Why campaigners ran the way they did

Jericho Encomienda delivers his campaign speech to the attentive class of 2021.







From taking a comedic approach to campaigning to developing relationships with RAHS students, every ASB candidate has a method of selling their ideas and leadership to the school.

Nicholas Ankuta, a sophomore senator, won two ASB elections based on his campaign speeches that mimicked those made by Soviet Russian leaders. Ankuta believes that campaigns should be made to be lighthearted and humorous.

“Our school is very serious,” said Ankuta, “so I think it’s sort of a little bit of an outlet. In ASB, what we go for is just some fun, something to unite over. We can all agree that it’s nice to just have a little bit of fun sometimes.”

Ankuta believed a captivating campaign is vital to getting a message to stick.

“I definitely don’t want people to walk away thinking, ‘Wow, that was very boring,’” said Ankuta. “I want them to walk away thinking, ‘Man, that was something.’”

Nevertheless, Ankuta did not want to get carried away with the humor of a campaign. He strived to communicate his ideas beyond just the humor.

“Humor was one thing that I went for,” said Ankuta, “but I think I don’t want it to take away from what I’m really trying to get across to people, which is deep themes about not accepting the things that are non ideal to me, and really pushing barriers, and trying to find a place in life.”

Catie Stukel, the ASB president, created a campaign based on the relationships she has made with fellow classmates.

“I tried to build my campaign off relationships,” said Stukel. “I didn’t really do any social media campaigning, and I made like one poster and hung up like three copies of it. I didn’t really give out food or anything.”

By not using food to win votes, Stukel tried to stay away from what she saw as low hanging fruit.

“I think when you are doing things like running it’s very easy to think of things that you may think people might want,” said Stukel. “Like, say, food is an easy target thing where it’s like, ‘Oh people like food, so I might as well use that in my campaign.’”

Stukel values the independent and expressive actions of the candidates more than other attempts to gain favor.

“I think with ASB it should be your actions should speak for yourself,” said Stukel, “so if someone sees you being outgoing, and personable, and kind, and hardworking then I think that’s louder than if I was like ‘Here’s some candy, vote for Catie!’ and ‘Look at my dope posters!’”

Despite it not being her personal style, Stukel sees the merit of an entirely humorous campaign.

“I definitely think the funny thing can work especially if you’re an underclassman,” said Stukel. “I think a lot of times it’s a very vulnerable position because you’re speaking in front of everyone and you’re putting yourself out there. In those kinds of situations a lot of people turn to humor, which I totally get.”

One of the newly elected freshman senators, Maya Matta, emphasized the importance of getting to know the people she would be representing.

“I just went out and actually talked to students, and saw what they wanted from class captains,” said Matta. “I tried to respond in a way that they would understand that their issues would get resolved if I was elected.”

In contrast with Stukel, Matta decided to hand out candy for her campaign.

“I made pretty cheesy posters, and then I also brought in candy,” said Matta. “That was kind of a way of getting people to know my name.”

Jericho Encomienda, the other freshman senator, also realized the significance of getting to know the student body.

“I really went out and tried meeting people,” said Encomienda, “so if I have a friend I’m like, ‘oh introduce me to your friends over here,’ and then I kind of tried to meet everybody, as many people as I could in the freshman class.”

Encomienda sought to strike a balance between serious and funny in his campaign.

“The speech was serious, and I’m kind of, like I said, a fun guy,” said Encomienda. “Writing my speech and balancing it between having fun and being serious was kind of difficult, but I felt like I did a pretty good job.”

Encomienda wished he had incorporated a little more fun into his campaign.

“I think I would like to add a little bit of humor into my campaign because a lot of my posters just said ‘Vote Jericho.’ Everybody else was creative,” said Encomienda. “I wish I was a little bit more creative. Next time I will.”

At the end of the day, the one thing that brought all these people to join ASB was their desire to help and lead. Even those not in ASB can help, as Stukel reminded that everyone is capable of leading.

“I probably would have just kind of like put it in perspective and realize that [the campaign] is not that important really, because if I am or I’m not in ASB I can still continue to be a leader, and help people, and be nice, and do all these things,” said Stukel. “I don’t have to have a title to do that.”

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