StuCo elects new leaders for next year

Junior Shaili Das elected president, joined by rising seniors and a rising junior


Student Activties

From left to right: Nathan Heftman, Catherine Cline, Shaili Das, Via McGrath, Keira Fortin

From March 6 to March 10, sophomores and juniors voted for next school year’s Student Council officers. 

With a voter turnout of 60.2%, junior Shaili Das was elected president, junior Catherine Cline as vice president, junior Via McGrath as secretary, sophomore Nathan Heftman as treasurer, and junior Keira Fortin as school culture commissioner. 

There’s wonderful joy in being able to contribute to the community knowing that you’ve helped others. That’s the best part of service.

— Nathan Heftman

Das has been a part of student government for the past three years. Currently, she serves as secretary of Student Council. 

Since the summer of 2021, Das has been a part of the Beloved Community Leadership Academy, a program sponsored by The King Center. She has learned more about nonviolent leadership and Kingian philosophies, even at times getting to work directly with The King Center CEO Bernice King, the youngest daughter of MLK. 

The program helped her to grow as a public speaker and develop inclusive leadership as she worked with people from across the world with different backgrounds and perspectives.

Das said inclusive leadership in Student Council has been “helpful” as she strives to “advocate on behalf of all student voices.”

“I can understand and productively navigate the nuances of different perspectives and personalities,” said Das. 

This school year, Student Council marked every monthly observance by partnering with the equity liaisons, hanging up posters, creating toolkits, and hosting lunch and learns. In past years, that was not the case, according to Student Activities Coordinator Stacy Kolack.

At the start of the school year, McGrath worked on the Hispanic Heritage Month display and toolkit, which she shared was important to her. 

“It was really great for me to see that I was represented in [Student Council] and it was pretty awesome,” said McGrath. 

This school year, when McGrath had the chance to step up and become a leader, whether for a fundraiser or project, she “felt at home.” Knowing that helped drive her to run for secretary. 

Next school year, Heftman, out of the five Student Council officers, will be the only junior. This school year, three were juniors. 

“I’m confident that I can do just as much work, pull my weight and help out the school as much as all my rising senior compatriots,” said Heftman. 

Heftman, who has served in student government for six years, said he is happy to help anyone. 

“There’s wonderful joy in being able to contribute to the community knowing that you’ve helped others. That’s the best part of service,” said Heftman.

In late 2021, he became an Eagle Scout after completing a service project restoring an old, rundown semi-circle next to the relocated Frank Lloyd Wright Booth Cottage. He worked with the Glencoe Historical Society and the Glencoe Park District. 

Like Heftman, Cline and Fortin both joined Student Council this school year. 

Cline and Fortin have been busy with the StuCo Minute, a brief, monthly informational video sent to students through Canvas explaining what Student Council has done and what they plan to do. 

Cline has also done marketing work for the One Stop Trev Shop and was a presenter at the Black History Month panel. 

Cline, for many years, has indirectly been involved in student government. 

“I helped set up campaigns for other people running in  middle school elections and helped them campaign,” said Cline.

Cline, who describes herself as a “natural born leader,”  ran for vice president to “engross” herself further in the work of Student Council.

“[The vice presidency] would allow me to work closer with the administration,” said Cline. 

Recently, Cline met with Principal Denise Dubravec to discuss plans for next school year, specifically outdoor seating for lunch so people do not have to eat on the ground. She would like to see this happen in the fall. 

Fortin, set to become the next school culture commissioner, wants to spread “excitement” around school events, considering New Trier is a “rigorous” school. 

“[Events] make your time at New Trier much better [by] having those special moments that make everything feel a bit easier,” said Fortin. 

As the school year comes to a close, the sentiment in Student Council is “sad,” McGrath said, as members who are seniors are about to graduate. 

Fortin agrees with McGrath, but also sees the change in membership as an opportunity for “new perspectives and new experiences.” 

Das is confident that Student Council will be a success next school year. 

“I think that we have a lot in the works, and I think that people are going to be really happy to see what we put out,” said Das.