The leadership journey of SGA president Loriz Arencibia ’23


Suzanne Kores/RE Communications

Arencibia (second from left) after the Homecoming pep rally.

“One of the things I find special about 

myself is that I think I was born with a purpose that was very clear to me: to be helpful to people, a public servant,” said Loriz Arencibia ’23.  

To many students, Arencibia isn’t just President of the Student Government Association. She makes the job look easy. Since her election at the end of last year, after she won over the student body with a speech that combined comedy with an ambitious agenda for creating more school spirit, she has inhabited the role completely, making visible efforts to deliver on her promises and improve student life. It’s easy to spot her at pep rallies and assemblies: she’s the one right in the middle of everything, jumping around and orchestrating chants.   

“School spirit is easy to get on board with. Love and enthusiasm are infectious,” Arencibia said.  

Arencibia has always been involved with student government. She was president of student government at her elementary school, Alexander Montessori. While she arrived at Ransom Everglades Middle School with aspirations to be a leader, however, she had to face many obstacles before understanding what leadership means.   

“[I was] the kid who lost their belt and came late every day: a mess. Good-natured and charismatic, but a mess,” Arencibia said.   

Nevertheless, throughout middle school, Arencibia was driven by a desire to help others and lead her peers. After the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school on February 14, 2018, she knew she had to act. She organized a mass walkout from the Middle School campus, in an effort to unite the community around a common cause.   

Going into the Upper School, Arencibia realized she needed to prove her commitment to be the leader she always had the potential to be. She organized mangrove cleanups and 8ball tournaments. She executed her idea of having students write each other appreciation letters. This idea of validating and appreciating others was important to her. Towards the end of sophomore year, she received validation of her own by being awarded the Antonio Tsialas Leadership Award and the Sophomore Honor and Excellence Award.  

Arencibia ended her sophomore year knowing she was making a positive impact. But then, over the summer, life threw another obstacle in her direction. Arencibia got into a serious accident. She severed the nerves, arteries, and tendons in her hand, losing the opportunity to play tennis competitively.   

The community she had been dedicating herself to was not as supportive as she expected. “I always knew I wanted to be a leader, but this forced me to question that, which was painful for me,” she said. “It was a rude awakening for me to realize that if I was a leader for praise and validation instead of my genuine love of service, I was doing it for the wrong reasons.”  

The accident gave her other lessons as well—lessons in how important it is to be present when experiencing painful moments. But they weren’t easy to see at first. “There are a lot of things you have control over: pep rally, homecoming, everything. You can make sure they all go smoothly. Catastrophe happens because there are some things you cannot control. Everything happens for a reason if you give it one. The message of this accident was not clear to me. I had to make it clear to myself by asking what I can learn from this situation,” Arencibia explained.  

This journey to being president has driven Arencibia to make the most of her tenure, letting no opportunity go to waste. She and other SGA representatives sacrificed their summers to plan activities such as freshman-senior field day, pep rallies, homecoming dance and a new house system at the Upper School.   

When she was in the early stages of designing the house system, Arencibia found herself thinking about the Montessori values she practiced at her elementary school, where younger students worked with older students and became more mature by observing and exemplifying their behavior. “The house system is something future students can build on and benefit from. It is important to create strong traditions. I understood that focusing on only working with seniors would cause my ideas to die with my grade. I worked with underclassmen to implement traditions and dedicated myself to human capital to make us more confident,” Arencibia said.  

To onlookers, Arencibia might seem almost relentlessly energetic. But she finds herself to be less intense than her passion for school spirit might suggest. “I enjoy the slow moments in life. I find success in keeping myself grounded. I ask myself how much time I need to give one hundred percent and how I can make that time to recharge,” she said. “I feel fortunate to have something that I feel happy doing and makes me feel fulfilled.”