Each week, members of the staff nominate 2 seniors for the spotlight, for outstanding accomplishments ranging from citizenship to extracurricular activities to scholastic. Our own Highpoint school newspaper staff profiles these students, and the interviews are published in the Belmont Citizen-Herald and posted on the bulletin board by the main office. We are excited for this opportunity to highlight a broad group of the amazing students at BHS!
Marauder of the Week: Friday, January 17th, 2020
There is no doubt that Vanessa Yuzlek, an accomplished student in academics, proves the perfect candidate for the Marauder of the Week.
For Vanessa, she enjoys all school subjects because they all teach her incredible things. However, this year, she especially enjoys Psychology and Zoology. Vanessa explains that she "enjoy[s] psychology because it teaches [her] all these different concepts that applies to everyday life,'' while also revealing a lot of information about life. As for Zoology, Vanessa is an animal lover, and learning many different and interesting facts about animals is appealing to her. When asked which class or teacher at Belmont has been the most influential to her, Vanessa responds that "each class and teacher has influenced [her] to become better and better at that subject" allowing her to become a more skilled student overall.
Currently, Vanessa is not involved in extracurricular activities, for she takes her schoolwork seriously, and spends a lot of time studying and improving. However, in the past, she has been in clubs as well as taken classes in Armenian dancing. From this, it is not surprising that Vanessa is most proud of maintaining a good academic record throughout her years at Belmont High School. Vanessa says she works incredibly hard on her "school work and study hours", which can be seen from her academic records. Aside from being a diligent student, Vanessa is passionate about reading, because she believes one can learn a lot from reading a book and "it is a nice distraction from all the stressful things going around".
Vanessa's advice to the students of Belmont High is sweet and simple: "Always work hard, believe in yourself, and never give up, but also remember to have fun as high school zips by".
By Tiffany Hu
Christian Rudder is a kind and creative senior whose hard work makes him a stellar choice for Marauder of the week. Christian’s favorite subjects in school are robotics and AP Computer Science. He enjoys the design and programming processes, saying that “it doesn’t seem like work at all, but rather a puzzle I have to solve with logic and reasoning.”
Being a passionate student of art and design, Christian fills his free time with drawing, gouache painting, animation and designing. His lifelong goal is to “design cunning and functional infrastructure” that will “captivate [anyone] whose eyes lay upon it.” He enthusiastically puts this dream into words: “I believe architecture to be the greatest form of art because every building is like a story, an emotion, a personality that you get to interact with, allowing any one person to indulge themselves in the art truly.”
Christian is always striving to be the best version of himself. He feels greatly supported by his community, especially by his freshman history teacher, Ms. Dashoff, who saw the potential in him and put the “pep back in [his] step.” She reminded Christian to always put more effort into his work because there is always room to improve. Additionally, Christian enjoys being part of Improv Ensemble and is involved in the robotics club.
Christian’s concise yet wise advice to other BHS students is that “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”
By Agnes Shen
Marauder of the Week: Friday, December 20th, 2019
Merrie Chasse, a current senior at Belmont High School, is a motivated, hardworking student with a passion for the sciences. These sciences include neuroscience and chemistry, despite the difficulty of these topics. But with the accomplishment of these topics comes much satisfaction. It’s no wonder that some of her favorite teachers from her time at BHS are in the sciences, as they have helped her strengthen her analytical skills and deepened her love of science. Merrie’s Capstone project for English dives into the psychology of travel and how traveling affects society. She has traveled with her family around Europe many times, which has given her a unique perspective on her research and travel in general.
Merrie is involved in many leadership positions at the high school. This includes being captain of the high school swim team and a Performing Arts Company officer. She was also co-officer for Project Bread during her junior year. As a part of the PAC, she has thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities she has had and the new friendships she has made. Another leadership position outside of the school is Merrie’s role as captain of the Belmont recreational swim team, where she has coached many young and developing swimmers and learned new skills. Leadership is a significant part of Merrie’s high school experience. Some of her proudest accomplishments are going to sectionals and states for swim in senior year and her involvement in the many shows the PAC performs. Her piece of advice to other BHS students is to make sure they join activities that they are genuinely interested in, because in those activities one can make the closest friends and discover more passions and interests.
By Sanya Malhotra
Marauder of the Week: Friday, December 13th, 2019
Honor Hickman, a kind and talented senior with a passion for music, is a clear choice for Marauder of the Week. Her favorite subjects are the humanities: AP Psychology, because it helps her “understand [her]self and others”; and English, which challenges her to approach topics from multiple perspectives and has, in her opinion, made her “more open minded and understanding.” However, the class that has been most influential to Honor is, unsurprisingly, band; she started band in sixth grade, and says that since then, it has shaped her life. She works incredibly hard to be the “best musician and person” she can be, explaining that the part of learning about the arts that “resonates” with her most is that “it doesn’t just apply to one thing,” but instead “it applies to our whole lives.”
Honor participates in many musical ensembles, both within and outside of BHS. She is involved in the BHS Jazz Ensemble – she frequently takes solos on more than one instrument over the course of a concert – as well as a wind quintet, the Senior Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble and a jazz orchestra. Additionally, she is the president of Belmont’s Tri-M Music Honor Society chapter, and last year she won the annual BHS Concerto Competition. Honor is most proud of “being a part of the performing arts community at BHS,” because she appreciates the dedication and hard work of those involved in every facet of this community, including band, orchestra, chorus and the Performing Arts Company. Most of Honor’s free time is spent practicing or writing music, although she also noted that she loves to bake and to “make little critters out of clay.”
Honor’s advice for other BHS students is simple and sweet: No matter how much stress you are under or how many problems you are facing, always remember the things you love, and “let those things propel you forward.”
By Claire Svetkey
Senior Nico Noack, this week’s Marauder of the Week, is a dedicated athlete and a strong student who is particularly focused on the sciences. His favorite classes at BHS both were science electives: AP Physics and Intro to Robotics. He also cites Intro to Robotics as one of the most influential classes he has taken, because it helped him realize that he was interested in “engineering and creating.” Another class that he found influential was Social Justice by the Numbers, which changed the way he thought about data and has led him to view problems with a “more holistic approach using multiple perspectives.”
Nico is passionate about the sports in which he participates, both within and outside of the BHS community. Within BHS, he is one of the captains of the wrestling team. Outside of school, he has a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and also helps to teach kids’ Jiu-Jitsu classes. In keeping with Nico’s wide range of interests, when asked to reflect on his time at BHS, he answered that he was most proud of “finding [his] own path” and “acting passionately rather than conforming.”
To other BHS students, Nico’s succinct advice is to “make the most of your time at BHS because it will end earlier than you think.”
By Claire Svetkey
Marauder of the Week: Friday, December 5th, 2019
A well rounded student, Matt O’Connell-Vale is one of this week’s Marauders of the Week.
In school, Matt enjoys all of his classes, and has a passion for learning in general. However, science and math are especially interesting to him because of “their everyday applications to the world we live in.” Matt also enjoyed his acting class last year, and feels as though it has made a big impact on him. He’s proud of his academic record, having been on the high honor roll for all of his years at BHS, and receiving awards at school. As for his teachers, Matt feels as though all of them have helped him develop, instilling “something in me that I have taken with me through my time as a student.”
Outside of school, Matt has a variety of other interests, participating in several of the clubs at BHS. He is also a member of the Arlington-Belmont crew team and a board member of the Belmont Human Rights Commission, whose meetings he enjoys immensely. In addition, Matt says he can pogo stick with no hands - an unusual ability, for sure.
As words of advice to future Marauders, Matt says: “If you put the work in, there is nothing you can’t do. Also, just be yourself, that is how you will get the farthest in life.”
by Alice Liu
As a student who is successful in academics and extracurriculars, and passionate about helping the community, Emma Sutherland is undoubtedly a great candidate for the Marauder of the Week.
Emma's interests in school are social studies and math, where she explains that social studies allows her to learn about how "different countries interact and human rights issues across the world," and that math is an essential "tool used in so many aspects of life." Emma's favorite class is Global Leadership taught by Dr. Shea, where she explores and discusses current events and complex issues in the world. Furthermore, Emma states the "class had changed how I viewed the world and made me a more conscious global citizen" and "confirmed my interest in majoring in International Relations."
Outside of school, Emma takes part in Cross County (where she received the Sportsmanship Award last year), Outdoor Track and Field, PAC, Model UN, National Honors Society, and PALS. She also coaches middle school basketball for community service and works at Mad Science on the weekends. However, Emma's passions lie in helping others and making a difference in the community, and making social change. From this, it is no surprise that Emma is most proud of the community service projects the PALS club has accomplished, where she is the club's president. Emma says that in the club, "high school students and special needs students work together to do community service projects." The club has done numerous projects—collecting Halloween candy to send to the troops overseas, buying holiday presents for underprivileged kids, planting flowers to give to a nursing home, making fleece blankets for an animal shelter, and making Valentine’s Day cards for kids in the hospital—all of which makes her "so proud to be part of a club that makes such a difference in our community."
As for words of wisdom to Belmont High students, Emma encourages everyone to "do what you're passionate about and step out of your comfort zone," reminding us all that life is about doing the things you love and taking risks.
by Tiffany Hu
Marauder of the Week: Friday, November 22nd, 2019
Paul Muser is this week’s Marauder of the Week! A talented and personable senior, Paul is fluent in both English and French, and credits his Spanish teacher Ms. Talamas as someone who has impacted his worldview through her support in his learning of the language. Learning and then practicing increasingly more complex methods of writing and speaking Spanish, Paul says, allowed him to express his thoughts and feelings profoundly in a “whole new way”. Paul’s interests extend far beyond his aptitude for languages, as he is also extremely passionate about the research component in his English capstone project on the morality of gene editing, and he is thrilled at the prospect of sharing his work at the end of the year. In his free time, Paul has been hard at work developing a podcasting project called The Humble Podcasting Network, which he says has given him an outlet to express his thoughts and explore his passion for topics he may not often get the chance to dive into in school. He is also proud that his podcast is a platform for others to do the same, and his advice to underclassmen ties into his reasoning for founding it: follow your passion. There is a lot of pressure coming at you from all sides from as early as freshman year and it is often difficult and disorienting to navigate as an underclassman, but, Paul explains, stepping out of your initial comfort zone can lead to countless opportunities you otherwise would have never considered, and an easy way to start is to explore new activities “that you find fun and focus on those”. Check him out at humblepodcasts.org and congratulations to Paul on his nomination!
by Elisabeth Pitts
Senior Catherine Graves is a girl whose cultivated mind and exceeding intellect are made evident after one greeting. She is especially interested in the humanities area of study. This includes social sciences like AP Psychology. In fact, she hopes to have a career in this field in the future so she can have a “positive impact on the world around [her].” One class that she looks back upon with great endearment is Ms. Mastalong’s AP European History. Ms. Mastalong’s skillful knowledge and utmost attention to her students’ well-being set her apart from other teachers, in Graves’s perspective. Among other things, Graves is part of the Belmontian Club. In fact, she is the special events coordinator, with Mrs. Melnikoff. This is her fourth year being part of the club and she loves being part of a group that does so much for our community. Last year, along with a subcommittee of the Belmontian, they were able to raise over $15,000 for the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer fundraiser. They received a plaque for placing first in the High School Challenge and gave a speech the day of the breast cancer walk. Graves also volunteers a lot outside of school. This includes helping out at the St. Stephens after school program, which is a non-profit that provides care and support to elementary students from the surrounding South Boston schools. She has been a part of this organization for four years and has seen some of the kids thrive and flourish under her care throughout those years. As if that’s not enough on her plate, she has also been part of the track team for three years and loves being in the team environment. Graves is especially passionate about her friends. She feels extremely fortunate for having such amazing, supportive people in her life whom she couldn’t imagine her life without. She also loves to explore new cultures and travel around to do so. Lastly, she has strong beliefs on protecting the environment. When asked what advice she would give to the underclassmen, she said something immensely true and sensible: she urged students to not take these four years for granted, as they go by so fast. We must make each day the best it can be. After all, what’s the point in doing otherwise?
by Ani Belorian
Marauder of the Week: Friday, November 15th, 2019
A kind and creative member of the Belmont High School community, Aditi Khare is definitely deserving of the title of Marauder of the Week.
In school, Aditi enjoys classes that are rooted in critical thinking and creativity, but likes biology the most. She enjoys many of her classes this year, including Anatomy and Physiology, Calculus, French, and 3D Art. The teacher who she believes influences her the most is her current Calculus teacher, Mr. Moresco. Aditi feels as though he makes math “engaging and fun with his enthusiasm and humor,” making her Calculus class neither boring nor difficult.
Outside of school, Aditi participates in a variety of clubs – UNICEF, Art, and Cultural Appreciation – and is currently one of the leaders of the Cultural Appreciation Club. She’s especially proud of her involvement in UNICEF, and feels as though she has made an impact on the world through the club’s teach team. As a member for two years, Aditi has taught kids about important issues in the world and how organizations like UNICEF can help people in need. She also feels as though the club has a great sense of community, and has helped her talk to new people.
Aditi has a variety of other interests, such as music (she particularly likes the Arctic Monkeys), film, gaming, science, and the French language. Ethical and political debates are also interesting to Aditi, as she feels she can learn about the participants based on how they talk.
As words of advice to current and future Belmont high school students, the ever optimistic Aditi says, “Your success in high school depends on making choices that are right for you… No matter what you do, as long as you are working hard and believe in yourself, you will be successful.”
by Alice Liu
A leader in school, Matthew Fiore embodies a true Marauder. Not only does he excel in school, Fiore also participates in after school activities such as the varsity baseball team and the Future Business Leaders of America club.
Fiore is a committed student whose current interests are in his advanced placement psychology and advanced placement economics classes. He explains that these subjects have exposed him to content he “hasn’t had a chance to explore before,” and that “the teachers help keep the class interesting and relatable” to his life. His favorite class, however, is the Global Leadership class taught by Dr. Shea, who he says helped him understand different influences on the world and his responsibility on global issues. When asked about his favorite aspects of the class, Fiore says, “We got to work on assignments that gave us a chance to learn about how food and clothing industries are more complex than we might think by living in America, as well as about topics like microfinance and entrepreneurship.” It is of no doubt that Fiore’s interests of these subjects stem from his enjoyable and rigorous classes as well as from his teachers. After school, Fiore exercises his skills and passion for business and leadership through one of his clubs, the Future Business Leaders of America. Fiore is one of the co-leaders of this club, and every spring he brings the students to participate in regional conferences. Fiore has received awards for the Business and Cybersecurity exam competitions. His passion for his classes and even his club shows just how dedicated he is towards his studies and extracurriculars.
During his years so far, Fiore has determined that the spring trip to Rome in 2019 was his favorite experience as a student at BHS. Along with Mr. Dunn, Mr. Loosmann, Ms. McCarthy, and the other students, Fiore experienced a different culture and learned more about both the historical and modern aspects of Rome. Although not all students will get to travel to Rome with their teachers and classmates, Fiore advises others to “take advantage of one of these trips if possible” and says that he is extremely grateful to have obtained this opportunity.
By Katherine Bai
Marauder of the Week: Friday, November 1st, 2019
As the leader of the BHS Dance Club, an active volunteer, and someone who's always open to meeting new people and making friends, Kripa Paudel is unquestionably a deserving candidate for the Marauder of the Week.
In school, Kripa is interested in math and biology, for she believes that math is essential in one's life since it's "connected to so many things," and she loves to solve problems and give herself a challenge. As for biology, she enjoys how it allows her to learn new concepts and offers fascinating insight into herself and the environment around her. Of the classes she has taken at BHS, Kripa says that AP Economics with Mr. Striet was the class that has been the most influential to her. Kripa explains that the content of the class was very captivating, and it opened a new perspective for her into the world of economics. She loves the class so much that she's thinking about either double majoring or minoring in the subject.
Aside from academics, Kripa is part of the BHS Dance Club, where they do "different types of modern dances such as hip-hop along with step." Last year, they even won first place at Belmont Idol! Additionally, Kripa is passionate about helping others in the community. She says that through her experiences doing community service, she has been able to "realize the positive influence I can have in my environment and the world," inspiring her to continue helping throughout the community. From this, it is no surprise that Kripa is most proud of her volunteering at Nepali Class Boston (it's a Nepalese language school that teaches children and young adults the language and the culture of Nepal), where she helps new generations of Nepalese Americans "learn about their background and become more connected to their heritage and culture." Furthermore, the program has taught Kripa more about the value of collaboration and teamwork.
Finally, Kripa's words of wisdom are for the underclassmen to "enjoy their time in high school and live life to the fullest, because tomorrow isn't promised," recalling how her own four years in high school went by in a blink of an eye.
By: Tiffany Hu
There is no doubt why senior Jenna Crowley was chosen for the Marauder of the Week. Not only is she successful in academics and extracurricular activities, Crowley is a dedicated member of the community. In school, Crowley is a student involved in rigorous classes. Outside of school, she participates in various sports and community services.
Crowley’s favorite subject in school is zoology, where she says her teacher Ms. Williams makes the world around her much more intriguing. However, Crowley says that teacher Ms. McDevitt has been the most influential to her because she is the one Crowley relates to the most. Crowley says that “she is the kind of teacher that makes you look forward to class and was always positive.” Through her junior year, Ms. McDevitt always pushed Crowley to reach her potential and helped her when she was struggling.
After school, Crowley is a passionate athlete. She plays for the varsity volleyball, hockey, and softball team and is the assistant captain of the hockey team this year. Sports challenge her mental and physical strength, but they also are enjoyable opportunities for her to meet new people and cooperate in a team.
As the Co-President of the Student Leadership Team, she helped set up the fundraiser “Serving for Soldiers” at her own volleyball game to raise money for the New England Center and Homes for Veterans. She says that giving back to the community is extremely important to her which is why she is part of such fundraisers. Crowley also sang the national anthem that night for the fundraiser, and she says that she has much love for music—specifically playing piano and singing. She is indeed a versatile student, with passions in many areas.
Crowley says that in school she hopes students are kind to each other and take part in different activities, especially those that contribute to the community.
Congratulations on your nomination Jenna!
by Katherine Bai