It was a harmonious campaign with two qualified passionate people vying for the role of President. The two competitors would work to earn votes, promoting their platforms using every kind of channel possible. Both candidates would learn lessons that would last a lifetime in hopes of taking the top position of our junior-high class.
It was 1985 and I was running for class president in competition with Brandy, a popular gal who had grown up in the school system and she knew a lot of people. I had moved into the school just a year earlier and had very few friends but I decided to go for it anyway. This tenacious spirit would become a character trait that would follow me for a lifetime.
The fundamental theme of my platform was to unite the class to raise food to send to Africa during We Are the World famine relief effort. There would be one day where the entire student body would come together to donate food that we would ship to Africa and together we would join hands and sing the popular song written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie.
Oh, and then there was the Coke machine I promised I would lobby for.
The campaign collateral was all over the school. This is where each candidate tried to outdo each other. I remember making spirit tags that said “Vote for Tracy” and “We Are the World”. Hand painted signs were everywhere. Mind you our ‘channels’ did not include social media, videos or hash tags.
The rivalry was fierce, you see Brandy not only had roots but she had resources. She came with what looked like very professional campaign buttons with her picture on them.
She and her family had heritage in the community. Brandy was popular, smart, and oh so sweet. We had been friends since I moved into the area and the campaign was strenuous on our relationship, yet we each persevered in our battle to win the title.
When election day came, we each made a grand appeal to the student body in a general assembly. I remember being filled with fear in making my campaign speech to such a large crowd.
After listening to our pitch, the students filed out of the gym to cast their votes. In this junior high system the person who received the most votes would become class president and the second candidate would be named vice president.
After the votes were counted, I took the VP slot. Brandy and I became closer than ever. We went on to a student council leadership conference that I still remember to this day. Together she and I built a great team, learned so many valuable lessons and skills for life.
The greatest thing is that my dream of having a We Are the World Day at my junior high came true. Kids gathered together to sing the song as loads of food came in for Africa.
Seeds were planted in me during this experience and today I have fruit to show for it.