Ms President US announces its winners!
On Sunday, May 9th participants of Ms President US held a virtual Campaign & Election culminating the program year that focuses on young girls’ leadership, public speaking, and campaigning skills. Representing the hometowns of the program participants, three Ms President US winners were elected: one in Hamden, Ridgefield, and Wilton.
From Hamden, Gopika Sheth was re-elected for her second term as Ms President US. She spoke of the importance of diversity and said how inclusion is “embracing the fact that everybody has something to add.” Gopika chose this topic because of an incident that happened at her own school and felt that it was an important topic for everyone to be aware of and understand. Gopika does not plan to stop her campaign after the election and would like to implement diversity groups or clubs in schools where students can talk about their feelings on diversity.
Julienne Nunes was elected as the Ms President US of Wilton and ran on spreading awareness of peer pressure. Peer pressure was especially important to Julienne because of her own personal experiences that had a significant impact on her life. In her presentation she said that peer pressure makes “you feel like you have no choice at all in your life.” Julienne plans to help her community by raising awareness on peer pressure and developing a program to help students cope with such pressure. Through games and activities, she hopes that students will learn strategies to deal with peer pressure and hold their own in certain situations. Another one of Julienne’s goals is to help Ms President US expand out of its base in Ridgefield and start another branch in Wilton. The program helped Julienne find her voice and raise her confidence levels and she would like to give more of an opportunity for other girls to do so in her own town.
Representing Ridgefield, Eva was elected as Ms President US, after a successful campaign on LGBTQ+ rights. As a transgender girl who made the transition at a young age, she understands the importance of equal rights in all aspects of life including sports, healthcare access, mental health help, and so many more. Even before enrolling in the Ms President US program, Eva had started to share her story and not only increase awareness on discrimination based on sexual orientation but also advocate for laws and policies that would help the LGBTQ+ population.
Eva feels lucky to live in a state like Connecticut that has prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation since 1991 but knows that “in many places across the globe and in the United States, things are not so great for LGBTQ+ indivuals.” Eva plans to continue the tremendous work she has already done on her campaign and even spoke about Ms President US and LGBTQ+ rights the day she was elected, on May 9th, at a church in Hartford. Winning the election gave Eva a sense of accomplishment and says that “It is a great feeling to work hard at something and end up being successful.”
US Representative Jahana Hayes, CT State Senator Will Haskell, founding Advisory Board member Toni Boucher, and First Selectman/Advisory Board Chair Rudy Marconi were also present at the election to show their support for and hear campaign topics of all of the Ms President US participants.
Senator Will Haskell encouraged the girls to continue their work and was “grateful for all of the presentations and so excited to see all the work that [they] continue to do, regardless of the outcome” of the election.
First Selectman of Ridgefield, Rudy Marconi, acknowledged how “every one of the topics are pertinent to society today from protecting the animals, homeless pets, smoothies for Costa Rica, volunteering, the need to protect the quality of water, LGBTQ+ rights, and the importance of fitness.” Congresswoman Hayes addressed all of the candidates and said the “presentations were remarkable” and that “they spoke to the challenges that we see and that’s what leadership is about, coming together and finding solutions to problems that face our communities.”
At the end of the election, all participants were encouraged to advocate for topics that they feel strongly about. Everyone at Ms President US is eager to see all that the girls accomplish in the future.