Marauder of the Week

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, June 4, 2021

Matty Rowan

Matty Rowan

Matty Rowan is a great candidate for Marauder of the Week. His favorite subjects are history, which teaches him about the US and current global issues, as well as English, because he loves reading and participating in class discussions. Matty added that English also offers ways for him to “look at something small within the reading excerpts” that “shows a contrasting perspective” and “makes for a good argument.” At BHS, the history teachers have been the most influential for him, because “they are always there to help,” and “take pride [in] and care [for] their students.” In addition, he says, “just the kids outside in the halls” always “make class enjoyable and comfortable” for him.

After school, Matty is involved in sports: hockey, which he captained this year and will continue to captain next year, and baseball. One of his favorite high school experiences has been winning a hockey championship; he believes that the achievement made the community proud. 

Matty’s words of wisdom for other BHS students are to “have fun” and “enjoy high school when it’s still here,” since it “flies by quicker than you would expect.”

By Rachel Li

Marauder of the Week: Friday, May 28, 2021

Kayla Kiely

Kayla Kiely

Junior Kayla Kiely, a devoted athlete, is a deserving candidate for Marauder of the Week. Her favorite school subjects are science and history, as both involve “identifying problems and trying to find solutions.” She says that most of her teachers have “had a positive impact” on her, especially teachers who taught subjects that she “previously thought [she] didn’t like” but came to enjoy through their teaching. She also specifically complimented Ms. Fraser, her Spanish teacher: although Spanish may not have “been the easiest class” for Kayla, there was “never a dull moment,” and Kayla “always felt comfortable in [Ms. Fraser’s] classroom.”

When asked about her extracurriculars, Kayla enthusiastically mentioned rugby. (Questions about after school activities, sources of pride at BHS and in the community, and passions were all answered with, “Rugby,” so clearly it is well worth highlighting!) Additionally, she loves spending time with friends and family.

Kayla’s words of wisdom are very on-brand: “Join Rugby,” because “it will provide you with an amazing, unbeatable community,” and “you will not regret it.”

By Claire Svetkey

(Note: in the picture, Kayla is the one on the bottom.)

Marauder of the Week: Friday, May 21, 2021

Jennifer Yu

Jennifer Yu

Culturally aware and extraordinarily bright senior Jennifer Yu exemplifies the best of Belmont High School. Jennifer most enjoys her science and math classes; her teachers in those classes – in particular Ms. Saxena, Mr. Loosmann, Ms. Chen, Mrs. DeFarias, Mr. Lefebvre, Mrs. Lovett, Ms. Phillips, and Ms. Harper – impacted her understanding of STEM in the real world, which inspired her to major in engineering in college. Jennifer was also influenced by her French teacher, Mme El-Gamel, who taught her that putting mental and physical health first can be exceedingly important. Mme El-Gamel, Jennifer says, saw the value in “[taking] care of yourself and others,” both in normal life and during the stressful circumstances of the pandemic.

After school, Jennifer is involved in numerous activities. She is the captain of the cheerleading team this year, and has participated in cheer since the winter season of her sophomore year. Last school year, the team went to the Middlesex League Championships and qualified for states. Although they weren’t able to attend states due to the pandemic, Jennifer was proud of their hard work throughout the season. She has also been a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society for the past two years. Outside of school, she is part of the Chinese Folk Art Workshop, a Chinese/Taiwanese performing group; she performs locally alongside some of her closest friends. Additionally, she volunteers for the Language Immersion Network, a program that connects underprivileged children in China to American students to teach the children English. Jennifer believes that it’s important to “give access to education to as many people” as possible, and to “be a supporting figure and role model to these children who are developing and learning.” Having worked with kindergarteners in BASEC as a sophomore, she feels confident teaching young students. Finally, after studying for seven years at the Lexington Chinese school, Jennifer volunteers there as a teacher’s assistant. Thanks to these activities, she has earned the President’s Volunteer Service Award three times! In her spare time, Jennifer has a passion for making and editing videos. When the pandemic started, she found it especially valuable to look back at significant experiences and to create something beautiful. Through the process of editing videos, she learned more about special effects and how to advance her skills.

Jennifer’s words of wisdom are that while high school may seem short, a great deal can be accomplished in four years. Take advantage of every opportunity, because perspectives and interests can always change.

By Ani Belorian

Marauder of the Week: Friday, May 14, 2021

Henry Zuccarello

Henry Zuccarello

“Musically gifted” is an understatement when it comes to describing senior Henry Zuccarello. Henry plays trombone in Wind Ensemble, Chamber Winds, and pit orchestra, is a leader of the BHS Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Collective, is a trombone section leader in the BHS marching band, and participates in the Percussion Ensemble. Additionally, he takes part in an independent study of music theory with a group of other students. If that isn’t enough, Henry takes music classes in the Jazz Department of the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, where he will earn a Level IV Jazz Certificate this year. He also recently received two Student Music Awards from DownBeat Magazine, a prestigious jazz magazine. These awards recognized his achievements in large-ensemble jazz composition and jazz arrangement on the high school level. Oftentimes, composition does not get as much artistic attention as performance, so Henry is grateful to have received public acknowledgment for something about which he is extremely passionate. He hopes that this achievement will encourage younger students nervous about pursuing music composition to follow their dreams. In the fall, he will study music composition at the Oberlin Conservatory. Henry describes his passion for musical creation best: “I think that music is the form of expression that is the truest to myself as a person and it is through this medium that I find myself best able to communicate my emotions and personality.” He sees participation in musical groups as a powerful tool to “foster group connection and friendship,” and believes that composing creates lifelong bonds and provides a personally rewarding experience.

Academically, Henry’s favorite subject is Latin: the class allows him to study a language and culture from which much of modern society is derived. The Latin teachers he has had – Mr. Dunn, Mr. Jaffe, and Mr. Bracey – have each impacted him immensely; he is “undyingly grateful” to have had the opportunity to be taught by them. In his free time, Henry enjoys playing games like Chess, Geoguesst, and Settlers of Catan. He also likes listening to music, especially by artists in the style in which he composes, like Thad Jones, Jacob Collier, and John Williams.

As he nears his graduation, Henry has wise words to share with other students: “It may be tempting throughout high school to cluster with your friends around what you find familiar, but if you feel like you need some air, do yourself a favor and step outside your comfort zone, try new things, and be avant-garde." We wish him the best of luck at Oberlin and can’t wait to see everything he achieves!

Marauder of the Week: Friday, May 7, 2021

Abbie Morin

Abbie Morin

Abbie Morin, an athlete passionate about the sciences, is this week’s Marauder of the Week. Her favorite classes are any related to science; she particularly loves “biochemistry and molecular biology,” because she enjoys “the process of gene editing” and stem cell research. However, the teacher she cites as her most influential at BHS is Ms. Shea, her sophomore year history teacher. Abbie found Ms. Shea’s “knowledge and genuine care for her students” inspiring, and calls Ms. Shea a “caring and hardworking individual” whom Abbie can “always count on.”

Outside of the classroom, Abbie is heavily involved in sports: she has played sports since she was young, and played basketball and soccer “for all four years of high school.” She recalls watching her brothers play when they were in high school, as well as watching girls’ basketball, and “want[ing] to be on that court”; to achieve that dream, she “worked really hard” to be able to join the “amazing program.” Now, she looks back on her experience with pride, saying that “some of the greatest memories” from her time at BHS were made with the basketball team; many of the people on the team started playing together in the third grade, and Abbie says that it “always [made her] so happy when [they] got to play together” in high school. In addition, she has “made so many new friends” through sports, and gained a “great work ethic.” Although Abbie has had an excellent experience with sports at BHS, her interest in science takes precedence, and she plans to pursue a science-related major in college.

Abbie’s advice for other BHS students is concise and helpful to remember: “Just focus on the good parts of high school and work hard.”

By: Claire Svetkey

Marauder of the Week: Friday, April 30, 2021

Igor Brandao

Igor Brandao

This week’s Marauder of the Week is senior Igor Brandao, a polyglot with an interest in world issues and multicultural understanding. His favorite classes are Global Leadership with Dr. Shea and AP Environmental Science with Ms. Saxena, as both “look at how issues affect communities.” In Global Leadership, they discuss specific, relatively small-scale problems – for example, the quality of healthcare in Haiti – and then they “analyze and understand what we can do to fix these issues.” In APES, they talk about “ecological concepts like pollution or renewable energy,” and how these concepts apply to real life. Another class that Igor found “memorable” was his freshman year World History class with Mrs. Dashoff; in fact, it was one his inspirations for deciding to spend his junior year “with a German host family on an exchange.” His year in Germany allowed him to “make many new friends from dozens of different countries,” and to compare American and German families culturally. He came to the realization that “truly understanding what someone wants to say is the greatest skill of all,” because it enables agreement; Igor believes that people are “almost universally agreeable” as long as they genuinely consider and care about each other’s opinions.

After school, Igor is a part of the BHS Entrepreneurship club and the boys’ swim team. Additionally, he works at his dad’s cleaning company, a “really small business”; when they were on construction sites, Igor had a “mostly unofficial” role as a manager and translator, since “most of the other employees aren’t fluent English speakers.” Unsurprisingly, Igor is passionate about language learning, and he speaks many languages: he is a native English speaker; he grew up also speaking Portuguese; he took Mandarin for five years; he picked up German during his exchange year in Germany; and, because “Portuguese and Spanish are similar enough to be mutually intelligible,” he learned Spanish from a Colombian classmate in Germany before he had learned to speak German.

Igor’s advice for other BHS students is a quote from Plato: “The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself.” From this, Igor concludes that “you can’t help other people if you don’t know how to help yourself.”

By: Claire Svetkey

Marauder of the Week: Friday, April 16, 2021

Mary-Clare Booth

Mary-Clare Booth

As a student passionate about helping others and successful in academics and extracurriculars, Mary-Clare Booth is undoubtedly a well-deserving candidate for the Marauder of the Week.

In school, Mary-Clare is most interested in psychology, explaining "the study of why we do certain things or act certain ways is incredibly interesting" and that the brain has always been a fascinating subject to her. From this, it's no surprise that Mary-Clare is planning on studying it in university! When asked about which teacher has been the most influential to her, she answers with Mr. Zilcoski, her junior year AP Economics teacher and current US Pop Culture teacher. She says that they actually met beforehand "when the Rugby team went to Spain because [they] were sitting next to each other on the plane. [They] both watched Spiderman: Into the Spider Verse and timed it so that [they] started the movie at the exact same time; it was really fun". 

Aside from academics, Mary-Clare is part of the Performing Arts Company, where she was one of the dance captains in the musical last year. Though the musical last year was cut short due to Covid a week before the performance, Mary-Clare expresses that she still had a great time and that it was definitely one of the highlights of her high school career. She adds that she "love[ed] dancing with [her] friends and having fun, while still getting work done and putting together a great show". Additionally, Mary-Clare is a member of the girls' rugby team, stating that she is "very proud to have played rugby with the girls' team and what the girls' team has done for Massachusetts rugby" as "it is such a great sport with such a community emphasis". When asked about her passions, Mary-Clare replies she’s “passionate about social justice and helping people, as she is very aware of the amount of privilege she has; she wants to use what she has to uplift others and help where she can. She says that she would "love to work in the future on helping people push through their hard times to a brighter future, whether it be in politics or doing something else".

As of words of wisdom for Belmont High students, Mary-Clare encourages everyone "to not stress too much, to focus on school, but also have fun and make the most out of high school—it goes by faster than you think!" 

By: Tiffany Hu

Brett Stievater

Brett Stievater

Hard-working senior Brett Stievater excels in every aspect of his life. Throughout his years at BHS, Brett has found the study of Economics to be most interesting. He feels that because the class relates so closely to our daily lives, the concepts taught feel applicable to the world outside of the classroom. This class has also allowed Brett to create unlikely connections and think critically about previously unfamiliar topics. Brett’s Economics teacher, Mr. Streit, has been influential to Brett for his ability to push his students to achieve their full potential by providing different perspectives when looking at a problem. Brett’s fondest memory of him was when Mr. Streit was coaching one of Brett’s freshman basketball games, and told Brett in a pep talk, “You’re going to get the winning shot.” In this way, Brett says that Mr. Streit “inspires both inside the classroom and out.” While Economics holds a special place in his heart, Brett has a passion for the study of the Spanish language as well, and has come across many instances in his life where he has been able to connect with people through the language.

When the school day is over, Brett partakes in many different activities. He has played for the BHS boys’ tennis team since his freshman year, and went to the MIAA tournament his sophomore year. This year, he will be leading the team as its captain. Additionally, Brett started the “We Belong” campaign to bring back the tennis courts to the new BHS campus, and has spoken as a representative of his cause to the town administration. The campaign also hopes to create a fifth tennis court at the Winn Brook Elementary School and achieve equality across all BHS varsity sports. Despite the scale of this campaign, Brett still finds time for his other passions: cooking, as his job at Il Casale in Belmont Center sparked a passion for food; creating music – he plays piano – as well as listening to it; and working out, which offers him an escape when he needs to clear his head.

As he plans his departure for the University of Richmond, which he will be attending in the fall, Brett urges students to not be afraid to fail. Every opportunity is precious, so get out of your comfort zone and take advantage of each one!

By Ani Belorian

Marauder of the Week: Friday, April 9, 2021

Ally Kolb

Ally Kolb

Ally Kolb, a senior with a variety of passions, is a great choice for Marauder of the Week. Her favorite class is Global Leadership, which allows her to “get out of the Belmont bubble” and “critically consider sustainable solutions” to global problems; she also mentions that Dr. Shea, who teaches the class, is “dynamic” and “makes the class so fun.” Nonetheless, her favorite teacher is Ms. White, because of their “riveting” discussions about the royal family and Ms. White’s “encouragement of [Ally’s] slam poetry career.”

After school, Ally is a BHS Performing Arts Company officer – she describes the PAC as a “great community” through which she has met “some of [her] closest friends” – as well as the co-president of the Menstrual Justice club, one of the editors-in-chief of the yearbook, and a student advisor to the school committee. Outside of BHS, Ally enjoys her job at Rancatore’s, both for “the access to large amounts of ice cream” and because her coworkers are “truly the best.” Additionally, she is a proud member of the Youth Group at the Unitarian Universalist church in Belmont. As a member of the UU church, she traveled with the Belmont Religious Council to Laredo, Texas early last year – she found it “extremely impactful” to speak with people who had experienced the border crisis firsthand, and to serve as “a sort of translator” because she speaks Spanish fluently. The trip made her “reflect on [her] role as a daughter of immigrants” and think about how to “impart change back home”; also, its interfaith aspect allowed her to “learn from [her] peers about their different beliefs.” In keeping with her interest in myriad cultures and viewpoints, Ally plans to “go into international politics”; she says that “[g]rowing up Peruvian and Dutch” has made her “very aware” of global issues and “inspired” to work to resolve them. She has already gotten involved in local politics, having worked with Ed Markey’s campaign over the summer.

One of the best parts of high school, for Ally, is “making new friends” and “meeting people through classes,” so she wants everyone to know that she has “a lot of love for the class of 2021.” In lieu of words of wisdom, she would like to impart upon other BHS students a quote from her “favorite artist,” Mr. Worldwide: “This is for everybody going through tough times. Believe me, been there, done that. But every day above ground is a great day, remember that. Dale.”

By Claire Svetkey

Marauder of the Week: Friday, April 2, 2021

Tamheeda Khan

Tamheeda Khan

Tamheeda Khan, this week’s Marauder of the Week, is an involved community member and a strong advocate for women’s rights. The school subjects that she enjoys most are English and Psychology, because “the act of breaking down other people’s decisions,” whether those people are real or fictional, enables “introspection” and recognition of the “flawed and admirable” pieces of one’s own character. That recognition, Tamheeda believes, is the first step towards “change and self-improvement.” Rather than calling one teacher her most influential, she named several: Mr. Moresco, for his “optimism and insight”; Ms. Carlivati, for her “humor”; Ms. Vultaggio, for her “kindness”; Mrs. Lovett and Ms. White, for their “candid nature[s]”; and Ms. Pulido, for her “practicality.” Tamheeda also made clear that these are only “a few” of the teachers she admires.

Tamheeda’s extracurriculars reflect her interest in helping disadvantaged communities and empowering women. She is a “loyal member” of the BHS Working to Help the Homeless club, and has done community service both through that club and through organizations outside of BHS, including Community Servings, a nonprofit that provides medically tailored meals to people living with critical and chronic illnesses. Additionally, she participates in the Girlhood Project, a program at Lesley University that brings together students of different ages to “discuss issues [relating to] gender inequality.” Her passion for women’s rights applies not only on a local level, but also on a global one: she cares deeply about “the right of young girls in underdeveloped countries to access and pursue an education.” In Tamheeda’s words, “Education means knowledge and knowledge means the ability to make personal decisions. No one should be denied such an opportunity and forced into a position where their identity, their values, and their choices are dictated by someone else.”

Tamheeda’s words of wisdom are an excellent reminder for other students: “Run your own race and don’t waste your time focusing on the fact that someone else might be closer to the finish line.”

By Claire Svetkey

Alyssa Luc

Alyssa Luc

Senior Alyssa Luc is a wonderful candidate for Marauder of the Week. She has two favorite subjects: history, because she finds it “interesting to see how it repeats” and is “controversial”; and English, which allows her to express herself “as a teen living in 2021.”

The BHS teacher most influential to Alyssa is her guidance counselor, Ms. King, who has “always pushed [Alyssa] to want better for [her]self,” and “makes it known” that she cares about students’ mental health. Alyssa mentions that she has struggled with family issues throughout her four years of high school, and feels comfortable sharing her stories with Ms. King.

Passionate about art and self-expression, Alyssa takes part in writing, sculpting, drawing, and photography. She believes that there are many benefits to making art, which include being able to “start conversations” and helping others “see the world through her eyes.” Alyssa is most proud of being a Black queen in Belmont and challenging the stereotypes held by people around her. She says that she was “literally your average bad girl and troublemaker” in the past, but now she has “changed her ways” and “has not gotten a C since sophomore year.”

Alyssa advises other BHS students to “enjoy life to the fullest” because “you will not get that time back.” She believes that it’s crucial to remember that “this is high school and certain things will not be as important once you get older.” Therefore, “Don’t stress!”

By Rachel Li

Marauder of the Week: Friday, March 19, 2021

Graham Backman

Graham Backman

Graham Backman, a funny, intelligent senior with a range of interests, is this week’s Marauder of the Week. His favorite school subject is history, because, in his words, “We can’t move forward as people unless we know what we’ve done before.” The teacher he calls his most influential at BHS is Mr. Dunn, his former Latin teacher, who showed Graham that it’s possible to “use your brains while still having a wild side.”

Outside of school, Graham is a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society and the BHS Ultimate Frisbee team. He also plays trombone in the marching band; he picked up the instrument partially because oboe, which he plays in Wind Ensemble, is not a marching instrument. Some of Graham’s passions are politics, “cracking [his] back,” and meeting new people, not necessarily in that order. One thing that he would like others to know about him is that on his Tri-M membership certificate, his surname is misspelled as Bachman.

Graham’s words of wisdom are oddly poetic: “Life is a crazy mystical thing. And sometimes you just go out like a buster.”

By Claire Svetkey

Nathan Sheffield

Nathan Sheffield

A leader of the accomplished Belmont High Quizbowl Team and a devout student of math and science, Nathan Sheffield is a model Marauder. The topics in which Nathan takes the most interest are math and physics; he places special emphasis on his passion for algebra. His favorite class at BHS was AP Physics with Mr. Loosmann his sophomore year, because it “was a super fun class, and it got [him] excited about potentially studying physics.”

Nathan takes great pride in having brought the BHS Quizbowl Team to the level of excellence it holds today. His areas of specialty in Quizbowl are science, literature, philosophy, and anything related to the country of Norway.  Other passions of Nathan’s are balloon animals, bad puns, absurdist theatre, and elaborate pranks.

Finally, Nathan’s words of wisdom for other Marauders are, “Find something you love to do, and put in the time to do it well.”

By Nina Jasanoff

Marauder of the Week: Friday, March 5, 2021

Kiwa Shinoda

Kiwa Shinoda

Senior Kiwa Shinoda is an active member of the BHS community, and contributes on many fronts, making her an easy choice for Marauder of the Week. Kiwa’s deep interest in resolving prevalent issues in our world is reflected in her favorite classes: Social Justice by the Numbers and AP Environmental Science. These classes push her closer to her goal of gaining a deeper understanding of the world and its concerns; she is “passionate about learning about the relationship between humans and the environment” in order to “put a stop to climate change,” trying to “gain a deeper understanding of the various systems in our society,” and finding “possible solutions” to the plethora of issues society faces today. Additionally, Ms. Shea, who teaches Social Justice by the Numbers, is a favorite of Kiwa's. Ms. Shea has been “the most supportive and understanding teacher,” treating all of her students with respect and building  “really strong student-teacher relationships.”

Beyond academics, Kiwa has been the section leader of the BHS marching band drumline throughout her junior and senior years, while also being an active member – and now the vice president – of the Asian American Club (AAC). Additionally, she attends meetings of the Menstrual Justice club, the Christian club, and the ASL club.

AAC is Kiwa’s greatest passion by far. The community that the club has built “is so important,” as it allows Asian American students to “have a space where they can feel like they truly belong and feel comfortable sharing and celebrating parts of their identity that they may find difficult to share in other environments.” Kiwa’s interest in inclusion and celebrating diversity shines elsewhere as well. With a capstone centered around racial inequality and equal representation in media, she continues to emphasize the importance of recognizing the flaws in our society and figuring out how to remedy them.

Kiwa leaves a few words of wisdom for the rest of the BHS student body, on the importance of exploring passions: if something is of interest to you, “go and explore it,”  because “whatever experience you gain from it will ultimately help you find what it is you love to do and want to continue to do in the future.”

By Arshia Haque

Rachel November

Rachel November

An exemplary community leader and advocate for social justice, Rachel November is a model Marauder of the Week. Rachel has demonstrated a strong interest in and commitment to social justice and leadership both in and out of school. The subject in which she is most interested is history, as it connects her to current events and impacts everyday life. Her favorite classes are Global Leadership with Dr. Shea and Social Justice by the Numbers with Mr. Moresco and Ms. Shea. These classes not only revolve around current events, but also allow her to develop a stronger understanding of America in the world. She has applied her interest in global leadership to her work with Amnesty International, and has been its president for the past two years. She says that the club “has opened [her] up to current events around the world and has allowed [her] to meet new people with similar interests.” Rachel hopes to continue pursuing her interest in politics and adventure after high school.

In addition to her social justice work, Rachel is the captain of the BHS soccer team and runs indoor and outdoor track. (In coming years, she plans on running track at Haverford College.) She is also very involved in different aspects of Belmont life: she is the BHS student senate president, works at Rancatore’s, and is active in her temple community.

Rachel leaves us with some important words of wisdom: “Although it is cliche, I would advise other students to not get caught up in the cycle of schoolwork, make sure to make time to hang out with family and friends, find things that [they] are passionate about, and eat ice cream!”

By Joyce Gong

Marauder of the Week: Friday, February 12, 2021

Erika Carneiro

Erika Carneiro

Senior Erika Carneiro is an exuberant presence in many facets of the Belmont community. She is interested in Anatomy and Physiology, because she hopes to one day become a nurse. However, a class that was very influential in her high school career was Ms. Pasternak’s Modern World History class, which enabled Erika to learn many new concepts that she still ponders to this day. Erika is heavily involved in sports at BHS. She has been the manager for the girl’s basketball teams since her freshman year, and started playing rugby sophomore year. During her first year of playing rugby, she received a junior varsity sportsmanship award. However, Erika’s responsibilities are not limited to sports: she also works at CVS and prides herself on her long commitment to her position there. In her free time, Erika watches The Bachelor and The Bachelorette religiously. She is passionate about the show and dreams of hosting at least one episode after current host Chris Harrison has retired.

Erika advises other BHS students to take care of their mental health, as it is a vital component of life. If the pressure of school gets to be too much, she encourages taking naps as frequently as necessary.

By Ani Belorian

Marauder of the Week: Friday, February 5, 2021

Camden Johnson

Camden Johnson

Camden Johnson, a kind, motivated senior with a variety of interests, embodies all the qualities of a model Marauder. As he hopes to pursue a career in environmental chemistry, the school subjects that he enjoys most are Chemistry and Environmental Science. In a similar vein, his most influential teacher at BHS was Mr. A, his chemistry teacher, whose “enthusiasm” fostered Camden’s love for the subject.

Camden participates in a wide range of after school activities: he is the Lights Crew chief in the BHS Performing Arts Company; he is in the drumline in marching band and plays drums in the Jazz Ensemble; he is a member of both the National Honor Society and the Tri-M Music Honor Society; and he mentors young musicians through Tri-M. Asked about his passions, Camden gave a list that reflects his myriad extracurriculars as well as a few other interests: lighting design, jazz drums, classical cello, chemistry, environmental science, cooking, and bread and cheese. Love for bread and cheese notwithstanding, he is most proud of the “amazing music and theater communities” at BHS, which “bring such high-quality music and theater to Belmont” and create countless “opportunities for younger students.”

Camden’s words of wisdom provide a valuable perspective on high school life: “Don’t forget to savor every moment you have with your friends,” because time flies, and “by the end” you’ll ask yourself, “Who are you kidding? Do you have any idea how fast you were going?”

By Claire Svetkey

Tilly Hamer

Tilly Hamer

This week’s Marauder of the Week is senior Tilly Hamer, a skilled athlete “passionate about helping people” through volunteer work. Her favorite school subjects are the sciences, because of their “practicality” and application to the real world, and history, which has interested her since she read the Horrible Histories stories in elementary school. The teacher she names as her most influential is Mr. Dunn, who coached her on the cross country team for two years before his retirement; he “was always telling” the team about his “crazy adventures,” and “pushing [them] to work [their] hardest.”

In addition to cross country – she was the co-captain of the varsity team this fall – Tilly is on the varsity indoor track and rugby teams. She has received several awards for her efforts: a Middlesex League All-Star award for cross country; two coach’s awards, one for cross country and one for indoor track; and a sportsmanship award for cross country. Tilly is also the co-president of the BHS Belmontian Club, and a talented musician who was in school orchestras from third through eleventh grades and has played piano since the age of five. Her work on the Belmontian Club’s Hunger Banquet and Hot Pink Committees is her proudest achievement at BHS: the Hunger Banquet Committee revived the hunger banquet event at Diversity Day, which “spread awareness about poverty globally and locally”; and the Hot Pink Committee raised “thousands of dollars” for breast cancer awareness and research.

Tilly’s succinct advice for other BHS students is that they shouldn’t “forget to have fun,” or let the academic stress of high school distract from “mak[ing] good memories too.”

By Claire Svetkey

Marauder of the Week: Friday, January 29, 2021

Laura Jansen

Laura Jansen

Laura Jansen, a senior passionate about playing the violin and learning about the brain, is this week’s Marauder of the Week. Due to her interest in the brain – in particular, its “plasticity” and “ability to adapt to changes” fascinates her – Neurobiology is her favorite subject. However, the teacher she cites as her most influential is the orchestra conductor, Mrs. Reavey, who has been her teacher since third grade; Mrs. Reavey has taught Laura a lot about the violin and music in general, and has “provided many different musical opportunities throughout the years.”

Laura’s extracurricular activities show her dedication to the Belmont community: she is a student advisor to the school committee; a member of the student senate; in the Art and Activism and Model UN clubs; and on the leadership team for the Belmont music mentoring program, which “connects middle and high school musicians in order to provide support” and one-on-one instruction. In fact, she also mentors young violinists through the program. She is most proud of being a music mentor, as it allows her to use her skill on violin to “give back to the music community and help it grow,” despite the virtual nature of lessons during the pandemic.

Laura’s advice to other BHS students is simple but important: “Have fun and enjoy your high school experience with your friends and family!”

By Claire Svetkey

Caerwyn Saar

Caerwyn Saar

Senior Caerwyn Saar, a club leader and dedicated student, is a clear candidate for Marauder of the Week. His favorite school subjects are Latin and English, because of his interest in Roman and Mediterranean history; his sophomore year, he took Latin 1 with Mr. Jaffe, and the class gave him “a love for the language as well as [for] the broader concepts of Roman history, culture and mythology.” His next Latin teacher, Mr. Bracey, has also “done a great job” encouraging and supporting this interest. Caerwyn also enjoys his current English class, as “the freedom to choose” his Senior Capstone topic has allowed him to center it in Roman history, which has let him “run wild” and write essays on subjects about which he is truly “enthusiastic.” Additionally, he appreciates that his Latin and English teachers are “flexible” and “actively willing to engage” with him about schoolwork and life in general.

Outside of school, Caerwyn is proud to lead the BHS Gender-Sexuality Alliance, “a club for LGBTQIA/queer people and their allies” to talk about relevant issues and form a community. “As a transgender man,” he says, “I am really grateful I’ve been able to head this club and have great discussions with people with a broad range of experiences.” Aside from the GSA, he attends the Latin and Menstrual Justice clubs when he has the time. Caerwyn describes himself as “just your average, introverted fellow”: he has “fallen in love with crochet” during quarantine, loves cats – he has two and used to foster more before the pandemic – and has “a budding interest in cooking.”

Caerwyn’s practical wisdom for other BHS students is that “projects and tasks are rarely as intimidating as they seem at the outset”; his advice is to break them into steps, ask for help when necessary, and “do everything bit by bit.”

By Claire Svetkey

Marauder of the Week: Friday, January 22, 2021

Colin Martin

Colin Martin

Senior Colin Martin, a talented and dedicated musician, is an excellent choice for Marauder of the Week. His favorite school subjects are the sciences – Chemistry, Physics, Biology, and “all of the general science from middle school” – because he loves learning about and observing the world. However, his most influential classes at BHS were Team Sports and Outdoor Pursuits, both taught by Ms. Marino, small classes in which students were able to bond, overcome challenges, and “build a huge snowman by the pond!”

Colin says he has found “a great community of people” in the BHS music program, and, unsurprisingly, his extracurricular activities are “almost exclusively music related”: he is a saxophone section leader in the BHS marching band, the vice president of Belmont’s Tri-M Music Honor Society chapter, and he plays in the pit orchestra for the musicals. Additionally, he plays in ensembles at the New England Conservatory, and has been in the Senior Districts and Massachusetts All-State Festivals. He is currently in the process of auditioning for Music Education and Performance programs at colleges; the pandemic has forced him to make recordings rather than auditioning live, but he is “hopeful that live music will resume” soon.

Although Colin is “most passionate” about music, he is “most proud” of his job at Whole Foods. During this pandemic, he has been able to “help people receive the food they need” and has taken many precautions to “ensure everyone’s safety.” At home, Colin loves to “cook and bake new things” for his family.

Colin’s words of wisdom are inspiring and profound, especially to students who attended Chenery Middle School: “I know we’ve had some troubles with the spiral staircase, but all that is behind us now. Look to the future, where we may go up or down any staircase we’d like. There is always hope to be found.”

By Claire Svetkey

Emma McDevitt

Emma McDevitt

Senior Emma McDevitt’s incredible involvement in the Belmont community makes her ideal for the honor of Marauder of the Week. On this note, Social Justice by the Numbers and Economics are her favorite school subjects, because she enjoys learning about things that are applicable to the real world and to her own life. Emma feels that the things she learns in Social Justice by the Numbers, such as examining the interactions between parts of a system and identifying which people hold more power in it, will help her grow as a person and become a more socially educated community member. Ms. Shea, who has taught Emma’s Social Justice by the Numbers and American Studies classes, is the teacher Emma calls her most influential; she describes Ms. Shea as a “forward thinker” who is “always advocating for students’ best interest.”

Emma’s interest in many facets of society is exemplified by her diverse after school activities: she is captain of the BHS girls’ varsity basketball team, she works at a local restaurant called My Other Kitchen, and she mentors English Language Learners in Belmont’s elementary schools. Out of all of her contributions to the community, she is most proud of her work at Rosie’s Place, where she was a social justice intern. She feels that her internship made her more aware of “the issues that homeless women face” and “sparked [her] interest in learning more about different social justice issues such as systemic racism, homelessness and poverty.”

Emma has clearly followed her advice for other BHS students: “Use the opportunities at Belmont Public Schools to your advantage” by “tak[ing] classes that truly interest you” and spending your time here “leaning into and finding your passions.”

By Joyce Gong

Marauder of the Week: Friday, January 15, 2021

Brigid Hannibal

Brigid Hannibal

An exceptional student involved in the community and passionate about many subjects, Brigid Hannibal is undeniably a well-deserving candidate for the Marauder of the Week.

In school, Brigid's favorite subjects include Economics, Neuroscience, and Social Justice by the Numbers. She explains she's interested in Economics "because it applies to a lot of day by day situations and [she likes] that [she] can relate it to [her] life." From this, it's no surprise that this prominent class taught by Mr. Streit has been Brigid's most influential at BHS! Brigid is also drawn to Neuroscience, which she is taking this year, as she believes "the brain is amazingly complicated" and it's astounding to see its inner works. Lastly, Brigid enjoys Social Justice by the Numbers, as the class "talks about current injustices going on in the world, what can be done to help, and shows the math side of all the data collected." 

Aside from academics, Brigid is part of the Field Hockey team at BHS – she received a Coaches’ Award and a Sportsmanship Award over the four years that she's been on the team. Additionally, she volunteers throughout the Belmont Public Schools, stating that she is "most proud of volunteering at the Wellington Elementary school over the years and helping in the aftercare program." When asked about her passions, Brigid replied that she's passionate about helping people, and she "hope[s] to impact this world in a positive way someday." From what Brigid has done so far, there's no doubt that she has already made an impact in the community!

Brigid concludes with words of advice to current and future Belmont High School students: “Just make the most of your years in BHS because they go by really fast, and before you know it you are looking at the future and deciding what college to go to. Don't stress too much, just try to enjoy life while you're still young and strive to be the best version of yourself." Her wise words remind us all to cherish our days in high school and stay true to ourselves.

By: Tiffany Hu

Marauder of the Week: Friday, December 18, 2020

Isaiah Gullage

Isaiah Gullage

An extremely well-rounded individual, senior Isaiah Gullage is without a doubt a deserving candidate for Marauder of the Week. He has won awards during his time at school, including a METCO award for having excellent grades. Science classes, such as Biology with Ms. Lewis and Anatomy and Physiology with Ms. Chen, have influenced him greatly. He intends to pursue a medical career, and thinks that the foundational knowledge that these classes have given him will be helpful both in college and “later on in life.” His interest in science, as well as in helping communities, has led him to aid in the removal of invasive species in Australia and to participate in gardening at the YMCA in Dupree, South Dakota.

Isaiah attributes the development of some of his morals and leadership qualities to his experience at Camp Becket. The camp, he says, has “shaped” him into the “person [he is] today” – the camp’s mottos that are most important to him are “help the other fellow,” “peace through understanding” and “better faithful than famous.” With these words in mind, Isaiah helped uphold a safe and fun camp environment as a counselor in training in the summer of 2019; he received a plaque for his dedication.

At BHS, Isaiah takes part in several extracurriculars and clubs. He excels in athletics – he plays football, hockey and rugby – and enjoys how sports allow him to “escape the real world for a few hours… and relieve stress.” He was also in the Black in Belmont Club during his first two years of high school. Being a person of color, he knows the importance of understanding the systemic oppression POCs face, working to fight racism, and making sure that “everyone’s voices are heard.”

Isaiah advises younger students to take advantage of their time at high school, and not take for granted the opportunities there. He wants to tell them, “Your futures are so bright and I wish you all the best of luck.” He also wants to thank the BHS staff and faculty: “[Y]ou guys have made school a place where I feel safe and have given me the tools and guidance to be successful.” Congratulations to Isaiah on being nominated to be Marauder of the Week!

By Katherine Bai

Knar Krafian

Knar Krafian

This week’s Marauder of the Week is Knar Krafian, a senior passionate about social justice, especially the issues Armenians face. Her favorite classes are Psychology, because she’s interested in “understanding human behavior in general,” and Social Justice By The Numbers, in which “topics that aren’t typically discussed in school” spark important discussions. The teacher she cites as most influential to her is Mr. Streit, whom she had for AP Economics. He “helped [her] come out of [her] shell” by creating a collaborative classroom environment, and always made the material engaging for students.

Knar participates in extracurriculars at and outside of BHS. At BHS, she runs hurdles and does shot put and javelin for the BHS varsity track and field team; she competed at the 2019 New Balance Nationals in the shuttle hurdle relay. Additionally, she is the co-president of the Armenian Club and a member of the Amnesty International Club. Outside of BHS, she is involved in the Waltham Track Club, does Armenian dance, and volunteers with Oknooshoon, a nonprofit that “trains rescue dogs to be therapy dogs for people in Armenia.”

Knar is most proud of her “involvement in the Armenian community” in general, and specifically of educating her classmates about problems impacting Armenians. She has given presentations on Armenian causes “almost every year” since sixth grade; in light of the recent war in Armenia and the ensuing “humanitarian crisis,” she has been using social media to raise awareness and to have “in-depth conversations with classmates.” Being the great-granddaughter of an Armenian Genocide survivor has also made Knar keenly aware of “how people can turn a blind eye to issues that don’t directly impact them.” This has inspired her to spend “a lot of time” learning about social justice issues in America and how to help “make a change.”

Knar’s advice for other BHS students is straightforward: “Don’t be afraid to be curious, ask questions, and make new friends,” as “you never know where one conversation will take you!”

By Claire Svetkey

Marauder of the Week: Friday, December 11, 2020

Katie Kaiser

Katie Kaiser

Katie Kaiser is an exceptional Marauder of the Week who has established her hard work and dedication at BHS over the years. She likes many school subjects: Pre-Calculus and Calculus, since she enjoys using logical thinking to solve complex problems; Biology, because of its uniqueness in comparison to previous science courses, as well its real life applications; and English, as it highlights a variety of literature while also diving into various social and political issues. Katie is an avid reader who develops new ideas regarding important topics every time she finishes a book. Several BHS teachers were impactful to her: Mr. Reynolds, her English teacher for her freshman and junior years; Ms. Lovett, whom she had for Pre-Calculus; and Ms. Saxena, her Biology teacher. Katie says that they all brought passion to their classes and cared for their students’ well-being.

Katie is involved in a number of extracurricular activities such as the Performing Arts Company, cross country, National Honor Society, Tri-M Music Honor Society, the choral program, and many clubs. She has been the historian of Belmont’s Tri-M chapter for the past two years, started the Second Hand Club last year, and is currently a section leader in chorus. Katie also takes dance classes, and has two jobs: working at Comella’s in Belmont Center and working as a ski instructor at Cranmore Mountain in New Hampshire. She has been working at Comella’s for the past two years, and often helps train new employees. This coming winter will be her fifth year as a ski instructor.

Overall, Katie is most proud of being a part of the music program at BHS. Since elementary school, she has immersed herself in the world of music; she has been participating in musical theatre since first grade. Through the PAC, she typically does three shows a year: Broadway Night, the musical, and One Acts. She has been in chorus since her freshman year, and in Chamber Singers since she was a sophomore.

Katie’s words of wisdom for other BHS students are a quote by Albert Einstein: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Katie believes that since life’s challenges can often feel overwhelming, especially in high school, it is necessary to remember that there are things more important than schoolwork, and to enjoy every small moment as much as possible.

By Shivane Pratap

Divya Natarajan

Divya Natarajan

Senior Divya Natarajan is a great candidate for Marauder of the Week. She doesn’t have a favorite school subject, because anything that “pushes [her] to look at something from different perspectives” interests her; similarly, no one teacher was her most influential at BHS, as many have been “positive influences” on her life.

Divya participates in many extracurricular activities: she is a member of the Belmontian Club and the Performing Arts Company, a Student Advisor to the School Committee, played volleyball and rugby, and performed to represent India during Asian American Club’s Asian American Night. In the Belmontian Club, she is a part of the Hot Pink Committee, which raises money for breast cancer awareness and research; they were recognized several times by the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides movement for being a top fundraising high school in the state. Divya was also Secretary of the Belmontian Club her junior year, and, as a senior, is Co-President. Additionally, she was the volleyball co-captain in 2018 and 2019 and won a Coach’s Award, was a co-organizer of the BHS Diversity Day Hunger Banquet, and co-founded the Belmontian Summer Committee to aid hunger insecurity in eastern Massachusetts.

An excellent dancer who has been taking classes since she was three, Divya is most proud of completing her Arangetram, a “debut/graduation” for Bharatanatyam dancers. She trained “for hours every day for more than a year” to complete a four hour solo performance last August. The moment was not only a “milestone,” but also a way to prove to herself that “if you care about something enough, no matter what other people say, you should always pursue it.” Divya is passionate about making sure that everyone feels respected, “especially for their differences”; the journey to achieving her Arangetram taught her the importance of sharing our differences, because building “understanding and mutual respect” requires a willingness to teach and to learn.  She wants to create a space where “what is beautiful and deserves recognition” is not limited to the familiar. She believes that we all deserve the opportunity to be our best selves without fear of rejection, and that “[t]he best versions of ourselves are the most genuine versions.”

Divya has two pieces of advice for other BHS students. First, “Ups and downs are inevitable,” but if you trust yourself and your own capabilities, “you will end up in the right place.” Worrying about the future shouldn’t distract from “everything the present has to offer.” Second, “Don’t be afraid to say hello to people”; while it’s simple, it “goes a long way.”

By Claire Svetkey

Marauder of the Week: Friday, December 4, 2020

Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch

As a proud and involved member of the community, Chris Lynch is unquestionably a deserving candidate for the Marauder of the Week.

In school, Chris is most interested in math, for “numbers all just make sense in [his] head,” so it’s no surprise that Chris has enjoyed all his math classes throughout the years, especially his calculus class this year. When asked which class has been the most influential to him, Chris responded with Mr. Streit’s AP Economics class. Chris explained that the class was extremely “applicable to the real world and [he] actually started seeing parts of [his] daily life, such as going to the store and even doing homework differently.” Another reason Chris loved the class is that Mr. Streit created “a class environment that was very productive and fun at the same time, engaging the whole class and setting us up for success.”

Outside of school, Chris is a student leader at his church, Grace Chapel, where he has made lifelong friends and learned a lot from people. Chris states that his faith plays a huge role in who he is today, and well as the type of student he is. He believes most people view Christians or other religious people as the goody-two-shoes. However, Chris wants people to “recognize [him] as a Christian by the way [he] treat others, how [he] treat adults, or those less fortunate than [he is]” – he wants people to know he’s a Christian by his morals and how he lives life, rather than by the rules he follows. In addition to his involvement in his church, Chris is part of the BHS rugby team. In fact, Chris is most proud of the success and the connection of the team. Last season (which was two years ago, due to Covid), the rugby team won the Division 1 state championship; Chris sees this as one of the most incredible experiences he has had at BHS. As for the community, Chris is proud that the team members “aren’t just recognized [for their] success,” but for being “a close-knit community that has created a culture of character, work ethic, and brotherhood.” He says that his coach, Coach Bruce, has taught the team about integrity, and that, to him, rugby is much more than just a game. 

Chris is passionate about his work as an intern at the Philadelphia Project, in which students from all over the country help meet the needs of Philadelphia. From his internship, he realized that “serving and working towards something with others, for something bigger than yourself” changed his perspective on what mattered in life and made him realize his gratitude for the opportunities he’s had. Additionally, the experience made him decide to go into law enforcement. 

Chris’s words of wisdom for other BHS students are, “[T]here’s so much more to life than getting good grades, being popular, rich, and perfect; it’s about being real, humble, expressing yourself, and touching the lives of the people around you.”

By Tiffany Hu

Caleb Christenson

Caleb Christenson

Get to know this week’s Marauder of the Week, Caleb Christenson! Whether it’s through athletics, music or academics, Caleb represents the best of students at BHS.

While being a part of the basketball and rugby team here at BHS, Caleb has had the opportunity to represent the school at a high level in athletics. In 2019, he was a part of the rugby team that won the state championships, and was also a member of the basketball team that went far in the playoffs. Additionally, Caleb is involved in music both in and out of school. He is a member of Belmont’s Tri-M Music Honor Society chapter, as well as singing in the BHS Senior A Cappella group and Madrigals. During his time at BHS, Caleb has developed a deep interest in history, as it enables him to gain insight into the forces that influence modern life. Caleb cites Economics with Mr. Goldfine as the most influential class for him. After learning more about economics, Caleb discovered how influential it is to many aspects of our daily lives.

Caleb leaves us with some timely advice: “Don’t get too caught up [with] schoolwork” and “just try to have fun with whatever comes your way.”

By Milena Zlatkovic

Marauder of the Week: Friday, November 20, 2020

Cooper Valentine

Marauders of the Week are known for their accomplishment in studies as well as in the community, and Cooper Valentine is no exception. He is a well rounded student and citizen of Belmont who not only has high aspirations, but also knows how to enjoy the moment.

Out of all the contributions that Cooper has made to his community, he is the most proud of being a BHS Madrigal Singer. He says that his favorite part about Madrigals is that it is extremely fun. Cooper is not an amateur at singing: he is well versed, as he participates in every singing group at Belmont High School and has even performed in the MMEA Senior District choir for the past two years! Cooper believes that his confidence in singing first blossomed in Mr. Landers’ Men’s Chorale class. He also feels that the confidence he gained during that class has extended into his personal life as well as his studies.

Cooper has many other interests, in addition to singing. His favorite school subject is science, as he finds it incredible how directly he can “see what we learn influence the world around [him].” More broadly, he enjoys the act of learning, in and of itself; he says that the longer he has been a student at Belmont High, the more he has realized that joy comes from inside the classroom. Cooper’s main goals in life are to always be open to experiencing new activities and to strive for happiness.

Although Cooper is a dedicated student, he likes lighthearted activities as well. For example, he wants the school to know that he is a whiz at Magic: The Gathering. Cooper’s words of wisdom for other BHS students probably should not be taken too seriously: “If you’re a mod late to a triple it feels just like a double.”

By Joyce Gong

Clark Zhang

Clark Zhang is a motivated, intelligent senior interested in a variety of subjects. Some of his favorite classes are AP Computer Science, which he took last year as a junior, and BC Calculus, which he takes this year. He likes the aspects of Computer Science that allow him to combine pure logical reasoning with creativity, in contrast to other STEM subjects, which often rely heavily on memorization and procedures. In Computer Science, he can create anything he imagines, as long as it can be broken up into logical functions. His other favorite subject, Calculus, is especially compelling to him because it allows him to solve real-world problems.

In addition to STEM, Clark has a passion for language learning. He studies Chinese because of his family heritage, and has been learning Japanese on the side. In school, he takes Latin. He is fascinated by language acquisition and how we learn language through “comprehensible input,” a teaching style used by his Latin teacher, Mr. Bracey.

Clark’s most influential teacher in his time at BHS was Ms. Bloom, his junior year English teacher. Her support and dedication was evident not only in the classroom, but also during remote learning this past spring; she was a reassuring presence for all of her students, and she made sure that they were not letting the stress of living in these unprecedented times consume their lives.

Outside of school, Clark plays table tennis at the Massachusetts Table Tennis and Badminton Club. He quit soon after starting it at age eight, but picked it up again later on. He likes that it is both physically and mentally engaging, as it gives him time to de-stress from the constant pressures of high school. He also co-founded the BHS Badminton Club with a friend; they then helped the team win its first trophy in the MassBad High School Championships.

Clark wants other BHS students to understand that success in life, in school or out, is the result of good habits, such as effective time management. Clark believes that it can be helpful to reflect on whether or not your habits work well for you. That way, he says, “you can be the best version of yourself, whatever that may be.”

By Ani Belorian

Marauder of the Week: Friday, November 6, 2020

Alex Fick

Senior Alex Fick is a person of many talents and strengths, whose respectful and intelligent demeanor is evident through any interaction with him. Although he likes many different subjects, he has a special interest in math and the sciences. He believes that they play an essential role in securing a successful future, whether it be for himself or for society as a whole. Additionally, he appreciates the focus on logic and the ability to apply the concepts to problem-solving. Alex has admiration for all of his teachers, but with his affinity toward math and science, he says that Mr. Abruzzese and Mr. Delorio were extremely important in the development of his curiosity for their subjects. Their classes were always fun and enjoyable, and they both made sure that they connected the topics learned in class to broader ideas. Mr. Delorio’s Calculus class was Alex’s favorite class in high school, because of the great community and the teacher who made sure everyone was having a good time (despite the looming, ever-present danger of potential pop quizzes). 

To keep himself busy, Alex plays many different sports, including baseball, indoor track, and ultimate frisbee. He likes the way that sports allow him to destress and put his whole focus into doing something he loves. Alex is also a member of the Lights Crew in the PAC, and the Clarinet Section Leader in Marching Band. Additionally, he has participated in student government during his sophomore, junior, and senior years. This year, he is the student advisor to the school committee and the assistant treasurer. Last but not least, he has led the Student Activist Club for the past two years: he was Vice President in his junior year and is President this year.

Alex credits much of who he is today to being named the Grand Prize Winner of the MassDOT video contest in sophomore year. This experience sparked his love of photography, which has only grown over the years. Along with his passion for photography, Alex is determined to always find new perspectives in life, no matter what he faces, or what challenges arise. He wants to be able to see things from every angle, just as he does in his photography.

Alex’s advice to other BHS students is to make the most of the time that they have. “Before you even get the chance to take a deep breath, you will be a senior,” he says; so “if there is anything you want to do, whether it's to reach out to someone you haven't before or pick up a new hobby, just do it. There's no harm in trying something new; there's always a chance at a new passion or new friendship or even just an understanding of a challenging physics concept. Put aside your hesitation and uncertainty, and just do it.”

By Ani Belorian

Preston Jackson-Stephens

Senior Preston Jackson-Stephens, a star athlete passionate about educating the community on the path to ending racial inequality, is a clear choice for Marauder of the Week. His favorite school subject is Psychology – he plans to major in Psychology in college, so he can “acquire the knowledge and skills” necessary to “help and understand” people – but he also enjoys his Science Ethics class, which covers a variety of relevant topics that spark “entertaining” class discussions. Ms. Shea, who taught his sophomore year American Studies class, was his favorite teacher in his time at BHS because she “engaged her students with her passion”; she always encouraged Preston to voice his opinions in class and “let [him] know that [his] voice would be heard.”

Preston’s athletic achievements at BHS are numerous: he is the captain of the varsity football and basketball teams, and additionally participates in varsity outdoor track. His talent for sports extends to video games as well; he claims to be “the best in the Belmont community” at NBA 2K and NFL Madden. (If anyone disagrees with this assertion, he encourages them to add his gamertag on PS4, so they can “settle it out.”)

However, when asked what he was most proud of, at BHS and as a part of the Belmont community, Preston unequivocally pointed to his involvement in “events that help advocate for the fight against racism.” Last spring, shortly after the death of George Floyd, Preston and a BHS alumnus organized a peaceful protest, during which Preston gave a speech about how important it is that we as a community “educate ourselves and have the difficult conversations” in order to “move forward in the process of ending racism.” He also participated in a video organized by two students from the BHS class of 2020, which encouraged the Belmont community to speak up about racial inequality. He feels that these actions demonstrated his leadership both to himself and to the community, and showed that he wants to “make a difference in this world” and “have an impact on a lot of people’s lives.” Preston believes he can “effect change” in this way because he “passed the first step to changing other people, which is being willing to change [your]self.”  As Preston says, “I am a young black man [who] has to live life a bit differently than everyone else due to systemic racism and police brutality.” He wants people to know that nothing can deter him in his fight “for the black community, change in our system, and… change [in] individuals.”

Preston’s words of wisdom for other BHS students reflect his level of determination: “Hard work is a choice. You are either willing or not willing” to put in the effort; therefore, it is important to evaluate your choices carefully to make sure that you “did what was best for you.”

By Claire Svetkey

Marauder of the Week: Friday, October 30, 2020

Crystal Huang

An exceptional student involved in and passionate about the community, Crystal Huang is undoubtedly deserving of the title of the Marauder of the Week.

An accomplished student, Crystal enjoys all subjects at school, but she stated that AP Psychology, a class she’s taking this year, fascinates her the most. Crystal explains that it’s “interesting to examine the human mind and behavior through varieties of perspectives that covered biology to society and culture.” When asked which teacher or class has been the most influential to her, Crystal said that she honestly cannot pick a single class or teacher, as each class she has taken and every teacher she has had has shaped her into who she is today.

Outside of school, Crystal is a member of NEC youth choruses and the BHS Senior A Capella group, as well as the co-founder of the BHS Fencing Club. She explained that she created the club with “hopes of creating a community for fencers and introducing the support to the school.” Furthermore, last year, the team advanced to the Massachusetts High School All-State Fencing Championship half a year early! As for her passions, Crystal says that she’s “always seeking new ways that [she] could contribute through connecting different groups of people,” in order to form one big community. From this, it’s no surprise that Crystal is most proud of the work she did last summer when she visited China, where she and her peers rearranged four folk songs into children’s chorus versions and recorded piano accompaniments for local schools. Crystal described her experience, recalling that she first got the idea when “[she] came across folk songs in rural Southwest areas of China that were disappearing due to lack of transcription and musical training in these areas.” The result of the effort and dedication that Crystal and her peers put in was extremely satisfying to them, as they were able to witness children with inadequate musical education learn to sing melodies that they were familiar with while also preserving the cultural heritage. In addition to this, Crystal proved her passion for helping the community once again, when amid the COVID-19 outbreak, she collected and distributed around 400 masks in April and May for high school food service workers in the towns of Belmont, Cambridge, and Watertown. Crystal explains that she organized the PPE donation to ensure the workers could safely deliver school lunch to families in need, for she “realized that apart from hospital workers and vulnerable groups, there is another group of people that face risks in exposure in the pandemic: school food service workers.” 

As words of advice to current and future Belmont High School students, Crystal encourages everyone to “[not] be afraid to break the norms and jump out of the box and be true to yourself,” reminding us all that life is about taking risks in order to fully embrace who you are.

By Tiffany Hu

Kathy Buckett

Meet Katherine Buckett, one of Belmont High School’s first Marauders of the Week in the 2020-2021 school year. Katherine is the epitome of a Marauder of the Week: as shown by her many activities and accomplishments.  She cares deeply about the well-being of others and contributes greatly to the school community.

As a dedicated student and member of the wider Belmont community, Katherine’s name is definitely one to remember. Although she has excelled in many ways, she believes her greatest achievement to be starting her own club at BHS and keeping it running for close to three years! She is the founder and leader of the American Sign Language Club, and also does related volunteer work throughout the entire year. Another of Katherine’s interests is costume design: she is the costumes crew chief in the BHS Performing Arts Company. In addition to contributing to the school community through these activities, during the summer Katherine dedicated her time to helping out in classrooms both in person and virtually.

Katherine has a strong interest in the sciences, and her favorite class is Psychology; she finds the subject fascinating, and enjoys learning about it. Her most influential teacher is Ms. Lewis, her junior year Biology teacher. Katherine credits Ms. Lewis with emphasizing the importance of considering the needs of others, while simultaneously minimizing stress during Katherine’s junior year.

Outside of school, Katherine feels very passionate about equal rights, particularly fundamental human rights, and she tries to apply these concepts when approaching and helping others.

Katherine Buckett is truly an ideal Marauder of the Week, and BHS is proud to call her a student. One piece of advice that Katherine would like to share with other BHS students is: “Never be afraid to ask for help, it can be scary but it always leads to the best outcome.”

By Joyce Gong