J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate is full to the brim with extraordinary students with many different passions. The staff at Eye on the Storm has decided that these students deserve to be recognized for their hard work and talent. Explore the lives of these exceptional students who are profiled here as part of our new series: The Trending Ten. Get ready to be inspired!
Ravneet Mall and Evan Kohli are JCR’s past prime ministers. These former students were quite focused on creating a positive and impactful legacy as well as creating a change in our community. Fortunately, we had the chance to interview the two about their role as co-prime ministers as well as getting to know more about them back before the pandemic.
How did you become interested in joining Leadership?
Ravneet: Growing up, I’ve always been into leadership as I grew up in Scarborough and being in Scarborough, seeing other kids who were impacted by leadership, really made me want to take the role as a leader. Then, moving to Ajax in grade 4, I moved schools and then I saw people with the same ethnicity as me and it just encouraged me to step out of my bubble. Then there was one person who I looked up to as a leader, she was so involved in the school, always making sure everyone’s okay, and then talking to the teachers; getting as involved as she could. That made me want to be a leader in the school and then I always follow that character trait as I always stepped out of my bubble, and here I am as a prime.
Evan: Being a leader means a lot of things and I found that when I was growing up, I was always looking for someone to lead me. Everybody needs a leader, everybody needs some motivation in their life to keep going because without that there would be stagnation so I found that, stepping outside my comfort zone would be really good and maybe asking people how they are and doing little things one by one built me up as a leader. I feel like now because we’re primes we have a lot of say in how the students interact and how they enjoy their school experience. I feel that I wanted to become a leader because I wanted to do something good for someone else.
Ravneet: I think for both of us, we can both relate to how our pathway was never there, we had to create our own pathways and our own reputation to be where we are right now.
As Prime Ministers, what is your main focus right now?
Ravneet: As a prime, you have the title of being the top, and in student government, you have the role, of course, being on student government and I think that the key part that we forget about is “student”. We don’t get a lot of student voice and I think out biggest goal is to get student voice this year. We haven’t decided how but, I think student voice is so important in decisions that we make and in things that we do because we’re here to better Richardson. We’re not here to be primes for a year and then forget about it, we’re to make an impact that will last forever.
Evan: I feel the exact same way. I feel like student voice and the overall experience of being in high school is really important for us and I feel that what I need to do is to make a difference in the school, I need to make sure people are heard, people aren’t afraid to come to school and that people enjoy coming to school. Right now the big issue is that not many people feel comfortable at this school because of all the different cultures, ethnicities and traditions but I feel that we have such an amazing blend of people and diversity that is unseen anywhere else. I feel that if we use that to our advantage we can create a school experience and a student experience that can excel over previous years.
Is there anything you want to implement into the school environment, tradition-wise?
Evan: Well we’re two people, we aren’t the entire voice of the school community. We can reach out to the community and ask what they want to do because it’s not just about us. We are the ones implementing and we need some ideas and we want people to be interested and intrigued. If you have an idea that popular throughout the school we can implement that which I feel like that would be a very good thing. What we need to do is build up our school spirit and become a stronger community because we’re here for four years and they can be some of the best, worst or hardest times of our life. What we need to do is make good use out these years and come together to activate our community.
Ravneet: I agree, we don’t have a proper “what Evan and I want” our focus is on what the students want. Finding ways to get students voices included and narrowing it down to what the students want, we can obviously help implement that.
On an average day, what does it mean to be a Prime Minister at school?
Ravneet: It’s hard *laughs*
Evan: Being a prime doesn’t necessarily mean you have more power than others, or that you’re better than anyone.
Ravneet: Yeah there’s no hierarchy.
Evan: What it does mean is that you have to be an open person, you have to be someone who’s comfortable with talking. If someone’s having a bad day, you have to be able to lighten their mood. You always have to represent your school and make sure people feel safe, comfortable and happy. Right now, if you walk down the hallway there are so many different faces and so many different stories. What we have to do is radiate positive energy and make sure no matter what people will comfortable because this is our second home.
Ravneet: Yeah and I think for me personally, people always ask me, “oh you’re prime minister now, what’s different?” but I’m still the same person. I don’t think anything has changed, it’s just a title being put on who I am now and I think for us, now that we’re seen as primes, we’re aren’t known as who we were before and just seen as prime ministers. Like if I get a late slip it’s going to be “ the prime minister is getting a late slip” but I feel like this title hasn’t changed my day-to-day routine.
Is there anything/anyone that motivates you or inspire you?
Evan: For me, there isn’t a specific person but the overall concept of a leader inspires me. I never knew someone who pushed me into becoming a leader but I saw all the bad things in life and all the good things and this was just an opportunity that I looked forward to. For me, my life goal is to maybe go into the medical field so I want to make peoples’ lives better and anyway I can do that is great. There have been many different people that have inspired this like Mahatma Gandhi and other people that are maybe a little cliché but still, they have done amazing things in life and I feel like there isn’t a hierarchy for what we do. If it’s good, it’s good. If it’s bad, it’s bad and I want to always make good things happen. Doing a good deed overall will benefit your life.
Ravneet: This sounds pretty basic but for me, it has to be my parents. If I didn’t see such great leaders, hardworking people who’re always encouraging me, family and friends I don’t think I would have that characteristic. Teachers as well. They’re like my second parents. My parents have always said, “when you go to school you have to respect your teachers”. In their hands is our success and it could either go bad or good and I think that having great teachers that motivated me and saw something in me really inspired me.
Evan: I totally agree with that too.
Would you say that the people that you mentioned are your role models or do you have any specific role models?
Evan: Now that Rav brought it up, my parents have done so much for me. It’s so crazy how such people that have done so many amazing things for me. I feel like we have to appreciate [our parents] more. I really want to give back to [my parents]. No matter how much we fight, they’re always going to be my parents. They’re always going to be the ones pushing me and making me strive for success.
Ravneet: Can we come back to that question?
Yeah, so now where do you see yourselves in 5 years?
Ravneet: I see myself studying life sciences at Queens University. I think I’ll be in my fourth or third year. I see myself doing the same thing I’m doing at Richardson; being involved with leadership, trying to make a change. I see myself changing as an individual and being a better person but overall I see myself as the same girl I am right now except studying something different.
Evan: I see myself in an abroad university, I’m not sure where yet but I feel like the path of life isn’t just one path. It may look like one path but it will diverge into many different directions.
Ravneet: There’s never a tunnel vision type path.
Evan: Exactly. I do feel like I’m going to be studying something I love. I’m going to try to embody the leadership qualities that I not only have now but I will earn during the oncoming future. The one thing I really want to do is make a change. No matter how big the change is, a change is a change. If we can push anyone or anything into success I feel like it will be a great thing.
Ravneet: Yeah there will never one way to anything. I feel like now society has really accepted this. Now there are so many ways to get to where you want to go. You know, in five years I could be doing something I had never even thought of.
Evan: Exactly and now that we’re in grade 11, all there is to talk about is university but I and many of my friends know some people may not be able to go to university. Because of this, their success is put down but I feel anyone can have success no matter how academic it is. Success is success, it doesn’t matter about the paycheck all that matters is happiness and the effort you put in.
What do you want people to remember you for?
Evan: I want people to remember us for being very nice individuals. I want people to remember that we care about them and no matter how hard life may be, we want them to be able to reach out to us. We want people to as if school is there home. I really want people to be happy because we’re here for four years and you should make the best out of it. I want people to realize this and see that we are trying to make a change. We want people to have more spirit, be involved and feel comfortable. Most importantly though, we want people to feel happiness.
Ravneet: Now that we’re primes, our names will be on a plaque and I think for any scenario, if a teacher or student sees “Ravneet Mall and Even Kohli” I want them to be like “wow, they were really good primes” or “they set really good examples for the people around them” or even “Even Kohli was very academically successful”. Sometimes teachers will talk about their favourite students and if a teacher says our names, I want all the students to be like “yeah I remember them”. I feel like we will accomplish that but then again, actions speak louder than words.
Do you guys have any pet peeves?
Ravneet & Evan: *Laughs*
Evan: Well the one thing I really dislike is, well this is cliché but I hate when people put down other peoples’ successes. I don’t like when people dislike others for their successes and their triumphs. Like “oh that kid worked so hard in studying, why do they do that? They have no fun at all”. Everybody has a different definition of fun, happiness and success. The one thing that really puts everyone down is the feeling of not fitting in or not being good enough. I feel that no matter how hard we try, it’s human nature to put other people down because you want to make sure that you are seen as the best. I really want people to feel comfortable and we really want people to remember not just us, but everyone. Sure maybe one kid got a 50 in math but they were still a really nice person; they helped other people. We people to be remembered for good things. Even though you may not have many friends or you may not be academically inclined, you shouldn’t put others down for their successes.
Ravneet: My pet peeve has to be liars. I dislike liars. Don’t lie, just tell the truth and come forward. There’s no point in lying. And this may sound weird but I don’t like wearing different shades of black. That is my biggest pet peeve. If I see people or if I have a black top and black pants they don’t match I’m like “I can’t wear this!” like I will completely change. And yeah, those are my pet peeves.
Evan: Also, I have a couple more since Ravneet brought those up-
Ravneet: *Laughs* Oh and I also have one where I can’t see dots in one place.
Evan: Oh that weird phobia?
Ravneet: Ugh I can’t, wait is that phobia or pet peeve?
Evan: A phobia. Anyways, I’m a really big fan of bubble tea. And I hate when people don’t try things. I eat sushi a lot too and I hate when people are like, “ew that’s so gross!” and they never try it but when I make them try it they say “oh my god this is so good”.
Ravneet: Yeah that’s my pet peeve too I hate when people do that. Don’t hate, just try things.
Evan: Exactly and also, I like wearing my clothes differently. I like styling and fashion. So when people are like, “oh why aren’t you wear like Nike sweats or Nike sweater” but I just want to explore different options and we need to break this stigma so guys can explore fashion more.
Ravneet: Yeah, and another pet I have, judgemental people.
If you were on a stranded and you had all necessities provided, what additional things would you bring with you and why?
Ravneet: …My eyebrow lady *laughs*. No, I’m just kidding.
Evan: I’d bring the people I love. I’d bring my dog, I can’t live without my dog. I’d bring my bed because I love my bed.
Ravneet: What’s one thing I can’t live without? Probably my laptop, no my camera, I lied. Stranded on an island? That’s so many nice pictures I could take.
Evan: Yeah and I would bring my Nintendo Switch, I just got it and I love it.
Okay, do you have any final words for any students reading?
Ravneet: Don’t give up on yourself. You’re going to be in situations and tested but do not give up. I know for a fact that if I had given up I wouldn’t be where I am right now. I still have those days where I want to give up but I have this voice inside that’s telling me, “don’t give up” and I have to say, you are your biggest competition. Nobody else can be you, no one else can examine what you do. You are your biggest competition and you have to test your limits. You have to try hard and be yourself. We live in a world where everyone is just so opinionated but who cares what everyone else thinks. Live your life to the best and be good human beings.
Evan: Life is like a hundred-foot giant. You’re going to be in the boxing ring with it, you’re going to keep going at it. No matter how hard life is, you can’t give up the fight. You need to believe in yourself and have courage. You need to find and strive what you aspire for. Sometimes you’re going to hate yourself and think, “how did I become like this” but what you need to do is find a goal and believe in it.
Ravneet: And you don’t need to follow the way rule. There are so many ways to get to where you want to go. Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice just makes you better than you were before. Do what you want to do.
Evan: Live, enjoy and have fun.
Now, do you want to go back to the role model question?
Ravneet: Yeah, let me think. Well as a kid, it used to be Beyoncé, that was my biggest role model.
Evan: I also really admire people who have been through so much. Like Malala, she has been through so much but she’s still advocating for what almost got her killed. I really envy her for that. That courage is something most people never have and I really wish I had that type of courage but I feel like I can succeed in my own way. She really did something good for the world and I reciprocate that in some sort of way.
Ravneet: I don’t have one specific role model I have multiple.
Evan: I think my main role model is my mom. She literally went from the rock bottom to who she is today. I believe that no matter how many people say this, it’s not cliché. I truly believe my mom is amazing. She accomplished something that no one in her family ever dreamed of, not that she had them around though. She accomplished so many things and I strive to do things like her. Even though her success was unbelievably dramatic, I want to be someone like her who can do something like that.
Ravneet: My role model has to be my mom but honestly it has to be my uncle. Because of him always challenging me, making me do better than I thought I could. If he was not in my life and I never had that type of model to look up to, I would not be here right now. He had so many different barriers in his life and now he’s a self-taught genius. From being involved with the wrong kids to working at a really good job. I think the way he handled things and grown as a person really inspires me.