The award-winning Shaker Heights High School student news organization

The Shakerite

The award-winning Shaker Heights High School student news organization

The Shakerite

The award-winning Shaker Heights High School student news organization

The Shakerite

H. Walker Edwards Preaches Pokemon

“I really see myself as a sort of Joe Biden,” H. Walker Edwards said. “A very chill dude who’s good at his job.”

Pokemon-quoting, silk shirt-loving anarchists are rarely elected vice president of a class. But then again, Edwards is not your typical leader.

His May 16 speech wasn’t, either.  While full of satire and jokes, the speech also showed Edwards to be a very charismatic, self-confident speaker.

“I was selling myself, not my qualifications,” Edwards said. Selling himself must have worked, as Edwards beat Narayan Sundararajan, a candidate who employed a more traditional speech, relying more on a list of qualifications and less on humor. Edwards said he couldn’t sleep the night before elections—not because of nerves but for the excitement of speaking. “It brings out the best in me,” Edwards said. “I wanted to say what I felt in the moment.”

According to Edwards, people enjoyed his speech not because it was humorous, but because it was more authentic than the other candidates’ efforts. “If any of the other candidates and pursued that [authentic] road, they could have won,” Edwards said. “This is me; take it or leave it.”

Part of the humor in Edwards’ speech was remarking on the relative lack of power the vice president holds, in council and in the federal government. He said, “I can’t legalize or decriminalize anything, but I can hold bake sales!”

“To be honest, I’m not completely sure what it [being VP] will entail and what my powers are,” Edwards said. Next year his plans for the council are still in the making, with the freshman class already starting T-shirt pre-orders for next year.

“I wouldn’t have run this year, either, if not for Narayan [Sundararajan]. I wouldn’t have run unopposed,” Edwards said. “I don’t feel any sort of guilt making my campaign humorous, because I feel like I also did a good job of who I am and why I can do well.”

However, not everyone enjoyed Edwards’ speech, which he characterized as “polarizing”.  “Some of my friends would tell me that their teachers would say, ‘I don’t know if he should be your vice president—he called you guys juvenile delinquents.’”

Despite some opposition, Edwards does not seem to mind the challenge.  “No effective people were ever completely liked.”

Read the full speech below.

“Friends, students, juvenile delinquents. Lend me your ears! You may be wondering why I’ve gathered you here today, me, Walker Edwards, Harrison Walker Edwards, clocking in at 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, who loves long walks on the beach, silk shirts, and all sorts of high fashion. I stand here to convince that I will make the best vice president. I couldn’t list all of my qualifications, such as being sixth-grade vice president, bringing Woodbury into its golden age. But I felt that a twelve-minute freestyle rap or spoken word poetry would be the best way to convey this, but instead I’ve prepared a kid-friendly speech. I think it was Abraham Lincoln who once said, ‘Please vote for Walker Edwards, he really needs it.’ And I think he said it best, way back then. A vote for me is a vote towards freedom, justice, and the start of something beautiful. All I have to ask is, when the time comes will you be on my side, or still clinging to the past? I want to leave you with one more quote, class of 2015, one to inspire and uplift you. ‘I want to be the very best, that no one ever was. To catch them is my real test, to train them, that is my cause. I will travel across this land, searching far and wide; these Pokemon to understand, the power that is inside. Pokemon, gotta catch ‘em all. Pokemon.’ Now, as vice president, I have less power than you all would probably like to give me. I can’t raise taxes, legalize or decriminalize anything, but I can hold bake sales, fundraisers, and I promise to do that with a tenacity, meaning vigor and aggression, that all of you would like to see. I love to cook things, I love to sell things, I love all entrepreneurial ventures. Whether it’s to make money for school, or for myself, I promise to do so in a way you will all love, so, consider me as your vice president, thank you, goodnight.”


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