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 BHS Website. We are excited for this opportunity to highlight a broad group of the amazing students at BHS!

Marauder of the Week: Friday, June 10th, 2022

Rit Garg

Rit Garg

1. Favorite school subject:

Computer Science

2. Most influential class(es) and/or teacher(s)

Ms. McLeod, Mr. Moresco, Ms. Lacasse

3. Extracurriculars that have been meaningful to you:

Record Robotics, Math Team, CS Club, RSM Teams, RSM Infinity Squad (math tutor service for younger kids)

4. What are you most proud of doing or being part of, either at BHS or in the community?

I'm most proud of my work as a part of Record Robotics, Belmont's local FRC robotics team.

5. What are you passionate about?

I'm extremely passionate about Computer Science, Math, and Music.

6. What words of wisdom would you like to leave for other BHS students?

Let yourself find something that you are excited about doing, while continuing to explore other fields and engage in other hobbies.

Pier Talanian

Pier Talanian

1. Favorite school subject:

Spanish and biology

2. Most influential class(es) and/or teacher(s)

Sr. Lafontant has really pushed me to actively expand my learning in all aspects of learning a language.

Ms. Rankin has really fostered my curiosity and helped me engage in topics that interest me.

Mr. Goldfine's high expectations for his students have pushed me to constantly think deeper about subjects.

Ms. Bloom has always created a space where I can feel comfortable exploring and sharing my thoughts and ideas.

3. Extracurriculars that have been meaningful to you:

My ballet is extremely meaningful to me. It allows for me to have an escape to express what I am unable to in words, and this has only become more important in the past few years as we all experienced major life changes. I have also formed so many meaningful connections with people through dance that have transformed who I am both as a person and dancer.

4. What are you most proud of doing or being part of, either at BHS or in the community?

Although I'm not involved as much as I would like to be here in Belmont (mostly due to ballet), I enjoy being a part of an adaptive dance program in Boston, which provides opportunities for children and adults with disabilities to dance. By teaching various age groups over the past couple of years, I have gained new perspectives and learned a lot about myself and others.

5. What are you passionate about?

Among other things I have already mentioned, I am very passionate about music. I love how a certain chord can make you feel so many things, and how a combination of notes can tell a story that could be unique to each listener. I also love how, like dance, music is a universal language that is for everyone.

6. What words of wisdom would you like to leave for other BHS students?

Learn how to manage your time so you can participate in everything you want to do. Don't be afraid to try new things; you never know what you could be missing out on unless you try! Find the silver lining in things, be yourself, treat people with kindness, and always try to look at the bigger picture.

Marauder of the Week: Friday, June 3rd, 2022

Kate Grimble

Kate Grimble

1. Favorite school subject:

History

2. Most influential class(es) and/or teacher(s)

APUSH with Ms.White

3. Extracurriculars that have been meaningful to you:

The Performing Arts Company (PAC)

4. What are you most proud of doing or being part of, either at BHS or in the community?

I am most proud of my sophomore year in the PAC when we continued to have productions through COVID, which had a complete learning curve to it and it meant I had to adapt and try things I never would have tried before but ended up really enjoying. And in general I'm very proud of all the art we as the PAC put out because a lot of effort and time goes into it that people might not see just by watching a production.

5. What are you passionate about?

Something I'm passionate about is live theatre in general. I think there is a rush that is like no other when you watch live theatre, you can be transported into this fictional world in a way that I've never experienced anywhere else. I think it's truly a beautiful form of storytelling that often doesn't get as much recognition as other mainstream art forms.

6. What words of wisdom would you like to leave for other BHS students?

Take things one step at a time. It can get really overwhelming if you look at the sheer number of things to do and the standards you need to live up to it gets really stressful and overwhelming. It can be really difficult to ignore those outside pressures but if you take things step by step and as they come I think things become much more manageable.

Alek Karagozyan

Alek Karagozyan

1. Favorite school subject:

Though I have liked and enjoyed all my classes thus far, my two favorite fields of study have been math and history. Numbers and equations have always made sense to me because they logically quantify how the world works, which applies to the sciences as well. Curiously for someone who is into numbers, I also love examining historical events and figuring out how they pertain to our world today. Since I was fascinated by geography at a young age, my curiosity naturally sought out knowledge about the people and culture of all these unique places.

2. Most influential class(es) and/or teacher(s)

I didn’t know what to expect when I first entered Honors Biology, but Dr. Molk opened my eyes to the fascinating world of ecology, cellular structures, and biochemistry.  In the same lens, Ms. Pasternak’s thought-provoking assignments encouraged my individual creativity and fostered insightful class discussions throughout the whole year in Honors Modern World History.  Meanwhile Mr. DeLorio ensured that tackling the daunting curriculum of AP Calculus BC was within my grasp, as his lectures and sense of humor always kept our entire class engaged.

3. Extracurriculars that have been meaningful to you:

Anyone that knows me will testify that I am passionately addicted to the sport of tennis. I train and play USTA tournaments year-round, and I have learned so much more about my character and values through the wins and losses in each tournament. Since tennis can be a lonely sport, it gives me such joy to be part of BHS Boys Varsity Tennis, where we are collectively pushing each other to achieve our best performance in the upcoming state championship. When I’m not on the court, my other passion is music, where I love to write my own lyrics and produce my own songs. You can find me on Spotify as PE Expert.

4. What are you most proud of doing or being part of, either at BHS or in the community?

One event that I’m extremely proud of is being a member of TEDx Belmont High School and speaking at the inaugural event. This is extremely meaningful to me because I publicly shared my story of how I overcame my shyness and became an active participant in the Belmont community. In my opinion, TEDx talks are beneficial for both the audience as well as the speaker. I hope that my open and honest talk will inspire others to share their stories. Besides leading the TEDx BHS club next year, I’m also excited to be co-hosting 5 Minutes Ago, which also fosters participation and interaction within the BHS community.

5. What are you passionate about?

Because of my appreciation for all that tennis has given me, my personal goal has become to help others gain access to the benefits of physical fitness and mental health through tennis. Hence, last summer, I co-founded the annual Rally for Tennis fundraising event to raise money for Advantage Kids, a charity that provides over 700 underserved youth in New Hampshire with free tennis lessons and equipment. We raised over $12,000 for them last year, and we hope to exceed that figure this year by having two separate Rally for Tennis events: one in New Hampshire and the other in New Jersey.

6. What words of wisdom would you like to leave for other BHS students?

If you truly give 100% of your effort and time to a task, no matter the outcome, you will not be disappointed or have any regrets as long as you learn from your mistakes.

Marauder of the Week: Thursday, May 26th, 2022

Sam Baldwin

Sam Baldwin

1. Favorite school subject:

History

2. Most influential class(es) and/or teacher(s):

Most influential classes: Modern World History, American Studies, Modern Band.  Most influential teachers: Ms. Pasternak, Ms. Shea, Mr. Asadoorian

3. Extracurriculars that have been meaningful:

I have swam on the high school team for the past couple of years, and I have absolutely loved it! It is my favorite sport.  I have also been playing piano for the past 10 years, and I have recently picked up drums. It has been amazing to be able to play those instruments with my classmates in my modern band class!

4. What are you most proud of doing or being part of, either at BHS or in the community?

I am proud of being part of a community that is so close knit, and I feel like we all look out for each-other. That is what Belmont High does really well! I also love how everyone supports one another, which I think is really crucial not just in a school community, but in life in general.

5. What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about music. I really love to play the piano and the drums in my modern band class.  I also love to spend time with people that are closest to me, which are my family and friends. I am a firm believer that you need to make time for yourself, and when I have time for myself, I love to be with others.  I love to paddle board in the summer. When I go to Martha's Vineyard, I love to go out on the ocean and explore new paths. It gives me a great sense of adventure.

6. What words of wisdom would you like to leave for other BHS students?

Hard work and effort will get you very far with the goals that you set for yourself. If you achieve those things, then you are giving yourself a greater opportunity to accomplish what you want to accomplish.

Kendall Higgins

Kendall Higgin

1. Favorite school subject:

English has been my most enjoyable subject because I am encouraged to form unique ideas and express my personal opinions. I feel privileged to have been able to strengthen my writing skills through my English classes over the years. And lastly, my English teachers, particularly Ms.Thompson and Mr. Markley, have always made efforts to facilitate a dialogue between classmates on important issues, which has been impactful for me as I can clearly tell how my teachers genuinely value their students’ viewpoints.

2. Most influential class(es) and/or teacher(s):

My most influential class would be Chinese, because my classmates and I have shared that classroom community for so long, and through my sophomore and junior years 钟老师 (Ms. Chung Swallom) has made learning a very different language a fun and exciting experience for me. Also, I would like to also thank my precalculus teacher Ms. Lovett for being straightforward and ensuring her students are truly understanding the concepts, and Ms. Mastalong, who has made European History a class I’m excited to attend each day because of her welcoming and caring attitude.

3. Extracurriculars that have been meaningful:

Being a part of Girls Swim & Dive has been a very meaningful extracurricular for me, because as a team we have fostered a culture of acceptance and spirit through spending quality time together in and outside of the pool. Swim team emphasizes that no matter your skills, you are an integral part of the community. I am grateful I have been able to make so many friends and improve my confidence through swimming.

4. What are you most proud of doing or being part of, either at BHS or in the community?

I am most proud of founding the Foreign Immersion Program, a volunteer language tutoring service in which we match middle school students with experienced high school mentors to help improve their proficiency in a world language. In addition, I am proud to be a Student Advisor to the School Committee, where I get to update the parents and leaders of our school district on the student’s perspective. Both of these activities have helped me feel closer to my school community and give back what I have received at BHS.

5. What are you passionate about?

I value social justice efforts which lift those up who have been disadvantaged. I have campaigned for multiple political candidates and I try to keep up with current events and discuss them with my family. I think it’s important, even as teenagers, to have a say in government so that we can improve how our society operates.

6. What words of wisdom would you like to leave for other BHS students?

Be yourself and naturally you will find a group of people you mesh with. Talk to your teachers and form relationships with them. Take advantage of opportunities, spread kindness, and remember to be proud of yourself!

Helena Sena

Helena Sena

1. Favorite school subject:

English

2. Most influential class(es) and/or teacher(s):

Mr. Zilcoski from world history freshman year because he challenged me to think about history (and life) in different ways and inspires me to be a leader.

3. Extracurriculars that have been meaningful:

Mock Trial because everyone is so close knit and it's always fun to put our heads together and tackle case strategy.

4. What are you most proud of doing or being part of, either at BHS or in the community?

I'm proud to be a class officer because we get to plan fun things for our grade and for the school.

5. What are you passionate about?

Leadership and being an upstanding member of my community. There is always something you can do to help others, all you have to do is act on it.

6. What words of wisdom would you like to leave for other BHS students?

Put yourself out there. Try new things, meet new people, let loose and have school spirit because you will appreciate having those memories down the road. Don't get stuck being a certain way or doing things a certain way- change is good.

Marauder of the Week: Friday, May 20th, 2022

Matthew Barrios

Matthew Barrios

1. Favorite school subject:

I don't really have a favorite subject , but the ties would be between history and science - as they are the both most interesting core subjects in my opinion.

2. Most influential class(es) and/or teacher(s)

Global Leadership is one of the classes that teaches you things that you can actually use outside of school and also teaches you things that people go through around the world. We learned about Citizenship , Economy , Health and many more subjects.

Another class is Social Justice - Teaches you things that you actually never knew about and that the information they teach - they are learning along with you - Some things I learned were Minimum wages , Gender Pay Gap and Pink Tax to name a few.

3. Extracurriculars that have been meaningful to you:

Personally , I really didn't do any Extracurriculars but to be honest , I would've like to tried at least some of them to meet new people and learn new things , but I was too stubborn.

4. What are you most proud of doing or being part of, either at BHS or in the community?

Being part of this great community and being able to ride out of the COVID-19 "storm".  Also being the seniors of the new building is also nice.

5. What are you passionate about?

I'm around computers for a lot of the time when I am home and also enjoy playing , and reading handfuls of comics in my spare time.

6. What words of wisdom would you like to leave for other BHS students?

Try any Extracurriculars that might interest you. Try any classes that are interesting. There's really no need to extend yourself with APs and Honors Classes , I'd recommend 1-3 total to manage the workload ( each year.)

Lora Ovcharova

Lora Ovcharova

1. Favorite school subject:

I think it’s either between math or history for me. I really like how math is straightforward, based in logic, and can be used in so many different ways but I also enjoy learning about the histories of all sorts of different people and civilizations and their interactions.

2. Most influential class(es) and/or teacher(s)

Social Justice by the Numbers with Ms. Shea and Mr. Moresco: we’ve learned about so many interesting topics through both a historical and mathematical lens which I’ve really enjoyed, since we learn both about people’s stories and contextualize data that can be used to both prove the existence of social injustices and help back up arguments for what actions should be taken to work towards solving them. I love the way the class is formatted and that Mr. Moresco and Ms. Shea encourage us to ask questions, research topics we are interested in, and take action on issues that we feel strongly about.

AP Psychology and AP Statistics have both influenced how I think about things in my life, from the way I think about myself and others (ap psych) and the way I view data, especially in the news (ap stats). So much of what we’ve learned in these classes is directly applicable in daily life and it’s fun to see those connections.

Some of my most influential teachers have to be Mr. Moresco, Ms. Pleat, Ms. Harper, and Ms. Pulido. I have loved their classes and they have all made me feel welcome and comfortable to ask questions, express my opinions, and just generally be curious.

3. Extracurriculars that have been meaningful to you:

Student Activist Club - I’ve been a member since freshman year and it’s one of the reasons I’m interested in social justice. My involvement in this club has helped me push the limits of my comfort zone and I’m really happy that I’m a part of it.

Marching Band - The community of marching band is one of my favorites. I joined in freshman year and I’ve made so many great friends and memories through it.

Being a mentor for middle school French horn students through the Tri-M Mentorship Program - I love being a French horn mentor and it’s been a way to give back to the music program that has been a big part of my life so far. It’s amazing to be able to work with the middle schoolers and share both my horn knowledge with them and the music community that we’re both a part of and see them flourish as musicians.

4. What are you most proud of doing or being part of, either at BHS or in the community?

I’m most proud of my involvement in the push to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day here in Belmont. I’m also proud of being a part of Belmont’s music community and being a mentor for some of the horn students at the middle school.

5. What are you passionate about?

I’m really interested in studying ways to combat the effects of climate change, specifically ways to be more sustainable or make the technologies we use more sustainable and also how renewable/clean energy systems can be made more efficient and ways that we can move towards using renewable sources of energy far more than fossil fuels. I would like to either take part in developing solutions or in finding ways to implement them in our communities. Maybe both if I can!

I also love creating things - making music, baking, doing hands-on art projects, and other stuff like that!

6. What words of wisdom would you like to leave for other BHS students?

Try anything you think you might be interested in and make time to hang out with your friends and to do the things you enjoy!

Marauder of the Week: Friday, May 13th, 2022

Dana Trifunovic

Dana Trifunovic

1. Favorite school subject:

Neurobiology. I really like understanding how things work, and neuro has given me insight into how eyesight, hearing, and drugs work, and some possible reasons why humans have evolved into how we are today. It's really interesting to me and the class is relaxing until a test is approaching.

2. Most influential class(es) and/or teacher(s):

My most influential classes have been every French class with Ms. El-Gamel, especially during my sophomore and junior year. Ms. El-Gamel focuses on the well-being and mental health of her students, working meditation and self-reflection into class while still teaching us French. It is clear that she cares deeply about her students and I would be worse off not having taken her classes.

3. Extracurriculars that have been meaningful:

 Volleyball gave me a space to make friends across grades and be a part of a team. Despite the stresses of the sport, the community that volleyball gave me was unlike any other and I look back on memories of that time fondly.

4. What are you passionate about?: 

I am passionate about the environment. I was part of the environmental club during my freshman and sophomore years here, and I plan to minor in environmental science during college so that I can get a better understanding of the complex issues that are affecting the welfare of our planet.

5. What words of wisdom would you like to leave for other BHS students?:

Don't be afraid to do things that interest you. No one's going to judge you if you join a club or sport. Also, show school spirit!!! Spirit days are really fun, especially during senior year.

Angus Abercrombie

Angus Abercrombie

1. Favorite school subject:

Economics

2. Most influential class(es) and/or teacher(s):

Mr. Streit, Ms. Shea, Mr. Abruzzese

3. Extracurriculars that have been meaningful:

GSA, Captain of Color guard, Working at Mass Audubon (Habitat) and Kathleen Crogan-Camara for State Senate

4. What are you most proud of doing or being part of, either at BHS or in the community?:

Performing at Symphony Hall as president of Boston Children's Chorus's Premier Choir. Representing my fellow students throughout the community values process.

5. What are you passionate about?: 

Transparency and representation. I like to make sure everyone can use their voice, no matter their background. We've all been shut out at some point, and my priority is always keeping doors open. That's how everything else happens.

6. What words of wisdom would you like to leave for other BHS students?:

BHS students have more opportunities than could be capitalized on in a lifetime. if you put yourself out there for enough roles, organizations, and communities, you will end up succeeding. At the same time, you can always walk away. Don't stick with something you don't like because you think it looks good.

Marauder of the Week: Friday, May 6th, 2022

Kayla Santoro

Kayla Santoro

This week’s Marauder of the Week, Kayla Santoro, is a senior dedicated to academics, athletics, and advocacy all at once! Her favorite classes have been Psychology and Disease & Forensics, the former because she finds brain functioning interesting and valuable in understanding the basis of people’s actions, and the latter because she enjoys investigating crime scenes. She cites three teachers – Mr. Dubin, Mx. Marino, and Ms. McCabe (both as a teacher and a rugby coach) – as her most influential, because “[a]ll of these teachers have taught [her] to continue pushing when [she] feel[s] like giving up.” 

Outside of the classroom, Kayla is extremely passionate about helping the disabled, particularly through the PALS club. She also loves rugby, which she feels can be a sport for anyone who wants to get involved. Kayla finds helping people with disabilities very rewarding, “because at the end of the day their smiles and positive attitude[s]” make her feel like she “truly made an impact on their lives.” She plans on “working with the special needs community as a job in the future,” because she believes that everyone with whom she interacts during PALS and their unique perspectives “teach [her] so much.”  Kayla’s words of wisdom for other BHS students, as she prepares to conclude her own high school experience, are encouraging: “Your time at Belmont High will fly by,” and “the best way to spend your time is by getting involved in as many ways as possible. Always try [to] be positive,” as “positivity will get you a long way.”

By Subi Upadhyay

Marauder of the Week: Friday, April 29th, 2022

Alexander Wong

Alexander Wong

This week’s Marauder of the Week is an exemplary member of Belmont’s community: Alexander Wong! Alexander is very involved both in and out of school, as shown through his strong academics and fascinating extracurriculars. In school, he finds that his favorite classes are usually in the STEM fields. Specifically, he enjoys AP Physics, AP Chemistry, and Design & 3D Printing. Accordingly, his most influential teachers have been Mr. Loosmann, Mr. Abruzzese, and Mr. Lefebvre.

After school, Alexander is involved in Record Robotics and Scouts BSA. He is the co-captain of Record Robotics, a competitive robotics team, and he helped lead the team through challenges such as the Omicron wave of COVID, which shortened their competition season. He is “very proud of the team” for being finalists at their recent competition and being invited to the New England District Championship. In Scouts BSA (formerly known as Boy Scouts of America), Alexander is a patrol leader in his scouts troop and even became an Eagle Scout in December 2021. To achieve this rank, he organized and led a community service project to design and install an informational kiosk in Clay Pit Pond park. Alexander’s activities reflect his many interests: space exploration and “STEM fields in general”; “outdoor activities like skiing, hiking and camping”; aviation; music; and working with kids to “share things [he’s] passionate about with them.”

Alexander leaves other BHS students with some meaningful words of advice: “Find people who are interested in similar things as you, and try to keep those friendships strong throughout high school. Hard classes become easier when you're part of a group of friends who help each other out. If there are extracurricular activities that you and your friends enjoy, put lots of time into them because the many hours spent with your friends will be more valuable than any tangible accomplishment you may achieve.”

By Joyce Gong

Sergio Castillo

Sergio Castillo

This week’s Marauder of the Week may be a familiar face, as he is one of the hosts of Five Minutes Ago: Sergio Castillo! Although he lives in Boston, Sergio is extremely involved in Belmont’s community, as shown through his work with Five Minutes Ago. He feels that he is able to represent our school through the show, and is particularly proud of the unity it creates. He believes that Five Minutes Ago highlights student work and shows school spirit.

In school, Sergio is passionate about Economics, as he feels that it has given him a new perspective on life and taught him about the real world. He says that Mr. Goldfine is a great teacher who “was very supportive and made [Sergio] think in a new way. He always made learning engaging and adjusted his teaching to what worked best for the students.” Sergio also enjoyed his class with Ms. Masterson, as she saw potential in him and motivated him to do his best work.

Sergio has pursued his interest in economics outside of the classroom as well. He cares deeply about financial literacy and personal finance, and spends his free time reading articles and watching videos on effective money-management strategies. He also reads self-improvement books, such as Atomic Habits by James Clear. Additionally, Sergio wants to understand social injustices and better society.

As a member and leader in the Latin Dance club, which Sergio’s sister created, Sergio has helped to direct sections; he loves seeing everyone engaged in perfecting a dance. He is also part of Black in Belmont this year, and feels that he has learned a lot about people’s experiences at BHS through it. The students’ leadership and determination inspire him as they work to create representation and an inclusive environment in BHS for students of color.

Sergio leaves other BHS students with (more than) a few words of advice. First, “be social with as many people as you can,” as “there’s so much you can learn from others. Each person has a different experience and understanding of the world,” which can “widen” one’s own worldview and “open up new opportunities.” Second, “have a positive attitude”; high school only lasts four years, so “create fun and positive experiences that you will cherish.”

By Joyce Gong

Marauder of the Week: Friday, April 15th, 2022

Shani Getz

Shani Getz

Senior Shani Getz is a masterpiece of a person, and an excellent candidate for Marauder of the Week. Her favorite subjects are math and science. As a sophomore, she took BC Calculus, and as a senior she takes Multivariable Calculus through a Harvard Extension Course. She also has liked science for a long time, as it’s “a field where curiosity drives research and discovery.” She intends to pursue neuroscience in college; she is amazed by the brain’s complexities, and wants to find treatments for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Shani wants to highlight three of her favorite BHS classes: Ms. White’s AP United States History class, which showed Shani the rewards of hard work; all of her Spanish classes, which have been memorable and have taught her a useful skill; and any art class with Milo, who has taught Shani for three years. Shani says that Milo creates a fun environment where students can discover their own styles and hone their techniques; she appreciates the effort he puts into getting to know students and supporting them in their endeavors.

Shani takes part in many extracurricular activities. She is the co-founder and Vice President of both the Belmont Innocence Club and the Photography and Portraiture Club. Additionally, she has been heavily involved in ballroom dancing: she has progressed through the Bronze levels and is gratified by how far she has come. Shani also interned at the Harvard Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology lab, where she worked on neuroscientific research with a group of experts. Finally, she enjoys tutoring and volunteering with children at Wellington Elementary School and the Russian School of Math. She says, “Teaching and working with kids is so valuable to me because I have learned how to think in different ways.”

Shani is most proud of a project she conducted with a friend called “Snapshot of Wisdom.” In it, she interviewed elderly people at the Beech Street Center about their lives and their advice for younger generations. Shani then took their pictures and drew their portraits, portraying them as they came across in their stories. These works were displayed in a virtual exhibition and were awarded the Belmont Council on Aging Award of Excellence for Intergenerational Programming in the Belmont Community. This project opened Shani’s eyes to diverse perspectives and helped her connect to her elders.

Shani urges other BHS students to work hard to achieve their goals, as “the reward for hard work now is your own pride later,” so “it’s worth it.” She finds it important to seek out opportunities to “keep doing what makes you feel happy, healthy, and balanced.” An amazing soul inside and out, Shani takes on many roles in life, and we wish her the best of luck as she continues to fulfill these roles in the future!

By Ani Belorian

Alexandra Zarkadas

Alexandra Zarkadas

Alexandra Zarkadas, a kind and generous senior passionate about science and swimming, is a clear choice for Marauder of the Week! Alexandra has been swimming for the majority of her life. She has spent all four years of high school on the swim team and twelve years on the town team. On top of this, for five years, she has coached young swimmers for the town team. Alexandra’s commitment to swimming is a testament to her dedication, persistence, and generosity. She is rightfully proud of these accomplishments!

In addition to her interest in swimming, Alexandra loves science and plans on a future career in nursing, as she has “always wanted to be a nurse!” Her passion for nursing grew this year when she took Anatomy & Physiology, her favorite class. The class is taught by Ms. Chen, who also happens to be one of the teachers whom Alexandra calls her most influential. Alongside Ms. Chen, Alexandra wants to recognize Ms. Masterson, Ms. Carlivati, and Mr. Goldfine; all of these teachers have truly helped her succeed and thrive as a student.

Asked for her words of wisdom for other BHS students, Alexandra provided an uplifting phrase: “Everything happens for a reason!”

By Joel Iglesias

Alden Barnes

Alden Barnes

Senior Alden Barnes, an enthusiastic student and actor, is this week’s Marauder of the Week! Alden’s favorite school subjects are math and science, “especially calculus.” Fittingly, the BHS class that Alden calls his most influential is Economics with Mr. Streit, which Alden took during his junior year. Alden plans on majoring in Economics next year due to “how much [he] enjoyed the class.”

After school, Alden devotes much of his time to the BHS Performing Arts Company: in addition to having acted in many productions over the course of his high school career, Alden is a PAC officer and an improv student director. This year, he has been extremely involved in the PAC, both through his leadership roles and his onstage accomplishments: he sang a solo and a duet in Broadway Night; played Dr. Lombardi in the fall play, The Servant of Two Masters; starred as SpongeBob in The SpongeBob Musical, which, he says, “took so much work but was very rewarding”; and will perform in the upcoming One Act Play Festival in May.

Alden’s words of wisdom for other BHS students are warm and encouraging: “Be your best self. Don’t feel ashamed [if] others judge you for doing the right thing.”

By Claire Svetkey

Marauder of the Week: Friday, April 8th, 2022

Cecilia de la Fuente

Cecilia de la Fuente

This week’s Marauder of Week Cecilia de la Fuente is a strong student, in addition to being incredibly involved in Belmont’s community through both sports and clubs. Cecilia’s favorite school subjects are science and math – specifically AP Chemistry, BC Calculus, and Anatomy. The teachers whom she considers her most influential are Ms. Chen and Mr. Moresco. She believes that they are extremely passionate about what they teach and they make classes fun and engaging.

Outside of school, Cecilia is very active in Belmont’s community. She is part of the BHS varsity cross country, indoor track, and rugby teams. She was even the cross country captain this year! Cecilia met most of her closest friends through her involvement in sports, and is incredibly grateful for the strong bonds formed between teammates. In addition, Cecilia has started her own club at BHS: with some friends, she created the French Cuisine Club in 2019. It focuses on celebrating French culture through fun activities related to food. This is her fourth year taking French and she loves both learning the language and discovering diverse aspects of French-speaking cultures all around the globe. Cecilia also is proud of taking part in the ELL mentoring program this past summer. Through this program, she has helped several non-native English speakers improve their English proficiency through games and conversation. She found this experience particularly meaningful because she went through the ELL program herself in middle school and understands the challenges of navigating a school that does not teach in one’s first language.

After high school, Cecilia hopes to follow her passion for the life sciences and to major in Biochemistry in college. She leaves other BHS students with several words of wisdom: “Try new things, don’t get too stressed and have fun! High school goes by so fast.”

By Joyce Gong

Erik Rosenmeier

Erik Rosenmeier

This week's Marauder of the Week embodies all the characteristics of a Marauder: he is…  Patrick from Spongebob – sorry – senior Erik Rosenmeier!

Erik is extremely involved in the Belmont community, in and out of school. At school, his favorite class this year is Advanced Acting and Directing, which he finds collaborative and not stressful or overwhelming. Through reading plays with his class and performing group scenes and monologues, Erik has been able to dive deeply into the creative process. Although Erik has an immense passion for acting, his most influential teacher this year is Ms. Williams, his Environmental Science teacher. He describes her as “super friendly” and “really good at connecting” with her students. One of his favorite things about Ms. Williams is that she doesn't enforce pointless rules simply for the sake of enforcing them. His experience with Ms. Williams has heightened his interest in pursuing a career in education, environmental science, or both. Erik is even doing his English Capstone on the environment and the positive impacts of natural space designations. He says that this focus on the environment can improve mental and physical health, as well as helping the planet and labor markets.

Outside of school, Erik is very involved in Belmont’s community through both rugby and acting. He has been playing rugby since freshman year and it is, in his words, “the best part of [his] high school experience.” He says, “It's given me a work ethic. It's taught me to admire my strengths while working on my weaknesses. It's taught me to deal with whatever comes and be grateful for any opportunity that comes. But most of all, it's just been a lot of fun. All the kids and coaches are great,” and “there's no better cult” – he amends himself: “I mean community” – in Belmont. Additionally, Erik has been heavily involved in the Performing Arts Company for all four years of high school. He says it has taught him to be big and bold, and to stop worrying about what others think of him.

Unsurprisingly, Erik takes great pride in his experiences with rugby and the PAC. He loves Belmont’s prominent rugby culture, as rugby tends to be underappreciated in the United States. Erik is also extremely proud of his part – Patrick Star, a leading role – in The Spongebob Musical this year. He says that the whole cast was extraordinarily talented and worked very hard. It made him incredibly excited to see children in the audience dressing up as characters; he is glad to have brought so much happiness to the community.

By Joyce Gong

Jacqueline Ryan

Jacqueline Ryan

Jacqueline Ryan is this week’s well-deserved Marauder of the Week! Her passion for helping others and being kind motivates her to make a positive impact wherever she goes.

Jacquie is most interested in the subjects of history and English. At BHS, her favorite classes have been History and Economics, both of which are taught by Mr. Goldfine. Jacquie has taken part in many extracurricular activities, including volleyball and Belmont Youth Basketball Association coaching. She says that the most meaningful parts of her time at Belmont are the connections she has made with others and the community members whom she has impacted through her work coaching basketball.

Jacquie’s words of wisdom are borrowed from Taylor Swift, who Jacquie says puts it best: “No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind."

By: Ani Belorian

Marauder of the Week: Friday, April 1st, 2022

Tony Zhao

Tony Zhao

Tony Zhao, a model student with a myriad of academic and extracurricular achievements, is an exemplary candidate for Marauder of the Week.

Tony has always had an affinity for the liberal arts. At Brown University, which he will attend in the fall, he plans to pursue a double concentration in film and economics. Though he views economics as his more practical major, Tony deeply loves film for its intricate storytelling and potential to convey complex meaning. Tony sees writing as one of his stronger suits, and makes an effort to pursue subjects that he feels truly speak to his interests. He is conscious that his choice to major in film might defy others’ expectations, and wants to highlight his diverse, varied interests.

A mentor whom Tony would like to recognize is his rugby coach, Brucey. Brucey showed care and consideration for all of his players, and showed Tony consistent support, even helping Tony introduce himself to the rugby coach at Brown. Tony calls Brucey one of the most genuine people whom he has met, and says that Brucey made him a better person. He also wants to share a catchphrase from the boys’ rugby team: “In Brucey We Trust.”

Outside of school, Tony is a dedicated athlete, playing both rugby and football. This year, Tony was the captain of the BHS varsity football team and a Middlesex All-Star. Additionally, he has taken on a significant leadership role on the rugby team; he describes rugby as his primary passion, and believes that it changes lives for the better. Tony is most proud of his work surrounding Asian representation in sports: he feels that he has helped to dismantle the rhetoric that Asian people perform poorly in sports and should only focus on academics. Over the summer, Tony conducted research with Boston College professor Dr. Tummala-Narra focusing on Asian-American mental health, with the goal of better supporting Asian-American students. Tony finds it fulfilling to have given back to his community through his work.

Tony’s first piece of advice for other BHS students is simple: “Join Rugby!” Beyond that, he advises students not to stress about college decisions, and to follow their passions instead of worrying about others’ expectations.

By Shivane Pratap

Adi Nelson

Adi Nelson

This week’s Marauder of the Week, senior Adi Nelson, is something of a computer whiz! Given his passion for electronics, it is no surprise that his favorite class was Intro to Computer Science. Discovering the way software and hardware interact opened his eyes to the many career paths and opportunities that computers offer. This led to him choosing to major in computer engineering when he attends college, to gain an even deeper understanding of how to design and build things for people to use.

In addition to his interest in technology, Adi is a member of the Ultimate Frisbee team. He loves the “amazing community” and is proud to be a part of it. He believes that its core values of “sportsmanship” and “having fun” make it an inclusive and welcoming community for all who want to join. Adi is also proud of his mentoring through Saturday Morning Music School. There he helped younger kids to better understand how to play their instruments, and gained expertise in how to be a better teacher.

Adi’s words of wisdom for the BHS community? “If your week isn't going too well, hit the beach. Walk out onto the sand, get your chair out, and relax while listening to the waves crash onto the shoreline.” Sounds like something we could all use right now!

By Anita Liberty

Leeza Pesok

Leeza Pesok

As a dedicated student and community member, Leeza Pesok is a wonderful fit for Marauder of the Week. She truly exemplifies academic excellence and personal merit.

Leeza has a general interest in the sciences, and particularly likes psychology. Ms. Dashoff, her AP Psychology teacher, helped her realize what she wanted to study by providing a broad scope of the subject as well as details about its intricacies. Leeza also wants to recognize other impactful teachers whom she has had at BHS: Ms. Carp, her freshman year English teacher, really improved her writing skills; and Mr. Flam, who teaches acting classes and runs the Performing Arts Company, shaped Leeza into the person she is today and greatly influenced her as an actor. Leeza’s participation in the PAC, performing in scripted and improv shows, helped her build the confidence she has today.

In addition to her involvement in the PAC – she is a student officer – Leeza takes pride in running the PALS club, and working with students in the LABBB program over the past three years. She is passionate about working with and giving back to a wide community of people.

Leeza’s words of wisdom for BHS students are kind and sincere: “You guys all work so hard,” she says, but “make sure to take a step back and recognize all the hard work you have done every once in a while. And don't hold back on saying something nice, no matter how small the compliment might be!”

By Shivane Pratap

Marauder of the Week: Friday, March 25th, 2022

Meredith Christo

Meredith Christo

 

Senior Meredith Christo, an athlete and proud member of the BHS community, is a clear choice for Marauder of the Week. Although her favorite classes are Psychology and Social Justice, the teachers whom she cites as her most influential are Milo, Mr. Moresco and Ms. Carlivati; she appreciates their “effort to know [her] as a person and allow [her] to be [her]self in the classroom.” More broadly, Meredith says that she appreciates “the many teachers who have interest” in students on a personal level, and make students “feel comfortable and welcome.”

Outside of the classroom, Meredith is deeply involved in the BHS community. In addition to being captain of the BHS girls’ varsity basketball team and running cross country, she enjoys “attending sports games and school performances.” Fittingly, she takes pride not only in her athletic accomplishments but also in her “supportive” role in the BHS community.

Meredith’s words of wisdom for other BHS students encourage kindness to both oneself and others: “Make your happiness, and positive impact on others, a priority in high school”; and although some decisions made in high school may eventually cause students regret, “treating people with kindness will never be one of them.”

By Claire Svetkey

Derek Chen

Derek Chen

 

Senior Derek Chen has done an incredible amount for the BHS community, earning him a much-deserved place as a Marauder of the Week. Derek’s favorite subjects are math and science, a passion that is clearly reflected in his other interview answers. He has represented the USA internationally at the Biology Olympiad. On a local level, he is also the captain of both the Science and Math Teams at BHS; Science Team recently won third place in a statewide tournament! Derek says that he values these subjects because they can be applied to all aspects of everyday life and can help to uncover the world’s mysteries. Unsurprisingly, his favorite class is BC Calculus, with his favorite teacher being BC Calculus teacher Mr. DeLorio. According to Derek, Mr. DeLorio has a unique teaching style that centers on truly explaining concepts instead of simply having students memorize math at a surface level. Because of this, the class teaches students new ways to think instead of teaching them to blindly accept what is given to them.

Outside of his STEM interests, Derek is part of Mock Trial and Belmont Free Lessons (BFL). He says, “BFL is an initiative created to provide free educational resources to students over the pandemic and it is still running to this day with around 2000 total signups. As a member of the management team, it's been so incredible to see it grow from just five high schoolers to the organization it is today.” BFL offers classes in almost every subject, with student volunteers teaching everything from volleyball to public speaking. Derek says that BFL is the activity in which takes the most pride: its accessible programs can help all Belmont students and will continue to do so in years to come.

When Derek wants to relax, he watches his favorite movie, The Sound of Music. For other BHS students, his advice is, “If you're a junior, please write your Common App personal statement over the summer. Your future self will thank you! (Also, for everyone, join science team!)” Join the science team, readers!

By Cindy Wei

Marauder of the Week: Friday, March 11th, 2022

Irene Son

Irene Son

Senior Irene Son, Marauder of the Week, brings unparalleled compassion and artistry to Belmont, Greater Boston and the world. As a fabulous clarinetist and loving friend to many, Irene displays an incredible capacity to bring goodness to those around her. Irene’s influence as a musician reaches far and wide, from local venues like Jordan Hall, NEC to France, where Irene and her chamber group arranged and played a version of Édith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose.” The audience was moved to sing along.

Irene uses her musical talents to support people near and far; her friends call her “the mom of the group” for her attention to others’ needs. In this spirit, Irene organized and performed a benefit concert, in spite of a global pandemic, for the relief of Afghan women and children. Working with UNICEF and the Boston Youth Music Charity, she raised money for HEMEfund, a nonprofit that provides housing, education and medicine to those in need. This concert, a feat in its own right, is not the end of Irene's efforts towards improving lives: she has plans for future fund-raising concerts.

Irene praises former Chenery music instructors John McLellan and Sharon Phipps for their ability to give everything to students without expecting anything in return. According to Irene, this selflessness and their capacity to instill passion for music in their students plays a large role in why she now tutors younger musicians. In this way, Irene passes on the same love and excitement that she experienced participating in middle school music ensembles. Irene also would like to thank a few BHS teachers: Ms. Grossi, for “helping [her] grow as a student through sophomore and junior year”; Ms. Pasternak, for “communicating good energy through difficult mediums during online school”; and Ms. White, who is “a character” and someone whom Irene will “miss a lot” when she graduates. 

Having nearly finished high school at BHS, Irene offers, to current and future students alike, this advice: join several clubs and stay committed, as these are good opportunities to interact with people you normally wouldn’t know. Perhaps it’ll even make it easier to connect with people regardless of their backgrounds and experiences. Additionally, talk to your teachers! Most likely they want to help you and are glad to do so. (Irene notes that she instantly feels more willing to learn and more comfortable in classroom settings after speaking with a teacher individually.) But, most importantly, although it’s easy to get held up worrying about grades in high school, remember to enjoy the moment.

By Robert Monovich

Marauder of the Week: Friday, February 11th, 2022

Iyonna Henderson

Iyonna Henderson

This week’s Marauder of the Week is Iyonna Henderson, a senior with an immense appreciation for education and the community here at Belmont High School. Her kind and friendly demeanor stands out, especially when she’s meeting new people. Her favorite subject is math, for the calmness it brings her and the way it gets her brain “flowing.” (By her own admission, it also helps that she is fairly skilled in the class.) Additionally, Iyonna has a particular affinity for her Social Justice By the Numbers and English classes. These classes help her to expand her thinking, allowing her to fully comprehend occurrences both in the world around her and in literature. Numerous teachers have had an impact on Iyonna in her years at BHS; she says of all of these teachers, “They keep me going when I want to give up.”

Iyonna participates in two clubs at Belmont High School: Latin Dance and Black In Belmont. More than anything else, she is grateful to be part of the Belmont community overall. Iyonna’s words of advice for underclassmen are to “stay in school,” “go to your classes,” and “don’t goof around” – while high school can be fun, it also takes hard work and dedication.

By Ani Belorian

Bianca Brezinsky

Bianca Brezinsky

Bianca Brezinsky is a great choice for Marauder of the Week! She enjoys all of her classes, but asked to pick two favorites, she would choose AP Latin and Social Justice By the Numbers. She likes the collaborative nature of these classes: students can learn from other students, and asking questions is encouraged. On top of that, she is fond of both ancient history and current events (which, after all, will be history one day). Bianca also has trouble choosing a favorite teacher, since BHS has so many excellent ones. Mr. Moresco, Mr. Bracey, and Mx. Marino are some of her favorites because of their contagious passion for their subjects – Social Justice By the Numbers, Latin, and Physical Education, respectively – and their concern for students’ wellbeing.

Outside the classroom, Bianca is a member of the robotics team. In her free time, she likes to learn American Sign Language, write, develop video games, and play Dungeons & Dragons. She has several diverse interests: the interplay of psychology and creation; chiaroscuro, or the use of strong contrasts between light and dark areas, in paintings; and photographing natural phenomena. Additionally, she would like readers to know that she “can lift one eyebrow at a time, but only the left one,” which enables her to “restructure the multiverse,” because “multiverse maintenance requires (among other things) the movement of one eyebrow at a time.”

Bianca has many pieces of advice for other BHS students. The first is, “Have answers prepared for Marauder of the Week.” The second is more profound: “Knit a sock: when you don’t know where to start, do something small and feasible to get the ball rolling. Focus on completing the first [two] minutes of any activity” that you find difficult, and soon “you may find yourself at the end.” The third is very relevant to high schoolers: “Don’t take yourself too seriously. Take some time to enjoy being yourself.” The last is a quote from Vizzini in The Princess Bride: “Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!”

By Helena De Figueiredo Valente

Marauder of the Week: Friday, January 28th, 2022

Megan Kornberg

Megan Kornberg

This week’s Marauder of the Week, senior Megan Kornberg, is a dedicated student in many different fields. She is most interested in English and Economics this year, with her English Capstone being a podcast about public housing accessibility. Unsurprisingly, her most influential BHS teacher has been Ms. Pleat, whom she had for English her sophomore and junior years. Megan says that Ms. Pleat helped her find her voice as a writer, and that she is a “literal ray of sunshine.” Megan is also interested in Economics, as it explains “how the main motivator of the world functions,” and “a lot of the concepts are applicable outside of an economics setting.” However, BC Calculus has been her most influential class, because it taught her to work hard and “relearn how to learn in a way that makes sense” for her. “It was a pain,” she says, “but an invaluable pain.”

In addition to enjoying a range of classes, Megan participates in a diverse selection of extracurriculars. She has played BHS and club volleyball for all four years of high school, plays the oboe in many ensembles in and out of school, does kung fu, and is a member of the robotics team. She’s also a member of Tri-M Music Honor Society, National Honor Society, the BHS business and marketing club, and the photography and portraiture club. She has had leadership experience at BHS as well: she is the president and co-founder of the Criminal Justice club, and has run panels for several clubs of which she is a part. For robotics, she ran a panel of women in STEM; for Criminal Justice, she “worked with the New England Innocence Project to highlight the stories of exonerees and flaws in the criminal legal system,” the accomplishment of which she is most proud.

If there’s anything Megan wants people to know about her, it’s that she’s “loud” and has “lots of opinions. That being said,” she adds, “if you ever need someone to talk to or just someone to rant to, you can talk to me. I’m all ears.” As shown through her Capstone, she is extremely passionate about housing; she believes that “everyone should have access to safe and affordable housing. Everyone deserves at least that.”

Megan has many words of wisdom for other BHS students: keeping expectations low will decrease stress, as “you’ll either be right or pleasantly surprised”; things don’t matter as much as people think they do; be friends with the teachers, as it will make school much more enjoyable; talk to the guidance counselors (“they’re there for guidance!”); and finally, everyone should say hello to the lunch ladies, because they’re “super nice and they’ll make your day”!

By Subi Upadhyay

Marauder of the Week: Friday, January 14th, 2022

Sami Awad

Sami Awad

An optimistic and conscientious senior, Sami Awad is a fitting Marauder of the Week. His jovial and eager-to-learn personality shines through the Belmont High School community and makes him a model student who embodies the school’s values. Sami’s favorite subjects over the years have been Calculus and Chemistry. He believes that while they seem different, they require the same skills; also, in both cases, his enjoyment of the subject is derived from its complexity. To succeed and gain meaning in these subjects, Sami thinks that it’s vital to form a true understanding of the formulas and theorems rather than simply regurgitating them.

Sami wants to recognize his most impactful teacher at BHS, Ms. Saxena, whom he had for AP Biology in his junior year. Sami says that although many students had trouble learning last year, Ms. Saxena kept pace with the curriculum and created an engaging classroom environment despite the difficulties of online learning. Ms. Saxena also kept students excited to learn by providing new and creative types of assignments.

Outside of the classroom, Sami has been a dedicated alto saxophonist in the BHS marching band since his freshman year, and more recently became an equipment manager for the band. He also serves as an underclassmen mentor program facilitator. However, Sami is most proud of his position as the senior class treasurer. Despite the challenges that the pandemic introduced, he and the other members of student government organized (and are still organizing) a myriad of fun events and activities, with the highlight being raising almost $20,000 for the senior all-night party at the end of the year! In addition to being involved with many BHS extracurriculars, Sami took advantage of quarantine by participating in online self-guided research exploring science and engineering topics through the Remote Experience for Young Engineers and Scientists program.

Sami’s words of wisdom for other BHS students are short and sweet (and especially relevant to seniors): “We only have five months left, have fun!”

By Shivane Pratap

Marauder of the Week: Monday, January 10th, 2022

Sofia Bili Rossi

Sofia Bili Rossi

Meet Sofia Bili Rossi, this week’s Marauder of the Week! Her interests include theater, robotics, and video games. She is especially passionate about theater and takes her role as the set crew chief of the Performing Arts Company very seriously. She is extremely proud of the PAC for getting through the pandemic and killing it in the fall play. Remember the incredible set from The Servant of Two Masters? We have Sofia to thank for that! She says that “although the actors and behind-the-scenes workers do different things, they play equally important roles and work together to create amazing productions.” Sofia considers the PAC her family and will be sad to leave her friends behind. People may see the PAC as “just theater,” but to Sofia and her crew, it’s so much more than that.

Sofia is interested in science and math and is taking computer science and AP Calculus this year. These classes, along with her robotics and set crew experience, have helped her decide she wants to pursue civil engineering. Her favorite teacher “would have to be Mrs. Masterson,” who has been “a huge help” with Sofia’s English Capstone project. 

Sofia feels strongly that people should do what they love instead of spending their lives on things that don’t bring them joy. Her words of wisdom for other BHS students are, “Do what makes you happy, not what others expect you to do. If you’re interested in something even a little bit, try it, because it’s now or never. Treat high school as a way to find out what you like and who you really want to be. Go all in.”

By Katie Brown

Lisa Bili Rossi

Lisa Bili Rossi

Senior Lisa Bili Rossi, an enthusiastic leader and community member, is this week’s Marauder of the Week! Lisa has had a diverse upbringing, moving between French and international schools; Belmont High is the first fully American school that she’s attended. She says that BHS is the best school at which she’s studied, because she appreciates the students’ independence and “everything they’re allowed to do [here].” In her four years at BHS, she has most enjoyed her science and math classes, but she’s also taking AP Art and 3D Printing because she “wanted to try something new” this year. Lisa felt supported by all of her teachers, especially during remote school last year, when online learning came as a challenge to her; as a result, she can’t pick a most influential teacher easily, although she wants to highlight Ms. Block, whom she thought was amazing.

Lisa is an avid member of the Performing Arts Company, having worked in the props crew since freshman year. She says the PAC “take[s] everyone in, regardless of skills,” and was a great community for her even when she didn’t speak English very well. Out of her many achievements within the PAC and within Belmont’s community, Lisa is most proud of “growing the PAC community with [her] leadership role.” Being a props crew chief, she has helped many underclassmen to feel accepted in the PAC and school community. She also appreciates how the PAC “has a lot of LGBTQ+ acceptance,” being both a member of the LGBTQ+ community herself and an active member of the school’s GSA. Lisa is “pretty excited about the actions the GSA is taking” to educate both staff and the general public about LGBTQ+ issues.

Outside of school, Lisa participates in athletic activities for fun, rather than as “something more competitive,” having tried “too many [sports] to list” throughout her life before settling on just enjoying physical activity recreationally. She also finds languages “pretty neat,” having a strong background in a number of them: she speaks English and French fluently, and understands Portuguese as her “second native language.” In school, she currently takes Spanish, but having moved a lot, she has studied many different languages in the past, including Italian, Latin and German.

Lisa’s words of wisdom for other BHS students are poetic and inspirational: “Don’t let the school’s academic expectations crush you, but know that you can rise above what you’ve already achieved.”

By Subi Upadhyay

Marauder of the Week: Friday, December 17th, 2021

Tiffany Hu

Tiffany Hu

For anyone that knows her, Tiffany Hu is an ideal candidate for Marauder of the Week. Her shining intellect and warm temperament are apparent upon a single interaction, whether it be as a peer or as a friend. Tiffany finds herself most captivated by a couple different subjects: English, specifically creative writing, and Math, specifically statistics. When describing the former, Tiffany emphasizes the beauty of words and how, by putting them together, they can create both “heartbreak and joy”. Storytelling has always been an outlet for her because it allows her to feel a sense of belonging. She knows that no matter if she is the only one who sees the words that flow across the paper, they matter and deserve to be heard. As for the latter, Tiffany finds that statistics is the art of confronting real world problems. She sees the beauty in the subject, saying that “unconfined, it touches every realm of information”. Through it, she is able to merge subjects she never thought possible. It is “the key to the unparalleled discovery of data into information”, Tiffany highlights. 

Through her years at Belmont High School, Tiffany has encountered a couple teachers who have made a significant impact on her. Mr. Moresco is one of them, who was the one who sparked Tiffany’s interest in mathematics. He was always enthusiastic, even in her sophomore year, when she had math during the purple mod. The passion he displays for his students’ wellbeing and unique energy make him someone Tiffany strives to be like one day. Another teacher who she admires is Ms. Vultaggio, who pushed Tiffany to pursue her interest in writing. She opened new academic opportunities for her which she never thought possible. Additionally, she is always there for Tiffany when she needs someone to talk to, whether it be about school or something else. 

Outside of school, Tiffany is heavily involved in the Belmont community. Aside from taking part in many volunteer opportunities around town, Tiffany is part of the science team. She is also part of the Belmont Highpoint Newspaper club where she is co-editor. Along with this, she has been recognized for her excellence in her creative writing pieces. Tiffany is most proud of herself for the way she gives back to the community. She feels that Belmont has done so much for her in her most influential years growing up, and so she hopes to return the compassion she was shown. Because of this, Tiffany is extremely passionate about improving literacy and higher education among minorities. She also wants to increase awareness of socioeconomic disparities by encouraging minority youth to break out of the boxes which history has placed them in and provide them with opportunities to pursue their passions. Tiffany encourages underclassmen to take chances in high school: “it’s okay to fail (after all, we are only human) because what’s important is that you have persevered”. You might be surprised by the result of that risk you decide to take.

By: Ani Belorian

Maria Mejia

Maria Mejia

Maria Mejia’s bright mind and kind soul shine through with every interaction, like rays of sunshine on a summer day. Through her years at Belmont High School, she has become someone that many people are proud to call a friend. 

Maria’s favorite subjects include Math and History. In the former, she likes the systematic way that she can solve problems. In the latter, she is interested in learning about different cultures, like how other countries and peoples handle similar situations, and also the impact of the past on today’s world. Some of the most interesting classes that she’s taken at Belmont High School included Physics, which allowed her to look at science in a new light that satisfied her curiosity of the world around her, and every math course she’s taken. Additionally, she takes Social Justice by the Numbers this year, a class which is the best of both worlds in her eyes. It incorporates history with math and data collection. Not only is the class taught by extremely passionate teachers, but the content they teach is very informative and intriguing, leaving one thinking about the issues that we face in today’s world. 

One of the most influential teachers she has had at Belmont High School has been Mr. Goldfine, whom she had junior year in Modern World History. Not only was he an amazing teacher, but he was also very supportive during the remote year, like helping with projects or with understanding something more thoroughly. 

In the Belmont community, Maria is one of the co-presidents of the BHS Yoga Club. There, she facilitates a relaxing environment through yoga and meditation, because “school is stressful enough”. She also took part in the ELL mentoring program over the summer, which she is so grateful to have had the opportunity to do. She helped her “mentee” improve their English, which really hit close to home for her because English wasn’t her first language either. The experience reminded her of the many teachers and people who helped her learn it. 

Maria is most passionate about the law and the justice system. She loves learning about the past and how it has an impact on our daily lives. She is also passionate about learning and achieving a higher education. 

In her down time, Maria enjoys hangouts with friends and skiing. In general, she cherishes doing things that allow her to spend quality time with people. As her words of wisdom for other BHS students, Maria advises people to take advantage of the many art electives offered at the high school. Though many people want to take as many APs as possible to get into competitive schools, it is important to have a class that allows you to release the day-to-day stress. She promises, “you will end up loving it no matter what and this is coming from someone who isn’t even good at art”. We wish Maria the best of luck as she leaves behind Belmont High School and navigates her future!

By: Ani Belorian

Marauder of the Week: Friday, December 10th, 2021

Katie Shea

Katie Shea

Katie Shea, a warm and funny senior with a talent for the performing arts, is this week’s Marauder of the Week! Her favorite subject is history because politics interest her, and learning about “trends of governments and civilizations throughout history” lets her “better understand society today.” Unable to choose a single most influential BHS teacher, Katie provided a list: Ms. Carlivati, who “made math understandable… twice (no small feat)”; Ms. Block, who was always “sweet” and kind; Mr. Berkman, who taught real-life skills in You and the Law; Mr. Abruzzese, who kept Chemistry entertaining by “lighting everything on fire”; Ms. Mastalong, who “put up with” Katie’s seventy-slide-long European History presentation; and Dr. Shea, whose class allows for “deep and engaging discussions” on “meaningful topics.”

The last teacher whom Katie “would like to thank” is Mr. Flam, for leading a program that has given her “space to be creative, learn new skills and make friends.” In addition to taking Advanced Acting and Directing during the school day, Katie is involved in the Performing Arts Company as an extracurricular: she is a captain of the Improv Troupe and recently starred in the fall play, The Servant of Two Masters. She loves being a part of the PAC – she had “so much fun performing” in the play, and was “so proud of the production and the amazing performances” of her castmates. The “relationships that [Katie] build[s]” are very important to her; for that reason, she is most passionate about her friends and family.

Katie’s words of wisdom for other BHS students cannot be overstated: “Try not to stress too much about high school.” (As “someone who wasted too much time stressing,” she understands that this can be easier said than done.) Also, “Try new things”: take classes and try “activities that sound fun (like Improv)! You never know what you might end up enjoying.”

By Claire Svetkey

Colin Shea

Colin Shea

Senior Colin Shea lives up to his Marauder of the Week title. His favorite subject is history, as he enjoys learning about how our world is shaped by those before us: we can learn from the mistakes of the past, as well as build on previous successes. His favorite teacher is Mr. Goldfine, who has taught Colin for two years in both economics and history. Colin likes how Mr. Goldfine uses innovative teaching methods to keep students engaged and make them feel confident.

Outside the classroom, Colin shines in sports. He was chosen as a captain for the coming BHS spring lacrosse season due to his commitment to the sport throughout high school. He also participates in the Belmont hockey program. He feels that he has made great progress as an athlete with the help of his coaches and teammates. On top of his own sports teams, Colin is proud to help with the Belmont Special Olympics program: he assists adults with flag football games on the weekends. Colin loves how sports bring people together to form close friendships. Colin is passionate about inclusivity, and hopes to use his role as a senior to help everyone feel safe and welcome at BHS.

Colin is honored to be Marauder of the Week, and has important advice for other BHS students: “The time at Belmont High School will go quicker than you expect. Do your best to get involved in any way you can whether that’s through clubs or sports. Attend different games for our school and make these four years count.”

By Helena De Figueiredo Valente

Marauder of the Week: Friday, December 3rd, 2021

Chiara Curtin

Chiara Curtin

This week’s Marauder of the Week is Chiara Curtin! Chiara is a passionate senior who enjoys learning about various matters. Chiara’s favorite classes are Creative Writing and Psychology. She likes psychology because “it is interesting to learn why we do specific things.” She also appreciates creative writing because it allows her to “embody things into a character [that] I might not be able to express myself through talking.” The BHS teacher who has had the most influence on Chiara has been Mr. Bruce. He has helped guide Chiara through her “high school experience,” and has helped her with struggles that have affected her inside and outside of school.

Chiara is especially proud of her work with her church. Alongside this, in junior year she was part of the leadership of Comfort club; being a part of Comfort club allowed her to make more friends, something about which she is glad. A value that Chiara holds dear to her heart is that everyone should feel “[i]ncluded, safe, and equal in their environment,” because she thinks that “everyone should be able to have the chance to succeed.”

Chiara’s wise words to all BHS students are, “When you decide to embrace yourself you become the best version of you.”

By Joel Iglesias

Shanta Pai

Olivia Hurtubise

It is our great pleasure to announce this week’s incredible Marauder of the Week, Shanta Pai! Shanta is a dedicated Belmont citizen both in and out of school. Her diverse interests range from her love of the outdoors to her interest in society and culture.

Shanta has been interested in nature since she was young. She is an avid rock climber (she even has her own home rock gym) and is on Central Rock Watertown’s varsity team! She competes in all three types of climbing: bouldering, lead climbing, and speed. Although her favorite type is bouldering, she loves competing all year in each division. In fact, she has been invited to and has competed at Regionals in both bouldering and lead for the past five years. She hopes to continue her journey and keep building amazing friendships. Shanta also encourages everyone to join the BHS rock climbing club for outdoor bouldering trips this spring. Shanta also loves other aspects of the outdoors, such as backpacking and going on adventures in nature. Additionally, she is very passionate about and proud of the work that Climate Action club has done over the past few years. She has helped expand the club and is working on several big projects, such as the upcoming native garden in Belmont. She finds it amazing to see the real changes that the club’s efforts have made, from solar power at the middle and high schools to getting more people to compost.

At school, Shanta is an all-around stellar student with a special affinity for French and psychology. This is her fourth year of taking French at BHS and she finds it fascinating. She loves learning about both the language and different French-speaking cultures around the world. Shanta also really enjoys her psychology class this year because she finds it captivating to learn about the reasoning behind behavior and psychology’s application in daily life. One of Shanta’s favorite BHS teachers is Mr. Moresco, who “makes Calculus actually fun!” Shanta says that he is always energetic and happy to help whenever anyone has questions. In addition, as the Climate Action club’s advisor, he has given a lot of guidance, advice, and project ideas.

Another interest of Shanta’s is music. She plays the bass in Chamber Orchestra and piano on her own. She also loves playing and listening to music by artists including Harry Styles, Madison Beer, and Taylor Swift! She leaves other BHS students with her words of wisdom: “Join lots of clubs and sports early and figure out what you really enjoy doing. Also, try rock climbing!”

By Joyce Gong

Marauder of the Week: Friday, November 19th, 2021

Henry Min

Henry Min

Senior Henry Min, a diligent student passionate about both learning and teaching, is a wonderful choice for Marauder of the Week. He believes that teachers and students share a very special bond, having had the opportunity to teach and learn many subjects over the course of his high school years. In school, his favorite subject is economics, as he “love[s] how the content we learn in class” has “direct links to real-life events.”

Outside of Henry’s academic interests, his primary passion is martial arts – more specifically, taekwondo. He is a fourth degree black belt, and has won gold at the 2019 national championships. His passion for teaching continues with martial arts as well, as he is a USA Taekwondo certified coach and referee. 

Henry has one word of advice for other BHS students: he would like them to “have fun in school and [to] not be afraid to give up when necessary.”

By Subi Upadhyay

Olivia Hurtubise

Olivia Hurtubise

With a vast array of interests and accomplishments, Olivia Hurtubise is an excellent choice for Marauder of the Week. She has two favorite subjects this year: Social Justice, because of its discussions on real and current issues from a fact-based perspective; and Calculus, because of its fun methods of complex problem-solving. Olivia is also happy to give recognition to her most impactful BHS teacher, Ms. Bloom, whom Olivia had for English in both her freshman and junior years. Through Ms. Bloom's guidance, Olivia noticed a significant improvement in her writing abilities. She enjoys talking to Ms. Bloom and praises her as a great teacher and person all-around.

Outside of school, Olivia is involved in an extensive number of rigorous extracurricular activities: she is the co-president of the BHS Feminist club and the costumes crew chief in the Performing Arts Company, she plays rugby, and she works at McLean Hospital. As the costumes crew chief, Olivia leads the costumes crew for all shows in the PAC this year. Overall, Olivia is most proud of being a co-president of the Feminist club since she feels that it is truly something the women of our school need. She says that over the past couple of years, the Feminist club has been an amazing space for girls to support each other and discuss feminist issues that apply to every area of life. Another passion of hers is rugby, where she loves the strong bond between teammates. Olivia believes that rugby is a great environment to learn without harsh judgement; everyone on the team encourages and supports each other.

Olivia’s advice for other BHS students is that they should follow their passions whether or not their usual friends are pursuing them as well. Pursue what makes you happy; if you're interested in something, do it!

By Shivane Pratap

Marauder of the Week: Friday, November 12th, 2021

Ensi Kamberi

Ensi Kamberi

Senior Ensi Kamberi is the epitome of a hardworking Belmont High School student. Ensi is most interested in the subject of mathematics, especially Geometry which she is taking this year. Her Algebra 1 teacher, Mr. Moresco, has been especially influential in her time at Belmont High School. In fact, he was the one who kindled Ensi’s interest in the subject which she is now so fond of. Over the summer, Ensi volunteered at a summer camp, where she made connections with others and did her part to contribute to the community. Additionally, Ensi is passionate about the art of music. Ensi is Albanian, a component of her identity which she believes she would not be the same without. As her words of advice to underclassmen, Ensi kept it short and sweet (and very wise): Enjoy the ride.

By: Ani Belorian

Viktor Insanic

Viktor Insanic

Senior Viktor Insanic, an athlete and humanitarian with an interest in the sciences, is a clear candidate for Marauder of the Week. His favorite school subjects are anatomy, biology and chemistry, as he is “definitely a science and math person” and has “always really enjoyed learning about the sciences.” Specifically, a favorite class of his was AP Biology with Ms. Saxena, whom he felt made the class “interesting and engaging” even during remote learning. Viktor plans on continuing to study the sciences in college: he wants to major in biology, chemistry, or biochemistry.

After school, Viktor takes part in many diverse extracurriculars. He plays three varsity sports at BHS – football, rugby and wrestling – all of which he has played since his freshman year. In football, he received the Coach’s Award as a sophomore and the Unsung Hero Award as a junior. He has also played rugby outside of BHS, on a U19 team supported by the New England Freejacks; he traveled with that team to Washington, D.C. for a game. Viktor takes pride in being on the rugby team, as he “love[s] the sport” and believes that “the team has great chemistry and an amazing attitude.” In addition to his impressive athletic career, Viktor has been on the robotics team since his freshman year, and is now an engineering division lead. This past summer, he also began “co-leading” a team of high schoolers with his cousin Enna Huseinovic, a senior at Winchester High School, to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; they’re currently preparing for a seven-week-long fundraiser that will happen in early 2022. Fittingly, Viktor says that he is “most passionate about helping others.” Although he feels that it can be “tough to find opportunities” to help in a “meaningful way,” both because of the pandemic and because he’s still in high school, he plans to engage in service “on a larger scale” sometime in the future.

Viktor’s words of wisdom for other BHS students are to put “all of your effort” into every task you perform, “no matter how mundane or repulsive it may seem.”

By Claire Svetkey

Marauder of the Week: Friday, November 5th, 2021

Cormac Minarovich

Cormac Minarovich

Cormac Minarovich, a senior with a variety of interests, is our Marauder of the Week this week. He has always enjoyed classes in both the Science and History departments, with biology being a special interest of his. This year in particular, AP Environmental Science and Neurobiology have been especially interesting to him. He says that “APES is very relevant to our time with the issue of climate change,” while he likes Neurobiology because it is “fascinating to learn how the brain works.” Although he cannot choose a single class that was most influential to his time at BHS, he says that if he had to pick one most influential teacher, it would be Ms. Williams. He had Ms. Williams for Chemistry sophomore year, as well as this year for APES and Neurobiology. He says that Ms. Williams “always has a way of making even the most boring concepts seem interesting.”

Outside of school, Cormac is a member of the hiking club and the history club, and enjoys hiking in New Hampshire and biking in his free time. Some words of wisdom he would like to share with other BHS students are, “Challenge yourself in high school, but also leave some time to be you.”

By Subi Upadhyay

Marauder of the Week: Friday, October 29th, 2021

Hamza Masoud

Hamza Masoud

This week’s Marauder of the week is senior Hamza Masoud. Hamza and I chose to speak in our new school’s library; its bustling, student-centered environment seemed fitting for an interview with someone so involved in the Belmont community. Hamza is a proud and active member of the Model UN, mock trial and TEDx clubs at BHS. He also speaks and teaches at the middle school for Model UN, and spends his summers tutoring. On top of that, he is the senior class president. “I really like student government,” he said. “Last year was definitely a challenging year for everyone, so I think it was interesting to be a part of the student government” in that difficult situation. He added that this year “we can change the school since school is still being defined” both in the new building and after remote learning, and “it’s fun having an influence on that.”

Hamza’s favorite school subjects are statistics, economics and mathematics. He finds them both fun and useful in the real world. His favorite and most influential class was his freshman year Latin class: much of the content was storytelling, which he found interesting and entertaining. While Hamza isn’t entirely sure what he’ll study in college, he’s considering classes related to government. 

Hamza’s words of wisdom for other BHS students are that you should partake in the things that you truly enjoy. Finding what you love when given countless opportunities to discover yourself is one of the most exciting aspects of high school. Hamza advises against doing extracurriculars just for the sake of doing extracurriculars. Instead, he says, “Do one or two things that you really enjoy, and do them well.”

By Tara Powell

Samantha Peterson

Samantha Peterson

Samantha Peterson, a strong student focused on the sciences, is a great choice for Marauder of the Week! The subject that most interests her is science in general, as she wants to go into the medical field as a profession. She also loves doing experiments and labs. Fittingly, the two teachers whom Samantha calls her most influential are both science teachers: Ms. Chen and Ms. Lewis. Samantha’s passion for science extends outside of the classroom – she is proud to have received two awards from the science community.

After school, Samantha is involved in the BHS Christian club. Additionally, she loves helping animals, cooking, and gardening. Her words of wisdom to other BHS students are to never turn down opportunities, as “you will gain so much from them.”

 By James Sandler

Marauder of the Week: Friday, October 22nd, 2021

Maya Rodriguez-Clark

Maya Rodriguez-Clark

This week's Marauder of the Week is Maya Rodriguez-Clark, a multi talented senior with many passions and achievements. One of Maya's biggest passions (and talents!) is running track. She's been a member of the BHS Girls Varsity Track Team for four years and qualified for states in two different categories (100 meter relay and long jump). She's especially grateful for the great friendships she has made and the support her team has shown her. The camaraderie she's experienced as part of the team is the reason why she recommends track to others. Maya's talents extend to the arts as well. One of her pieces was selected to be displayed in a gallery at UMass Dartmouth. She also received an honorable mention from Katherine Clark (yes, that Katherine Clark, our district representative!) in a Congressional Art Competition. Maya says that her most influential teacher throughout high school has been Mr. Milowsky (Milo), her drawing and painting teacher. His effort to create a bond between students in his art classes as well as his help with her growth as an artist and as a person throughout the pandemic, makes Milo stand out to her. Maya also feels passionate about history because “there are so many connections you can make as to why things work the way they do today”. Immigration rights and granting asylum to those who seek it are both important issues to her. Maya, herself an immigrant, would like others to know that people rarely want to leave their home country. “When they do (leave) it is because they feel forced to do so” and she thinks “the US should play a bigger role in helping people get the security they need”. While this article could be many pages long, I'll wrap up by sharing Maya’s words of wisdom that she would like to pass along to other Belmont High Schoolers: “If an assignment is due in a week, start it the day it is assigned.” Also, “join track!!”

Roger Hauck

Roger Hauck

Senior Roger Hauck is an individual whose many commendable characteristics make him an excellent candidate for this week’s Marauder of the Week. Roger is most interested in the subject of Psychology, which he defines as the study of the mind and behavior. He believes that these two factors are the most pivotal in suffering. He wants to explore Psychology so that he can discover ways to reduce suffering in people. In fact, two of the things he is very passionate about are happiness and suffering. One of the most influential teachers that Roger has come across in his years at BHS is Ms. Shah. She always pushed him, but he always knew that she truly cared. Outside of school, Roger takes karate lessons, but he is also leader of a club here at the high school. Roger runs the Anxiety Master Club, where he is focused on helping people create better habits and a more positive outlook through group discussions by talking through accountability, inspiration, and advice. He wanted to mention that if anyone is at all interested in the club, they should contact him at his school email: rhauck22@belmontschools.net

Over the spring and summer of 2020, Roger took part in Belmont Free Lessons, a student run organization that provided classes to students in the Belmont community. He helped manage the organization beside fellow students Derek Chen, Alice Liu, Kathy Sui, and Jason Tang. He also taught some art classes to elementary and middle school aged kids. His position as both a role model and source of happiness for both the parents and children is something that he is incredibly proud of.

As a final message, Roger wants all those underclassmen reading to know that although he may seem perfect on this piece of paper, he is just like them. He has failed many times, and continues to fail, but he sees these failures as outlets for growth. He believes that every single student in Belmont High School has the ability to push past failure and grow from it just as he has. From his life experiences, he has seen that “a path of effort usually brings more happiness than a path of idleness”. Lastly, Roger urges us all to, “Eat bitter, taste sweet”. Work hard, and you’ll reap the reward. 

By: Ani Belorian

Marauder of the Week: Friday, June 11, 2021

Lot Bates

Lot (middle) with his piano trio

Lot (middle) with his piano trio

This week’s Marauder of the Week is junior Lot Bates, a passionate musician and linguaphile. His favorite class is Chinese with Ms. Gu. At an early age, Lot gained “a profound respect for Chinese language and culture” from Chinese tenants who lived in his house; he came to see Chinese as “one of the most beautiful languages.” Ms. Gu has been very influential to Lot – he calls her “a very kind human being” who gave him “motivation and resources to continue learning what [he] enjoy[s].” Lot also mentioned Ms. Melnikoff, the BHS community service director, who has helped him understand both what a “selfless person looks like” and how he can effectively help his community.

Lot enjoys playing cello in and out of BHS. At school, Lot is part of the Chamber Orchestra. Outside of school, he plays in the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra and the ChamberMusicLab at Rivers School Conservatory. Along with his friend Gaeun Lee, a pianist, he will play Shostakovich’s “Trio No. 2” and Brahms’s “Trio No. 1.” His love for music also inspired him to mentor younger students through Belmont’s Tri-M Music Honor Society chapter; he will serve as the chapter’s secretary next year. Lot used to be on the boys’ cross country and track teams, and could run a mile in “4:47,” but he “discontinue[d]'' his running to focus on music and academics. Additionally, he does community service with the Belmontian club – this school year he served as its treasurer, and as a senior he will be its co-president – and earned a gold President’s Volunteer Service Award last year. Another of Lot’s many passions is cooking. He likes experimenting with “different tastes and cultural culinary specialties,” and has made dishes including Kimchi, Phô, and Korean hotpot. Still, he always returns to his favorite baked good: “Banana bread.”

Lot’s advice for other BHS students is that “the teachers at BHS really support you, and if you show them your interest… they are bound to reciprocate [with] their joy of teaching you.” Lot finds it important to be kind, because, in his words, “[I]t makes every environment I am in feel more supportive. I hope everyone can be kind and accepting.”

By Joel Iglesias

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.)