Vedha Dande on Becoming Student Body President, Dealing With Stress, and Who Pushed Her to Run


Sofia Perez-Hughes

Vedha Dande, 2022-2023 Student Body President

Kicking off her sophomore year strong, balancing honor classes, cross country, Model U.N., and Student Council, Vedha Dande is the 2022-2023 Grand Oaks High School Student Body President. As she tackles this hectic year, she still keeps herself humble and extremely grateful for everything that comes her way. “I’m super excited to be here,” she says. “I’ve never done anything like this.”

As our Student Body President, Dande often organizes meetings and comes up with ideas with her officer team. “It’s collaborative, so we all work together.” On a normal meeting day, they think up speeches for pep rallies and talk about how they’ll introduce the cheerleaders, but considering it’s only the beginning of the year, they’re still getting to know each other and trying to understand how to successfully tackle their job. 

During Dande’s lengthy school career, she’s accomplished a lot. Luckily, she has a lot of support from her family and friends. She explains that since she was little, she’s always had a nurturing crew around her. “Everyone is already so supportive,” she emphasizes. “My family, they’ve been supporting me, and helping me create my poster and speech.” 

Dande’s ongoing support exceeds her family and friends. Her student crew truly all care about each other. “I like to keep it to where we check up on each other, and no one falls behind or feels left out.” When asked how she felt about being in the highest class of officials, she explains that she doesn’t see herself in that light. “No one’s above each other; I don’t think I’m better than anyone.”

Dande’s job as Student Body President means she has lots of roles to fill, and in order to do that, she’s had to work up the courage to talk to administrators, which was somewhat nerve-racking. Thankfully with the great admin we have, they’ve only made her job easier. “They’re so active and helpful. The new principal – Principal Bush –  he’s so kind and everyone has welcomed me.” Most of the talking she does with admin is done in person. She shares that they mostly coordinate between times and dates together, and they come to agreements quickly.

Coming to terms with the fact that she represents the student body took time. Dande expresses that she understands the heavy load of the role, and is constantly listening in for her peers’ opinions. “I’m more for bringing the student voice out – that’s what I wanted.” In addition to listening to her peers’ feedback, she hopes they also listen to her.  “The first thing that goes through my mind is, ‘I hope they take something out of it’. I hope something resonated with the crowd, like joining a club.” 

Accomplishing her role, she still tends to get lost and needs to find her way back. While she feels able to turn to her parents for guidance, she also looks up to Doctor Sanjay Gupta, an Emmy Award winning neurosurgeon and chief medical correspondent for CNN. “I’ve just thought, ‘How can someone take on two of the hardest roles ever’ and he did it.”

Tackling all she does is never easy, and Dande struggles just as everyone else does. After all, being a teenager in high school is a lot of work. “My other student body officers and class officers have really eased the load [of all the stress].” Most of the stress she endures stems from the constant planning of school events, like our pep rallies and parades. Her homework tends to pile up, and while it’s not a habit she’s proud of, she procrastinates, as we all do. She explains that good grades and respect from the people around her don’t come easily. “It’s just long nights of studying.” While she’s no Rory Gilmore – staying holed up in her room studying 24/7 – she still finds time to study and have a social life. “Sometimes, your work/life balance gets skewed. I try to keep [my social life] open so I can have time for myself too, because that’s important.” 

Going all the way back to the second semester of 2021-2022, Dande originally heard about this job from former student, Michael Frost. Dande shares that she still holds a lot of appreciation towards him. “Michael was a good example last year, so props to him.” Frost was the Grand Oaks Student Body President from 2021-2022, and while the pleasure of meeting with him in person wasn’t gifted, he still was able to share: “I knew she would win,” Frost said. “It would be good for the student council, and she did [win].” Frost said that near the end of his term, he was looking for someone that “had the initiative to keep the student council going strong” and his eyes landed on Dande. In this process, he scouted for the person that regularly showed up for STUCO meetings and truly went the extra mile. Later, he shares a time where Dande set up a teacher appreciation project without anyone telling her to, and it resonated with him. “Nobody else was running for president; I told her she should.”

Her optimism shines straight through her teeth in the smiles that she shares, and the fondness that radiates off her when talking about her peers. It’s clear that Dande is open to anything and everything to improve her school. “I’m curious to see what will happen this year” said Dande. Through hardship and hard work, Vedha Dande is a Student Body President that Grand Oaks is proud to have.