Meet your 2023-2024 Co-Chairs: Mahlet Messay and Arjun Ratan


Carlos Heredia

The new cochairs for the 2023-2024 school year will be Arjun Ratan and Mahlet Messay.

Next year, the coveted positions of Executive Committee Co-Chairs will be held by current juniors Mahlet Messay and Arjun Ratan.

Mahlet Messay, a seven-day boarder from Round Rock, Texas, has been at Masters since her sophomore year. Being co-chair will be the first position she has held in Student Government. Her involvement in Executive Committee started this year due to her strong  friendship with this year’s secretary, Luca Lorance ‘23, as well as current Co-Chair Zahali Vauclena ‘23.

Messay said, “I’ve seen how much [Vauclena has] grown in the position of co-chair, and how much he’s been able to affect the student body, so my hope is I’ll be able to do the same thing.” She continued,  “I want to create a nice community, just like the past co-chairs have.”

Messay said she was drawn to Masters because of the opportunities that it offered to her. “I didn’t really like my school in Texas, and I wanted to branch out and be in a new community and have access to more things than I did in Texas,” she said, “so I think Masters offers a lot more things, like more facilities, and also, it’s a lot more diverse than my old school.”

I want to create a nice community, just like the past co-chairs have.

— Mahlet Messay, 2023-2024 Upper School CoChair

As a newer student and a boarder, Messay feels that she brings a different perspective to the role of co-chair. “I know what it’s like to not feel represented in the community that you’re in,” she said, “so I just want to help any student that feels like that, just so everyone’s voices are heard.”

In her free time, Messay said she enjoys hanging out with her Masters friends and calling her friends in Texas, as well as playing the piano. She is a member of the student-led R&B band Positive Rhythm, Model United Nations, and she has a year-long internship for public health outreach in Nigeria. As far as future careers go, Messay wants to be a biomedical engineer. She said, “Since I was a kid, I really liked medicine, and when I came here I took an engineering class. I think engineering is a super cool field.”

Arjun Ratan, who will be serving alongside Messay as co-chair, has been at Masters since sixth grade and served as Class of 2024 president since his freshman year. Even before that, though, in eighth grade he was one of the co-presidents of the Middle School Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) club. The motivation he had for running for Co-Chair was the desire to be a role model, just like the other Co-Chairs he has seen during his time at Masters. 

Ratan said,“I felt like my experience and my desire to see Masters be the best that it can be led me to run for this position. I feel like [being Co-Chair] will ultimately help me choose and decide the best ways to help the community and make change.”

“I think I bring the experience of a leader, confidence, and someone who is really committed to this school but also to the community,” Ratan continued. “I’m not afraid to stand up to or have difficult conversations with administration when necessary, and I think that’s extremely important as the voice of the student body.”

In addition to Executive Committee, Ratan is a member of Students of Color Empowering Excellence and Mentorship (SCEEM), Diversity Ambassadors, Gold Key, Community Council, the Writing Center, the Varsity Tennis team, Dobbs Athletic Association (DAA) and he is also a peer leader. Outside of school, he said he enjoys listening to and playing music. 

I’m not afraid to stand up to or have difficult conversations with administration when necessary.

— Arjun Ratan, 2023-2024 Upper School CoChair

“Music is a big passion of mine,” Ratan said. “I feel like music helps me focus when I’m doing work, or getting to know other people and the types of music that they listen to.” Another way he likes to explore other cultures is through food. Ratan said he also spends his free time with his friends or with his dog, Rex, who is a Maltese-Shih Tzu mix. 

Zahali Vauclena, one of the current co-chairs, has known both Messay and Ratan for a while now and said that he liked how involved all of this year’s candidates were in Executive Committee. He said, “All the candidates were amazing. I find that Arjun, especially completing the Diversity Ambassador co-chair bill, is a very qualified person, as well as having known his grade and how to represent his grade as well as having expertise in that sort of field as well as Mahlet. I’m glad to see how they take co-chairs to the next level.”