(Clockwise from top left) Sophomores Sanjana Anand and Arijit Trivedi, junior Ming Zhu and sophomore Ethan Monasa will guide the Octagon. (Photo courtesy of Trivedi)

Octagon, Medallion, Student Council leaders announced for 2020-21 school year

Octagon, Medallion and Student Council have decided their leaders for 2020-21.

This year, the Octagon had four editors-in-chief, all seniors. But next year, three of the four will be juniors.

This year’s editors-in-chief — Jackson Crawford, Larkin Barnard-Bahn, Anna Frankel and Héloïse Schep — will pass their roles to junior Ming Zhu and sophomores Arijit Trivedi, Ethan Monasa and Sanjana Anand.

Zhu and Anand will be the print editors-in-chief, and Trivedi and Monasa will be the online editors-in-chief.

In addition, Bonnie Stewart will become the adviser following Paul Bauman’s retirement.

“I hope to inspire students to dig deep and find stories that go beyond the surface,” Stewart said. “Regardless of careers (students) choose, I want to believe that they will always strive to find and tell the truth.”

The yearbook announced juniors Hana Lee and Nate Leavy as next year’s editors-in-chief. In addition, the copy editors will be juniors Layla MoheyEldin and Athena Lin. Sophomore Vanessa Escobar will be the photography editor, sophomore Lilah Shorey will be the design editor and sophomore Tina Huang will be the communications manager.

The Student Council president will be junior Bri Davies, for the second year, and junior Kenyatta Dumisani will be vice president.

The officers for next year will be junior Ming Zhu (chair of finance), sophomores Dylan Margolis and Miles Morrow (co-chairs of spirit), sophomore Arikta Trivedi (chair of dances) and junior Lili Brush (chair of communications).

Bauman and the current editors-in-chief chose the new Octagon leaders. 

“We wanted people with experience who had also shown a commitment to the Octagon,” Bauman said. “We also looked at their writing and editing skills.”

It is unusual to have junior editors-in-chief, according to Bauman.

“The bonus is that they will have two years as editors-in-chief,” Bauman said.

The new editors-in-chief shared their plans for next year.

Monasa said he hopes to add more multimedia to the website.

“One of our goals this year has been to incorporate more multimedia content,” Monasa said. “We’ve done a great job of getting that going, but I’d like to build on that foundation. It’d also be nice to have a more steady flow of online (stories) and more online-exclusive stories other than sports beats.” 

Monasa added he would like to work on uploading sports beats within 24 hours.

Trivedi said he wants to expand the Octagon’s traffic on the website and overall readership.

“I feel like the middle school is often overlooked,” Trivedi said. “While it is a high school newspaper, I think attracting middle schoolers to the Octagon would not only increase our readership but also ensure that we have future staffers that are invested in the publication.”

Trivedi said he looks forward to working closely with staffers and hearing their ideas.

Zhu and Anand said they want to make the print issues more interesting.

“I want our stories oriented on something the student body is interested in,” Anand said. “I think the biggest problem for the Octagon is its reputation with the school and its students. 

“I would also like to add more interactive activities, such as our crossword puzzle, because we have staffers who work really hard on it and it’s hardly published.”

Zhu added he would like to change some of the print issue’s formatting.

“I plan to reduce the amount of text on our issues,” Zhu said. “(I) might also experiment with having shortened print stories and posting the complete versions online. I’m looking forward to renovating our issues and working together with our staff and new adviser.”

Bauman said advising the Octagon for the past two years has been a great learning experience.

“It’s different from anything else I’ve done,” said Bauman, who worked in the sports department of The Sacramento Bee for 18 years before coming to Country Day. “My two hopes for the staff are that they continue to learn and have fun.”

Yearbook adviser Liz Leavy said she wanted editors-in-chief who were “big-picture thinkers.”

“We have a small staff, so it’s like a jigsaw puzzle to make sure all of the editorial positions are filled with experienced staff,” she said. “We thought a lot about teamwork and balance when we selected our editors-in-chief.”

Liz Leavy said Lee and Nate Leavy complement each other.

“(Lee) is a whiz at design and photography, while Nate is more of a words guy,” Liz Leavy said. “(Lee) has a million wild ideas every day; Nate (Leavy) — believe it or not — is more pragmatic.”

Lee said she and Nate Leavy have not yet discussed their plans for the year.

Liz Leavy, though, said she’s “very excited about our whole leadership team for next year. Editors-in-chief have the highest profile, but without the experience and abilities of our copy, design and photography editors, the EICs and I would be lost.”

Davies, adviser Valerie Velo and senior vice presidents Jackson Margolis and Rebecca Waterson chose next year’s Student Council leaders.

Margolis said he was looking for enthusiasm.

“We wanted someone who was passionate about Student Council and was enthusiastic to plan and help out with events,” Margolis said. “There were a lot of excellent choices, which made some of the decisions difficult.”

Davies agreed with Margolis. 

“(Dumisani) is super enthusiastic, and his class loves him,” Davies said. “He was the perfect choice.”

Davies has displayed commitment to the Student Council, Velo said.

“(Davies) has consistently shown that she will go above and beyond when it comes to planning, buying and prepping,” Velo said. “This was (Dumisani’s) first year on Student Council, and you would never know it. He has taken initiative on and shown enthusiasm for a lot of things that we do.”

Arikta Trivedi

Originally published in the May 26 edition of The Octagon.

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