Introducing the 2020-2021 Student Council President

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Nick Rutigliano ’21

Sam Schwartz '21

2020 has been a tumultuous, surprising year for all members of the SLS community. In the spring, many school events were abruptly rescheduled or cancelled. Among those events were the Student Council elections for 2020-2021 school year, which normally take place at the end of May. Consequently, as students and faculty returned for the fall, we were all left wondering exactly who our next president would be. Finally, on September 18, we received our long-awaited answer: Nicholas Rutigliano.
Nick is a senior who has been attending SLS since his freshman year. He can frequently be seen walking around the hallways, saying hi to his fellow students, and sharing a laugh about a recent Shakespeare paper or AP Calculus test. Beloved by his teachers, Nick is a ‘people person’ who is able to incorporate his bright sense of humor into any conversation.
To get the inside scoop on what exactly Nick is thinking as our new president, I sat down with him and uncovered some of his feelings towards our unique, COVID-influenced school year.
Since this year’s Student Council speeches were pre-recorded rather than in person, Nick explained that it was difficult to fully get his personality across in his nomination video.
“While I felt like the video aspect of the speech gave me the chance to perfect my delivery, because humor is such a large part of who I am, it was difficult to get that comedic timing correct over video, since I really feed off other people’s energy,” Nick said.
He continued by emphasizing the impact that COVID-19 has had on both his perspective and his motivation to make this year memorable in a positive way.
“I don’t want this year – no matter how long we are here for – to go to waste. I have been here all throughout high school, so I know how impactful each grade is to your overall high school experience,” Nick noted.
Nick described being on Zoom during the spring as “a challenge” for him because he values the seemingly trivial daily interactions with the student body. In fact, he stated that he “enjoys being connected to different groups of people in the school,” and is able to easily talk to people he may not know from his grade.
Despite the difficulties of quarantine, Nick grew to appreciate the time spent away from campus. He reflected on his own personal connection to SLS, and how he wanted to use his voice to give others a fun high school experience even with the effects of COVID.
“I want to make our school be like a refuge for all of us who have been forced to deal with the realities of our world since March,” he remarked.
Due to the limitations on large gatherings and interactions within the school, when asked about his goals for this year, Nick honestly admitted that it will be hard to fully establish school-wide activities, especially as the winter approaches. He promised, however, that he “is a hard worker” and will do everything he can to get activities scheduled. Some of his ideas include outdoor coffee houses and Spike Ball tournaments, which would help bring together students in a fun and safe way.
As the interview ended, I circled back and humorously inquired how it felt to be the first presidential dynasty at SLS, as Nick’s brother, Jerry, was our last president. Nick laughed at the question and merely said “it was interesting!” and that he “will do his best to live up to Jerry’s legacy” while also proving himself as the best Rutigliano president.
Although COVID-19 has severely altered the path of 2020, the SLS community remains strong in spite of the pressing challenges. Under Nick’s admirable leadership, the Upper School will not just try to return to normality, but be strengthened and united by these troubling times. Whether we end up on Zoom or continue to attend school in person, Nick’s determination to “lift the spirits” of his fellow classmates will ultimately leave his presidency as one to remember.