Lane LSC Student Representative Profile: Eric Garcia


LSC Student Representative Eric Garcia. (Photo courtesy of Garcia)

By Alex Burstein, Sports Editor

Last night, there was a new face representing the students at the Local School Council (LSC) meeting. Eric Garcia, Div. 262, defeated incumbent William Cashman by one vote in November’s LSC Election.

However, when The Warrior reached out to Garcia after his election win, he was surprised to hear the news. After all, Garcia didn’t even mean to be on the ballot. But after filing for the spring 2020 LSC election, which was postponed to November, his name never got taken off the ballot.

Last month, The Warrior caught up with Garcia to talk about school, his new role on the LSC and much more.


This interview transcript has been edited for length and clarity


1. When did you apply to run for the LSC?

I think I applied late February when it was being announced and everything. 


2. Why did you decide to run in the first place?

There was this whole drama thing in the Japanese classes with the new Japanese teacher. In short, we had a great Japanese teacher. She was lovely. She taught at Lane for a couple of years before. But the whole story behind it was that, before she was officially hired, she was working with another person when they were both Japanese teachers at Lane. And then this was before they even had an official Japanese class. … So when they actually had a full-time position available, they both applied. The other person didn’t get accepted. But she did. And then apparently, he’s been filing a lawsuit for all these years and he won because it was the teachers union behind him and so our teacher who we love and respect and was doing a great job teaching, was kicked out basically. And then he replaced her, and he does not teach well, so we went to Mr. Ara, and I was like, ‘All right, what can we do?’ He gave us some stuff. I got in contact with an old teacher of mine, who is a representative for the LSC, and it gave me a bunch of insight of what we can do, so we tried to go up to the LSC to try to work it all out. But it just kept getting worse and worse, it kept getting more complicated because of the whole legal thing as well, and the teachers union. So, the LSC was sort of a plan to try to get more, I don’t want to say leverage, but get more insight and also get more of a say in things. So we can see what we can do from both sides. So we attended the LSC meeting just before the whole quarantine happened and we made a case like ‘We would like to at least put this on the record that we’re trying to get her back and make it on the record that this new person cannot really teach and we want to make a change of that.’ The whole LSC plan was to try to get into the district side, try to see what we can do from there. But then, the whole pandemic happened. We changed our plan. I was actually supposed to go down to the CPS headquarters the day we all were sent home. So the LSC was a small part of a much bigger plan that we were doing. And so when everything shut down, and I got no word on anything that was happening with it, I thought ‘Oh, maybe they just did the elections’ and I didn’t know about it or maybe they’re just gonna stick with it, because it was all very confusing.”


3. When you saw your name on the ballot, did you think you had any chance at winning this year?

No, because I also did the student council election and I lost that, technically. I’m only still on student council also because no one applied for the secretary position, so Ms. Hanly emailed me and was like “Hey, listen, do you want to be the secretary?” And I was like, “Oh yeah, sure. Happily.” So I thought, oh I didn’t really make any statements or anything, like no one really knows who I am. So I thought no one will vote for me, whatever, because my whole thing was again, I didn’t expect this to be on the ballot in the first place so it was kind of confusing. And then I thought, well if anything I’m not going to win anyways. My name is just on there for fun. And then I won.


4. What was your first reaction to finding out you won the election?

I was in my computer science class. Luckily my camera was off because I read the email and my eyes just kind of went wide and like ‘Oh.’; I was like oh no, maybe [they are] wrong, so I checked it myself and I’m like no, [they are] right according to this yeah, all right, neat. At first it was disbelief like, because again, my thoughts of me winning were very low. I guess that’s just my own confidence. But again I didn’t make any statements or anything. No one knew who I really was, like especially in the Lane Tech community, no one really knows who I am, or what I do. Like had this been my old school, yeah everyone knew me there. But like Lane is so big, I’m just pretty much a name on the ballot. That’s it. And then the other person, I think his name is William, like he’s been with the LSC before, and people will apparently know him, so I thought he’ll win. So it was a really big surprise to me.


5. What were your thoughts on the mascot removal? How would you have voted?

I was completely fine with that. I know a lot of people were upset with that, that they also sent surveys out to students and to the alumni. I’m actually a part of a city council thing where we’re talking about whole district stuff, and the talk of the Lane Tech mascot came up about is it right, or is it wrong. Not for work wise, but more like this was us just talking. And we have a couple of other Lane students on the council as well. And we were talking about our own opinions on it and everyone said, yeah it probably should be removed. There’s already a lot of talk about other schools and with their mascots that they deemed to be cultural appropriation or racist, and especially given what happened in everything with both the world and also inside Lane Tech with so many things that were on video by people, I think it was just different, everyone, they were very motivated. … From what I understood, everyone was on board with getting rid of it. I didn’t meet anyone who wanted it to stay.


6. The Lane LSC voted to remove SROs from the building this summer. What were your thoughts on that situation?

Yeah, I’ve been behind that. This summer, I was working for Mikvah (Challenge), and we were talking about school resource officers a lot. We were saying like, what should it ultimately be and we were then presenting this to a bunch of people, like a bunch of the politicians in Chicago and also like the chief of the police I believe. But for the most part, me personally, I didn’t want them. We did a lot of research. School resource officers don’t do a lot of good work. A lot of kids feel like they’re being watched a lot. School already feels like sort of a prison to some kids, though that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, yeah. But it’s that putting officers in a school means that kids are being watched and if you make someone feel like they’re being watched all the time, they get that guilt inside of them already, even if they’re not doing anything, that they’re doing something wrong.


7. You said you’re on the Student Council as a secretary?

Yes, the Executive (Board) secretary.


8. And how many years have you been on the Student Council?

This will be my first year on the Executive Board.


9. How has your experience on the Student Council Executive Board been so far?

It’s been great. We’ve had a couple of meetings, of course all virtual, so it’s been less than what we probably would have done in school. But I was part of the general assembly back in freshman year. … And that was like every week, but the actual executive board only met a couple times. So from my understanding, that still exists and executive board meets like whenever there’s a huge issue that we need to tackle. Well, we’ve been talking about fundraisers we can do or some kind of event. Again I feel like right now is not really the best representation of what it does, because everything is kind of messed up right now. So we’re trying to do what we can.


10. How do you think your role on the executive board will influence your role on the LSC?

I don’t think it will really influence it much. … I’ve always tried to see everything from every angle, so I won’t really side with one thing. If it’s like, oh student council is going this way, but the LSC is (going) that way, I don’t really think those things are to matter because they handle very different things. I would say I don’t think they will really affect each other, and if it does happen, like they are doing something where I’m stuck in the middle somehow, I guess I’ll go with my best judgment in that case and side with what we truly think is the best option.


11. Do you plan to run again for student council for the upcoming school year?

Student council, for sure. … Yeah, I’ll run again, that’s for sure.


12. So you don’t think it’s a conflict of interest between the LSC and student council?

No, I don’t really think so.


13. What’s one thing you’d like to change about Lane Tech?

I definitely want to give students the best experience that they can have. I know a lot of students are stressed and everything like that, which I know we were supposed to get a psychiatrist and more help for the counseling department. I just want to listen to what the students say first off and then kind of go based off that.


14. What do you think makes you qualified for the LSC student representative position?

Well, back at my old school, I was pretty much known by the entire community because I was the head of student council there and then also the representative from our school for our neighborhood organization. So I was very in the community, people knew me and I was always the one to go do things if there was ever an activity where we had to do fundraising or someone like me to assist the school to help plan something new that’s happening. Or [if] there was an issue in the community or the school needed something, I was always the one to stay behind or help out wherever I could. If you get me behind something that I’m really excited about then I will do it until I drop dead, basically. I’m very motivated to help where I can. 


15. Are you personally excited to join the LSC?

I’m excited and nervous. I believe I start January if I’m correct, the January meeting. I’m excited to start but I’m also nervous because I’m not too sure how to start. 


16. What is your favorite thing about Lane?

The classes are great. I remember I walked in for, I think, open house. … I went to the Makers Lab, saw the wall of 3D printers, and was like this is where I need to be. And I tell that story every time I have to tell a story about the Makers Lab because I’m in the CS department. …  But Lane Tech offers so many classes that aren’t offered anywhere else… We have Micro Architecture, which we’re the only high school that offers that in the country. I just think that’s amazing. Like I want to fail a year so I can stay back and take more classes, but I know that’s not how you do it. I asked my counselor, ‘Hey, can I just give up lunch?’ And she was like ‘You know we can’t do that.’ And I’m like, ‘Yes, but what if I just walked to class and no one will have to know.’ Lane has so many classes that are amazing, I want to take them all.