaining four candidates will have the opportunity to give a speech to the community and following that, will be the final vote on May 12.

Tower will highlight all of the candidates and their preliminary candidate statements as this process moves forward. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order below.

Camilo Bitar-Racedo:

“Hi everyone, I’m Camilo and I would love to be your Co-Chair for the 2023-24 school year! Since my freshman year, I have always seen Masters as a social and positive community and as Co-Chair, I would love to continue to uplift and bring beneficial change.

To begin, Executive Committee in theory is a great thing to have, but it is too slow, and a very limited number of bills have been passed during my time at Masters. I would like to make executive committee faster and more efficient so we together can bring more great change to our community.

I also bring many of the necessary skills needed to be the strongest candidate. I am very approachable and a good conversationalist, so along with my public speaking skills, I would be able to maintain an engaging and connected family.

 I firmly believe that as a boarder, student of color, and financial aid student at Masters, I would be able to define and bring light to some of the struggles that a lot of students go through. More importantly, my strongest quality is that I am able to listen to what people have to say and what they go through. That way, I can best demonstrate my skills as a leader and as a positive influence in this community.”

Lydia Ettinger:


“Hi! My name is Lydia Ettinger and I am running to be one of your Co-Chairs. Throughout my time here I have loved getting involved in the Masters community, especially in the Writing Center, Tower, and on the Volleyball court. Through interacting with the community in a variety of ways, I have become extremely grateful for my peers who constantly push me to think courageously and with my might. Additionally, I have always considered myself to be a cheerleader of sorts because I actively support my friends and peers with good energy. I love love love to gab, so if I am elected I aim to foster an environment where students feel as if they can approach the Co-Chairs and share their ideas for improving the school. My main goals for improvement include making morning meetings as productive and efficient as possible, advocating for students to have ample access for expressing their ideas, and reassessing scheduling and curriculum requirements.”

Mahlet Messay:

“Hey everyone! I am Mahlet Messay and I am running for Co-Chair for one simple reason, to unify and uplift our community. Every student deserves the opportunity to feel heard and represented in our community. Growing up in Texas for most of my life, I know firsthand the challenges of not feeling represented in your environment. That is why I am committed to advocating and supporting every student in the Masters community. As a proctor in the dorms, I understand the hardships that come along with trying to reach a state where everyone is represented. However, I have worked, and still work, tirelessly to achieve that, and I can swear to you just that, if elected Co-Chair. To accomplish this, I aim to make Masters more welcoming, whether that be through morning meetings, executive committee, or in whatever way is necessary. I would be honored to continue with my passion to bring together students across grades to feel connected and have an amazing 2023-2024 school year.”

Shaza Murigande:

“My name is Shaza Murigande and I would be delighted to be your co-chair for this upcoming school year. I moved to New York in the summer of 2020 to attend the Masters School, and just within a few seconds of stepping onto the beautiful campus, I knew that this would be a place where I could leave a positive impact. Throughout my time at masters I have been a Diversity Ambassador, Writing Center Tutor, Peer leader, SCEEM Mentor, Dance Company member and a singer in numerous clubs and classes such as Dobbs 16, Justice Choir, Positive Rhythm and Dohters. I also founded a club named Music for a Purpose which has been a safe space for all musicians across campus to gather together as one unit to work towards a charity concert to raise funds for children living in rural parts of Rwanda who have a passion for music but unfortunately don’t have the resources to develop it. I deeply care about the Masters community and I would like to make my last year at this school to be as impactful as possible. As your co-chair, I will do my best to make sure that  everyone in this community feels seen and I believe that celebrating different cultures is the key to doing so. One example that I will try to implement in our community is a designated cultural day during the school year. This will be a day where people wear traditional clothing, bring a meal, showcase musical or dancing performances and share facts about their country of origin. This will be a fun, enriching and educational way to celebrate different cultures which is what Masters is all about. Even beyond running for co-chair, I want to be a welcoming presence for the community and most importantly, a friend to you all. Thank you for your time and best of luck to my fellow candidates!”

Violet Paull:

“Hi everyone! My name is Violet Paull, and I am running for Co-Chair of executive committee for the 2023-2024 school year! I have been at Masters for three years, starting in the primarily online and divided covid year, and I’ve seen the school and the student body develop from that place of extreme challenge. As a school, we’ve gone from being masked and sitting in rows at desks to making a return to in-person and Harkness learning. To accomplish this change, the school community had to embody the central values of Masters- to strive to be a connected and enriching community that grew together. Masters is an incredibly important community to me for so many reasons, but I resonate and am most thankful for the student body. A collective of people who believe in doing their best and growing as a group, through club action or through Harkness discussion, while prioritizing creativity and compassion, is to me the center of the Masters student body. In the Masters community, I lead 2 clubs that center around student connection and community, Model UN and BridgeUSA. Leading a large club and a national chapter has given me skills in organization and leadership, as well as public speaking experience, that I think would serve me well as a Co-Chair. As Co-Chair, I hope to bring more people into knowledge of Executive Committee actions with more frequent updates. I also hope to expand the abilities of clubs within the school community, and to make the club organization system more streamlined so students are able to keep track of student life more easily.

Thank you so much for your consideration and good luck to my fellow candidates!”

Arjun Ratan:


“Hi everyone! My name is Arjun Ratan and I would love to be one of your co-chairs for the 2023-2024 school year. Throughout my six years here, I have always looked up to the co-chairs and it would be an honor to serve in this leadership role. In our community I am involved in Peer Leaders, DAA, Diversity Ambassadors, Gold Key, Latin Club, the Writing Center, SCEEM and I am a member of boys varsity tennis. I’m grateful to the friendships and connections that I’ve built here since sixth grade. For the past three years, I have had the honor of serving as president of my class and I have been an active member of Executive Committee during this time. As Class President, I helped pass the bill to grant sophomores with second semester free periods in place of study halls and co-wrote the Diversity Ambassadors proposal to add two Diversity Ambassadors as voting members to Executive Committee.

However, there is more that I want to accomplish and as co-chair I believe I would have the platform to do so. One issue that I have discussed with our current co-chairs and want to focus on is academic transparency and making resources available for our student body to always be informed and updated on how we are doing in all of our classes. Outside of academics, I would focus on improving school spirit in athletics, performing arts and for student run clubs and organizations around campus.

I believe that I have the experience and dedication to be one of your next co-chairs. If given the opportunity to serve as one of your co-chairs, I will devote my time and best effort to making sure all voices in our community are heard and valued. And of course, I will try my best to make morning meetings fun, engaging and full of positive energy.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration and best of luck to all of my fellow candidates!”

Eli Savage:

“Hi everyone!  My name is Eli, and I would like to be your CoChair for the 2023-24 school year.  I have had the pleasure of being one of this year’s Day Student Representatives.  Through that opportunity, I have learned a lot about collaboration between teachers and students, both giving and receiving criticism, and building off of that to arrive at the best possible solution.  Most importantly, however, is what I feel might be an increasing gap forming between administration and students.

Whether because of difficult moments at morning meetings or on social media, I believe our community can benefit from better communication between students and the administration, and as your next Co-Chair, I will strive to help us improve. Transparency is a huge part of  student-administration communication, and I believe that not only should administration have a direct line to communicate with the student body, but students should also be able to have an avenue to communicate with administration. This could be done through something like administration office hours, a forum or press conference of sorts that would take place where students could ask any questions they have directly to an administrator, or simply an open door policy for administration

In addition to this, there are still rules in our handbook that are enforced arbitrarily. One such rule states that only seniors may show up at 9:50 a.m. if they have a first period free and not juniors or underclassmen.  I will review the handbook and work with the administration to find common sense solutions.

I love this community and believe that we absolutely can and absolutely should do better.  Masters is a school of voices, in the classroom through harkness or in the community through clubs and organizations, and administration should be able to hear those voices.  I will strive to make a difference in this community, dealing with new problems and challenges as they arise, with as much input from the masters community as possible.

Thank you for reading, good luck to my other candidates and, as always, Do It With Thy Might.”