Hannah Quijano ’17, the 2016-17 Council of 10 President-Delegate, was recently honored for her “Outstanding Leadership and Dedication to the School Community” at the Washington-Lincoln Laurels for Leaders luncheon on February 22. In light of her achievements, and as her time at OLP is quickly coming to an end, we asked her to reflect on her leadership career. You may find that her story begins as many others do: a young girl with high aspirations – and a little bit of outside motivation – stepped out of her comfort zone and found the perfect fit.
Q&A with Hannah Quijano ’17:
What are your main responsibilities as C10 president-designate?
The Council of 10 is structured without distinctions of vice president, secretary, etc. The structure changed two years ago and is modeled off the CSJ governance. We work together in collaboration. Working like that can be harder since no one has just one responsibility. As president-designate, I have to make sure we’re all on task.
What is your biggest accomplishment as president?
Personally, being able to run for C10 in the first place. I was definitely scared to give a speech in front of all the upperclassmen (sophomore year). I’m glad I was able to work my confidence up and present myself in front of the entire school.
What skills have improved through your Council of 10 experience?
Working with a team would be #1. I’m so used to being independent, but how Council of 10 is structured, it’s easier to reach out to other girls. At other schools, students are in charge of one thing, i.e. athletics, but here it’s all of us. We have to be flexible because we’re not tied down to a certain thing. It’s a whole different array of planning.
What has been the most challenging part of being president?
Honestly just being blamed when things go wrong. It’s really hard to take the criticism, even if your own team is proud of you. It’s also stressful trying to plan new things on campus since OLP is so deeply rooted in tradition.
What has been the easiest part of being president?
Working with the group of girls that I have. It’s easy to enjoy what I’m doing. My friends at other schools… not a lot of them are excited because they’re such bigger schools. But at OLP, it’s easier because the girls all want to be here and it’s not that difficult getting them excited about things.
Think back to when you were an incoming freshman. Did you dream of becoming president one day?
I remember saying to my mom the summer coming in, just before I entered the green gates, that I wanted to make a difference. I didn’t want to be another student who goes through all the actions and graduates after four years. I didn’t realize that would be through being president, but I wanted to be someone on campus who could be recognized for giving something back and contributing.
What kind of advice would you give to an incoming frosh who wants to be president?
Don’t be afraid to try new things. If you’re even the slightest bit interested in something, go for it. I try to leave it all on the stage with no regrets, even if you’re not walking on stage. Don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself, or fail. I wasn’t even going to run for frosh class council because I was too scared, but my sister said, ‘okay, you’ll just regret it later.’ If I was too scared freshman year, I wouldn’t be here now.
(Editor’s Note: Hannah’s sister, who did not attend OLP, gave her the following advice when Hannah was applying to high schools: “If there’s any advice I could give you, it’s to go to OLP.”)
What is or was your favorite class?
Principles of Engineering with Dr. J(ohnathan Chittuluru). It was project-based so he let us try new things. We did a lot of giving back to the community. We built a sustainable solar oven and went to a farm. He let us go on our direction – it was really independent, and that’s what I liked.
What do you expect to miss the most about OLP?
Just the girls here. I’m going to miss my class a lot. This past semester has been so bittersweet. I’m the type of person who says hi to everyone. I’m going to miss knowing all the faces I’m surrounded with every day.
What is your favorite memory with Mrs. Handelsman ’64?
She has so much experience and stories, especially being an alumna. I think we were planning for Miss OLP last year, and she was telling us stories about the Miss OLP dances. It’s so funny hearing about the dresses. She was telling us about the different styles… The things she was saying, we were like no, no one would wear that.
College: Still deciding
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Ideal Job: I want to be a professional in the field of engineering… and I also want my own TV show. Bill Nye the Nice Guy and MythBusters were my favorite shows growing up. People usually think engineers are quiet and reserved because they’re so studious, but that’s not who I am. I want to educate through my own TV show.