Freshman SGA president Samar Kibe ran for the position because he felt like he could genuinely make a change and he “had a clear vision of what needed to be changed.” He also started a service project called Voterbuddies, which seeks to have an impact on an even larger scale.
So far, Samar enjoys his student council position because he enjoys working with other people “to make decisions at school” and to make events at school happen “even though some things are a little limited.” Some of the limits are the speed of the approval process, and just “creativity as a whole.”
Through this position, he has learned how “to communicate efficiently and on time.” Also, he has learned how to effectively deliver mass emails in a “tactful manner and one that’s inclusive.”
He has been able to become a better leader by seeing what he can do when a lot of people are counting on him. It gives him a starting point “to show some leadership that could potentially lead into the future.”
COVID has placed constraints on a lot of activities this year, but he was able to do some creative problem solving to compensate for it. “We’ve structured most of our ideas around events that aren’t so physical,” meaning that when the SGA makes plans, they always have the thought of “What about COVID?” in the back of our heads.
Along with being the SGA president and starting Voterbuddies, he is a part of a leadership program called Model Atlanta Regional Committee (MARC). He sent in an application in 8th grade and ended up getting accepted. It consists of having meetings and learning about various problems going on in Atlanta. “It is like civic leadership,” he said, “but it goes a bit beyond that.”
When I asked him which one he enjoyed better, he originally wasn't sure, but after some thought he said that he enjoys his civic leadership better because he is able to bond with his peers.
Along with bonding with his peers, he enjoys civic engagement as a whole. They did a capstone project at the end of the year for Voterbuddies and he said that his topic was the issue of voter suppression in GA. “Voter apathy is a big problem,” he said, “some people just aren’t engaged.” This is usually just a lack of civic engagement. “Some people aren’t being active citizens or just not voting in general.”
Samar started this project by being part of a task force. He was nominated by Ms. Turner and it brought people together from all over the country. They were thrown together in groups of three, working with people of similar interests. “I was a little intimidated at first, being the only freshman out of all the seniors in the group, but as I got more confident doing the role, I felt better about myself and the future of this organization.”
They ended up winning the task force, National Network of Schools in Partnership (NNSP), and with that momentum, wanted to move forward with the problem of voter apathy.
Samar said he had a few goals for this movement: an overall goal and three more personal goals The overall goal was to grow large and to be part of a giant movement to change the issue of voter apathy “especially among young people as they tend to be surprisingly less engaged.”
As for his personal goals? He wanted to try and “form something to make a change and be part of an important movement.” He also wanted to be better at communicating with others, especially in a group setting. He said that “Voterbuddies has given me ways I can practice and improve on that.” Samar’s final and most difficult goal was to be more organized with everything that he does because he thinks it is an important life skill.
Samar would love to continue this for as long as possible, as long as they have the momentum. Right now, they are “only in the beginning stages” and trying things out to see what will work.
While COVID has impinged upon SGA planning, it has also impacted his work with Voterbuddies. They have done posts to inform voters, but they are mostly in the beginning stages. In the future, they “aim for civic engagement as a whole” and they are going to attempt to “write to congressmen and women.”
Unfortunately, everything hasn’t gone perfectly to plan. They haven’t gotten the chance to create their podcast yet, but they are trying to do interviews with politicians. They have also been recruited help from other people in Georgia and Connecticut, and they are making sure posts keep coming out on the instagram page.
Their instagram page is “Voterbuddies,” and it is a joint effort that Samar helps run. He enjoys working with this organization, and although he may do something else in the future, he is planning on “sticking with this for now.”
Aside from keeping their followers informed, Samar has been interested in the Supreme Court. “Law as a whole is very interesting to me,” he said. He is learning more about the supreme court and where controversy stands between some of the decisions made there.
When he’s not trying to figure out the effects of COVID on SGA or getting himself involved in various organizations, he enjoys watching movies and listening to music in his downtime.
Recently, his favorite movie has been Jojo Rabbit. He didn’t have super high expectations going into it because he didn’t see much potential in the trailer, but he was pleasantly surprised to find out that the movie had a “much deeper meaning” than he originally expected.
Samar used to be a big reader, but he has noticed that he isn’t reading as much anymore because he is busy with school and that many other activities he is doing; however, he “absolutely loved” reading To Kill a Mockingbird last year.
His favorite genre of music is “pretty much anything 80s and 90s.” He got his taste from his dad, because whenever Samar hangs around with him, he plays a lot of that music from his generation.
Samar told me that his favorite artist is definitely The Beatles, and he particularly enjoys the song “Hey Jude.” He also added that “many people in my generation don't generally like (The Beatles) that much, but I think it has a timeless charm to it.”