Hail to The Chief


After losing the election freshman year, senior Class President Grace Simmons found a role in leadership.

Pressley Frazier, Contributor

As Grace Simmons sat in her last class of the day, the headmaster came on the intercom to announce the winners of the class elections at PA. Simmons shivered with anticipation, prepared to hear her name read as the next freshman class president. She listened intently while the headmaster finished his statements before announcing the name of the class president.

Then he announced her opponent’s name.

Her body went numb as everyone in the classroom looked at her. Simmons looked away, her face turning red with shame and embarrassment. As the bell rang, she ran out of the room before she was stopped by another classmate. 

The next morning, she walked into the school and made her way to the hallway. She looked different. Her face lacked her normal smile and her shoulders sagged as she took down her campaign posters.

“I felt defeated because I knew that I had what it took to lead the class,” Simmons said.

Simmons started her roles in leadership at a young age. “I just liked to be in control. I was bossy as a kid,” she said.

By middle school, Simmons was a co-captain of her soccer team and found a leadership role in her “Making Strides” team, where she raised money and awareness for breast cancer research. 

After losing the freshman election, she was not discouraged, however. Simmons still wanted to be a part of the decision making to help her class enjoy a fulfilling high school experience. “I have always had what I consider strong leadership skills. I simply couldn’t imagine myself not being able to be a part in decisions of it all,” said Simmons. 

When elections came around her sophomore year, Simmons was prepared to run once again. This time, elections were not like her freshman year. After the COVID pandemic shut down her school, Simmons had to run for class president virtually. “I didn’t give up,” Simmons said. 

Simmons won the race then her junior year, Simmons ran for class president again, unopposed. “I have grown to love the position since sophomore year, so it has been an easy choice to continue to run each year, despite its challenges,”  she said.

And senior year, Simmons ran against the candidate who defeated her freshman, something she did not take lightly. She spent countless hours preparing for her speech and putting up campaign posters, and did all of her campaigning with a modern twist. She also did some online campaigning. “I didn’t want to lose the position I cared for so deeply,” she said.

When she walked up to the podium on election day, she prepared herself to make a speech that would decide the fate of her senior year. 

“Despite having spoken in front of the class so many times, the reality was that this could have been my last time. It was terrifying,” said Simmons.  “I kicked myself for every misspoken sentence or when I strayed from my speech. I wanted what I said to be perfect.”  

After she concluded her speech, she sat down to listen to her competitor’s speeches. She clapped for everyone, all with a polite smile. 

“I remember thinking, I hope that my hard work from the last two years is all I need as proof to show that I deserve to be here,” she said.

It did. Grace Simmons was elected the senior class president. 

While being involved in National and Spanish Honors Society, sports, Key Club, Advanced Placement courses while accumulating more than 300 hours of community service in high school, class office still takes up most of her time. 

The time commitment is sometimes a struggle and the job can feel thankless. “I love my job as class president, but I often feel more discouraged than encouraged,” said Simmons. “I feel like we don’t get a ton of feedback from the class, but I understand where the class is coming from when I hear the casual negative comment here and there,” she said. 

Thus far, Simmons has organized multiple events for the senior class, including the “Senior Sunrise,” homecoming bonfire. and Winter Carnival. The class also raised enough money to assist students with funds for their senior trip to Vermont this weekend. 

Simmons’ efforts are recognized by both her class and fellow class officers. “[Grace] has worked tirelessly as our president, and it shows because of how good everything has been when she’s been in charge of it,” said senior Abigail Collins, a student senator. 

Her leadership efforts are much more meaningful to her than just class presidency; in fact, she said she would like to continue this type of role in the future. 

Simmons plans to attend college next fall with a political science major, looking at a potential political or legal career where she can “advocate for people,” and “make a difference.” She said she is considering joining debate team in college, along with activist groups to achieve her overall goal of “making the world a better place.” 

Simmons did not give up after her first presidential loss and has not given up since. ““I’m grateful for the skills I learned as class president,” she said.