Since April, Nathan Abdelnour ’18 and Christian Seybert ’18 have had lots of time to plan for the year ahead. After their election as the Student Senate President and Vice President last spring, the seniors have set their sights on making a lasting mark at Saint Ignatius.
“It’s a really tough job, honestly,” Abdelnour says, “But it’s a lot of fun.” Over the course of the school year, he and Seybert are expected to attend more than 200 events that include the Arrupe Halloween Party, admissions tours, the annual spring coffee house and the Patel Family Toy Drive. It’s that last one that has drawn some creative thinking from these two service-minded young men.
“We have a toy drive every year and the Senate has a surplus of presents every year that are wrapped and can’t get to schools, so we were thinking of taking presents to pediatric centers in hospitals,” Abdelnour says.
He and Seybert also hope to boost school spirit and student life through a wide range of initiatives.
“We want to do a loyalty program in the cafeteria,” Seybert says. “We want to have better spirit at sporting events and rallies.” Recruiting students and planning routines for the Wildcat mascot are two tasks they have already checked off their to-do list.
Also in the works are plans for this year’s Homecoming Dance, which has a time travel theme this year. That will include music selections that change every 30 minutes from decade to decade, beginning with the 80s and working up to the present.
Some of the new administration’s goals are focused on streamlining Senate operations. The new president and vice president have created a Student Senate page on PowerSchool Learning (the school's learning management system) to improve communication, and have set up a spreadsheet for Senators to sign up for events, so it’s easier for everyone to manage their commitments. So far, Abdelnour says, they have had full attendance from all Senate members this school year. The Senate will be working under the guidance of longtime Senate moderators Mr. Bill Kelley '62 and Mr. Joe Popelka '84.
“They obviously are a hard-working group of people. They’re a lot of fun,” Abdelnour says. “That makes it more enjoyable for us just to be there. Being around kids you have fun with is just a plus."
Although their work is just getting started, the two Senate leaders have known each other for a while, having been friends since their sixth grade year at Ruffing Montessori School in Rocky River. They are also extremely passionate about Saint Ignatius High School.
“I love all the teachers, all the students,” Abdelnour says. “It’s just a fun experience getting to be here—the education’s awesome, too.”
“The tradition, the legacy—you’re an Ignatius man forever,” Seybert says of what he loves most about Saint Ignatius. “There’s so many people who went here before you. It’s cool.”
As they reflected on their first three years at Saint Ignatius, both students said that service has been at the root of their most important experiences here.
Seybert tells the story of meeting Israel, a student at Paul L. Dunbar School, and working with him in the classroom through Sophomore Service and then getting to play with him after school through the Arrupe Cat Pack program. “We made a connection because I helped him at school and then that same day I’d go and do Cat Pack,” he says. “You get to know someone in so many different ways—in the classroom, on the field, I saw him interact with all his friends. At the end he wrote me a nice letter and said he wanted to be like me when he grew up.”
For Abdelnour, it was his Sophomore Service experience at Metro Hospital that was impactful.
“I was given the opportunity to talk to patients and see how people struggle, and it kind of humbled me,” he says. “The last day there I saw a neurosurgery. I love medicine and so it was absolutely life-changing. It was so cool and I’m so glad Ignatius gave me the opportunity to see that."
With their focus on service and their passion for Saint Ignatius, it seems that Saint Ignatius has genuine Men for Others ready to lead the student body this school year.
Abdenlour and Seybert Fast Facts
Nathan: Elected Spring 2016 (2nd year)
Christian: Elected Spring 2015 (3rd year)
Nathan: Mrs. Antonelli
Christian: Mr. Popelka or Mr. Vilinsky
Nathan: Honors Algebra II
Christian: Honors Geometry with Brother Cordero
Favorite Cafeteria Food?
Nathan: Chicken paprikash, walking tacos or chicken and waffles
Christian: Orange chicken dish
Scariest Place on Campus?
Nathan: 6th floor
Christian: Back corner in the basement floor of the Main Building
Nicest Person on Campus?
Nathan: Jeff Outcalt ‘18
Christian: Isaac Dweh
Who Inspires You the Most?
First Choice College Right Now?
Nathan: Notre Dame or Ohio State
Blue or Gold?