The Horizon

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June 2021 Volume 34 New England High School Journalism Collaborative | Regis College

The Unseen Pandemic: Combating Racial Stress BY RIA RANIWALA


n light of the recent spike in acts of racism against Asian-Americans throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, a center at Massachusetts General Hospital is shedding light on the often overlooked psychological stress they experience. The Center for Cross-Cultural Student Emotional Wellness, first founded in 2014 by clinicians Justin Chen, Albert Yeung, and Lusha Liu, was established because of the few resources available to increasing numbers of Asian American students facing anxiety and depression. “Mental health is centered around a very mainstream, traditionally white population,” said Chen, now the center’s executive director. “I actually tend to believe culture is more foundational. I don’t think I can understand someone until I

understand their cultural background, their assumptions, and influences.” Through factsheets, consultations, and professional education, the center has been working for over half a decade to address integrating culture with mental health care. After a recent mass shooting that killed several Asian Americans, however, its focus expanded. The shooting in which eight were killed at Gold’s Spa in Atlanta, was one of many recent attacks against Asian Americans, several of which were suspected as being motivated by the coronavirus and its origins in East Asia. In a study done by advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate, Asian Americans reported more fear over pandemic-related racism than the pandemic itself.




From left to right, Karen, grandmothers Cuilan Chen and Rongzhen Cao, and Winnie.


Students at a Strike for Climate in England in 2019.




“Documenting, making food, and showing what I’m eating in this weird time – I asked Karen to join me on this endeavor because we had grown up cooking and eating together,” said Winnie. “I thought it was a great idea,” added Karen. “The whole entire world shut down, so everyone was scrambling to figure out what to do with food.” The pandemic gave them spare hours, so the sisters put their skills to use. A year and three months later, Quaraneat has more than 6,000 followers, has made close to 200 posts, and has been featured by New York Times Cooking on 10 occasions. The sisters noted that they feel a community through their page. As they are

s coronavirus pandemic restrictions have been lifted in Boston, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has announced two youth summits to create future leaders in health. The C-Change summits will take place in July – one will focus on public health and the other will explore climate change. Program director Dr. Aaron Bernstein, a pediatric specialist at Boston Children’s Hospital, will lead both. Bernstein, who has worked in the field of climate and health for 25 years, said the program will be held in person for its inaugural year. Conceived as a response to the influential youth climate movement by Gina McCarthy, the climate advisor to the Biden administration, and former Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, the C-Change summits aim to introduce students from diverse backgrounds to pressing public health issues, such as the effects of air pollution. For two weeks, students will hear from experts on public health and climate change, including Howard Kho, former assistant secretary of health for the US Department of Health and Human Services, and Nadia Nazar, founder of Zero Hour,


BE PART OF THE CHANGE continued on page 2

Dr. Justin Chen, left, meets with participants after a talk.

STOP THE HATE continued on page 12

RECIPES FOR UNDERSTANDING hen the pandemic broke out in the US, two sisters had time on their hands. Their common passion for cooking prompted them to begin a food page on Instagram. As their following grew, they used food to connect across cultures and cultivate a community. Karen and Winnie Li founded Quaraneat in March 2020. The sisters realized that eating out was not an option for many people confined to their homes. Because of the greater need for cooking, they created their account to share recipes.


Basketball player Jeremy Lin, right, at a recent conference to discuss some mental health issues of Asian Americans.

It’s Zero Hour for Climate Change BY ELENA GORNEAULT


nce just a thought among a group of high school students, Zero Hour has become a youth-led organization focused on combating climate change. The organization, which got its start in 2017, in recent years has held an arts festival, summits, and a lobby day to bring awareness to the issue. Founded by Jamie Margolin, Nadia Nazar, Madelaine Tew and Zanagee Artis, the youth organization also includes adults and has grown to include several US chapters and others in countries such as Canada, Australia, and Spain, according to its website. Sohayla Eldeeb, 20, director of global outreach for Zero Hour, joined the group three years ago while in Egypt educating young people about the environment. “I witnessed that America was also pretty behind on sustainable processes and policies and that inspired me to get involved, which is the general environmental issue,” Eldeeb said. Eldeeb added that she hopes that students who get involved with Zero Hour learn about climate justice and how it

is connected to other social justice issues, including how climate change affects people and their communities. Young people are taught how to help create a sustainable future and ways to get involved and advocate within their communities. Age isn’t a limit to getting involved. “You’re never too young to take action,” Eldeeb said. “I think a lot of people always feel pressured or scared that if they want to get involved — they have to do something big to get involved.” “But just simply hanging up a poster at your school or talking among your peers about this issue is good enough, or getting involved on social media. So everyone can play a role and it really does not matter how big that role is,”she added. According to its website, among the organization’s achievements are the 2019 Climate Summit in Miami that introduced 350 people to the issue of climate justice and activism, an arts festival in Washington D.C. in 2018 to celebrate the Zero Hour movement and the earth through art, and a 2018 Youth Climate Lobby Day in Washington, D.C.

Sohayla Eldeeb, left, and group of student organizers. RECIPES FOR UNDERSTANDING continued from page 1

vocal about their Asian American identity and share cultural dishes from their family; this support became especially evident when they advocated against anti-Asian sentiment. Bringing attention to the hate crimes towards AAPI people, the Li sisters partnered with celebrity chef of Queer Eye Antoni Porowski. Together in February, they held a livestream event, cooking



Chinese scallion pancakes and raising money for the organization StopAAPIHate. “I feel like we were in front of a global audience to spread this message and just to give people a glimpse into another culture,” said Winnie. The livestream gained over 570,000 views, and the sisters raised over $2,000. “It’s a food Instagram, but we try to make it something more meaningful and have, in the end, Winnie and I’s general love for the people around us,” said Karen. “Food brings together so many people.”

A group of Road Scholar travelers pre-pandemic.




him the opportunity to both travel and write. “I used to travel and go on road trips with my grandparents...combining my love of travel as well as writing skill, is why I picked this industry,” he said. Heppner said that not only did the pandemic curtail travel plans for him and others, it also hampered the educational organization’s ability to raise money. Before the pandemic, Road Scholar was educating more than 150,000 people a year, traveling to a new country. Before people can go on a Road Scholar trip, however, Heppner said they must be vaccinated. But he added that more people will be likely to go back to traveling, after a year of being locked in their homes.

BE PART OF THE CHANGE continued from page 1

mate policies and improved public health infrastructure. Bernstein said that the removal of pandemic restrictions provides opportunities for this. “I think that whenever society is repressed, at some point you can’t keep people down. And when that happens the people who’ve been kept down become more vocal and combative. “In the context of advocacy, before the pandemic, we had huge youth climate marches and that momentum was truncated by quarantines, and I expect that’s going to come back, but it’s certainly going to be a lot bigger than last year,” he added.

lderHostel, now known as Road Scholar, was founded in 1975 as a not-for-profit educational travel organization. But like most other organizations that help people with travel plans and sponsor trips, Road Scholar was forced to go the virtual route, sponsoring travel talks and lectures for customers online. But beginning in July, the company, based in Boston, will help travelers hit the road offering their vast array of destinations both in the United States and abroad. Christopher Heppner is the head of the Communications Department for the nonprofit organization. He said his job affords

a national youth movement focused on combating climate change. Additionally, students will participate in field trips and cultivate skills in team building. “We want to make sure the students who come are able to get to know each other, so one of the goals we’ve set is to build cohorts over time,” said Bernstein. There’s the opportunity for like minded, passionate students to build a community. I think that’s a big win.” The high schoolers attending the C-Change summits are encouraged to use their learning to advocate for future cli-


STAFF REPORTERS Carlos Aragon Malden High School Jaeel Beato Lynn Classical High School Alex Chou Boston Latin School Ryleigh Emmert Lewiston High School Elena Gorneault Plainville High School Dallas Jackson Concord Carlisle High School Emma Kostyun Pittsfield High School Adelle MacDowell Lamoille High School Ian MacDonald Kennebunk High School Temia Murray Blue Hills Technical Regional High School

Corey Allen NEHSJC Board Member Suffolk Construction Paula Bouknight NEHSJC Board Member Assistant Managing Editor, The Boston Globe Mike Carraggi NEHSJC Board Member Reporter, Ann Moritz NEHSJC Board Member Moritz Advisory Group GUEST SPEAKERS / WRITING COACHES Allana Barefield The Boston Globe Rony Camille Tyngsborough Television Chris Faraone DigBoston Abdallah Fayyad The Boston Globe

Ria Raniwala Wilton High School

Beverly Ford Freelance Journalist

Karen Rivera Malden High School

Marcela Garcia The Boston Globe

Paola Ruiz East Boston High School

Samantha Mercado

Isabel Xue Middlesex School

Erica Moura Simmons University


Mollie Muchna Trusting News

Thomas Coughlin Emerson College Noah Greif Boston University Clea Matt Pace University

Justin Silverman New England First Amendment Coalition


Charles St. Amand Suffolk University

Leah Lamson NEHSJC Managing Director

Alan Wrizbicki The Boston Globe

Colleen Malachowski Carole Remick Endowed Chair, Regis College Michelle Johnson NEHSJC Web Producer Associate Professor of the Practice/Journalism, College of Communication Boston University Christine Varrieur NEHSJC Print Designer Sr. Manager, UX Design & Research, Dunkin’ Brands Milton Valencia NEHSJC President Reporter, The Boston Globe


Jeneé Osterheldt The Boston Globe

SPECIAL THANKS Mary Kaye Leonard The Carole C. Remick Foundation Tara Cleary New England Newspaper and Press Assoc. The Boston Globe Regis College Simmons University Society of Professional Journalists, NE Chapter


The Dawn of a New Era of Mental Health Awareness We are The Horizon. We are separated by distance, by computer screens, by a pandemic. But the shared experience of our generation, Gen Z, connects us. We’ve grown up with a climate crisis hanging over our heads and come of age in a bitterly divisive political landscape. Instilled with dread about our future and with social media as an insidiously destructive force, our generation faces a mental health crisis. This has been a growing concern for years, and months of isolation, online school, and fear only

exacerbated the situation. Our generation is struggling now more than ever. School closures caused some students to struggle, but when schools embraced a greater focus on well-being, it helped alleviate stress for other students. This shows that in the past, our education system has prioritized schoolwork and grades over mental health, and has failed to provide us with the support we need. We’ve learned that we must advocate for ourselves. Although our individual pandemic experiences have differed, together, we’ve become more vocal proponents of mental health. We’ve pushed to destigmatize mental health struggles and the conversations around them. We will hold onto our conviction to persevere and stand up for ourselves. Through the challenges posed by the pandemic, we rose brighter and stronger

than ever. Sixteen months spent apart from others made us check in on ourselves: at-home workouts, meditation, journaling, and learning who we are and how to love who we’ve become. As Gen Z, we are living through some of our most formative years in a chaotic time. We are rebuilding, and as we do so, we’ll start conversations that will broaden our horizons. The horizon is the line where the earth and sky meet. It is the location where the sun first appears during the dawn of day. It is also where the sun last sets as twilight falls, signaling an interlude of darkness and then a morning to come. We will bravely reach for this horizon and rise to places untrodden before. – RYLEIGH EMMERT, EMMA KOSTYUN, ADELLE MACDOWELL, RIA RANIWALA, AND ISABEL XUE


Boston Backs Their Youth BY KAREN RIVERA


n the summer, jobs for teenagers can mean a sense of responsibility, saving up for college, or finding a distraction that keeps them productive rather than on the streets. However, according to a study by Cision PR Newswire, as of June 6th 2020 the youth unemployment rate was at a record high of 31 percent. That high percentage point has been attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. Communities and people of color have been disproportionately affected by the virus, leaving much of today’s youth unable to find a source of income. As of 2008, going onto their 14th annual year, the MLK Summer Scholars program has been offering opportunities for the youth of Boston by providing them with “meaningful summer work experience and personal development.” PHOTO CREDIT: MAAH

The group of MLK Scholars from 2019.



or nearly a decade, the Museum of African American History has been hosting the MLK Scholars, a teen community engagement program. High school students from Boston immerse themselves into their ancestral history and into African-American history over the course of six weeks. This summer, seven scholars will be engaged in an animation art project to produce a series of images on a historic figure of their choosing. The museum prides itself on presenting these innovative projects to young people so that they can reflect on what they see, on themselves and their personal identities, and understand diverse circumstances in a larger historic narrative. “This program is a great way for kids to learn while creating connections with their peers and connections with history,” said L’Merchie Frazier, the museum’s director of Education and Interpretation. Past projects include having the students reimagine historic AfricanAmerican monuments, creating art designs for a John Hancock connector wall (which links the corporate museum with the Lab of Forward Thinking), and researching the 54th Regiment. Along with their main activity, the


students also attend four different forums that use Dr. Martin Luther King’s teachings – about community, civic and social engagement, and culture ­– to help them develop essential life-skills. Autumn Cole, the Education Manager, and Frazier said they were happy that this summer’s session will be in-person with an option of participating remotely for those who have work or would prefer to take part remotely. The scholars will be working with Cagen Luse, the creator of LunchTime ComiX, who will instruct them on how a story unfolds in only a few images. It’s a troubling task to tell someone’s history,

someone’s story in only a few images. There is no way to tell everything. “We don't want the teens to feel like they have to tell everything, only the core ideas,” Frazier said. She and Cole plan to share the finished project with students and teachers at local schools in the fall, making them question “How come I never learned about that?” The museum's social media page is filled with photos, poems and inspirational quotes by the scholars themselves. “We are using social media to bring to life what a textbook cannot,” Cole said.


MLK Scholars from 2020 working on their project on the 54th regiment.

John Hancock has invested millions of dollars to fund various summer jobs, and works in close partnership with The Boston Globe, Boston University, Partners HealthCare and the City of Boston to offer the program. When asked how the program has changed the lives of the teenagers Annie Duong-Turner, US Community Investment Lead at John Hancock, explained the process the students go through in being selected for this program. “The scholars know they have been chosen for this opportunity because they have demonstrated leadership potential in their communities,”said Duong-Turner. “That’s very special to our youth.” After the pandemic hit, it brought complications for the scholars and program; various business and nonprofit organizations shut down. That didn’t stop the scholars, Duong-Turner said. “[They] made a commitment early on to continue this canceling it was non-negotiable.” Despite having to overcome the difficult year everyone had to endure, the program has continued to push for economic empowerment and level the playing field for youth in Boston. Darius Vincent, a former MLK Summer Scholar and current member of the program’s youth council, said the program “gives youth a good way of being heard...and gives them a sense of knowledge.” Vincent said the program strives to “educate the youth about what they need to know to have that foundation at a younger age to be more successful earlier in life.”




or 123 years, the Boston Marathon ran on Patriots Day. It was a time when Bostonians came together to cheer on runners, many of whom raised money for charity. Even with the tragic bombing at the finish line in 2013, the marathon continued as planned in 2014. However, due to the spread of COVID-19, the 2020 marathon was delayed and eventually canceled. Runner Andrea Pantos-Berger said that she was disappointed due to “all of the work [she] put in” with her training beginning in December of 2020. She said she usually does

“16-20 weeks of training.” In addition to the rigorous training she undergoes, 2020 would have been Pantos-Berger’s first time running the Boston Marathon. Despite this, she said that the “choice was right” due to the threat that COVID posed to large gatherings. Although the virtual marathon was incredibly different from the in-person one, that doesn’t mean it was necessarily worse. It was much more flexible in terms of date, time and location. Family and friends ran alongside Pantos-Berger, which would not have been possible normally. Even so, the lack of audience

and large-scale celebration made it feel a bit “anticlimactic.” In addition to the Boston Marathon, the Tough Ruck is also run under the Boston Athletic’s Association and was also postponed due to COVID. Rucking is similar to marathoning, although a key difference is that participants run with backpacks or rucksacks. Rucker Nick Ingles said he was a “little disappointed” in the postponement, although a bit relieved as it gave him more time to train. The postponement of the marathon is a historic event, as it’s the first time it’s not on Patriots Day. Even so, Pantos-Berger said that



t can be a daunting task for some people to move from their childhood home, but imagine moving a professional baseball team? Alex Richardson, head of Baseball Operations & PHOTO CREDIT: NOAH GREIF Community Relations, underThe Worcester Red Sox have re-energized the community with stands that difficulty after the Red the building of Polar Park, pictured here. Sox Triple-A affiliate’s departure from Pawtucket. After politically driven battles and disputes, the organization saw that their time in become a community staple. Rhode Island was coming to a close. So, after 50 years, Even the Smiley Ball mascot is an homage to the the team was pursuing new horizons. city that birthed the original Smiley Face. In May, after a seven-week COVID delay, minor “We are a sports team that wears the city on the league baseball was back in Worcester. front… we have to represent the people from the Worcester's long baseball history appeared to be the city,” Richardson said when asked about the impact perfect foundation for the team to grow, but Richardson Worcester has had on the team. acknowledged that changes would need to be made. For the Woo Sox, representing the City of “You have to rebrand no matter what,” he said. Worcester is an honor they do not take lightly. While Rebranding meant adapting to fit the Worcester cul- it's exciting to host some of the Red Sox’s future stars ture. The most important thing to the Woo Sox organi- and rehab big names such as Chris Sale to the orgazation was to honor and give back to the community. nization, nothing beats having the home crowd cheer Polar Park is not only a place for baseball games; them on. it also has hosted major events, such as high school Now backed by the city's support, the team is lookgraduations and serving as a site for COVID-19 vacci- ing to make its mark on minor league baseball and nations. In a few short months, Polar Park has quickly show that the Worcester Red Sox are here to stay.


Andrea Pantos-Berger, left, nears the finish line in the virtual marathon. “it’s important the event is being hosted at all.” “If anything, this pandemic has taught us flexibility and resiliency,


and we need to be adaptable and know that things aren’t going to look the way we expected them to,” she said.

Rugby in the United States: A Question of “When” Not “If” BY IAN MACDONALD


ugby has been around since 1823 and has yet to establish a foothold in the United States. However, Oliver Englehart of the New England Free Jacks believes a breakthrough is coming. Englehart, a Free Jacks player and director of team operations, said the team has taken many approaches to increasing the fan base of Major League Rugby (MLR), and the cards seem to be stacking in their favor. Englehart emphasized that youth involvement has significantly increased the popularity of rugby in New England. At a youth level, the team takes the approach of “mass participation,” said Engelhart. “Once [they] experience it, we think that people fall in love with it.” Through this approach, the Free Jacks expect more participation in New England than ever before. Youth participants are funneled into 13 teams across the New England region. These groups disperse into high school and club leagues. Players who become immersed in the sport feed into college and “Junior Jacks” programs. Building support with youth is crucial. In addition, the Free Jacks focus on New England sports fans. “The whole [New England] area falls in love with…their teams,” said Englehart, adding this helps with filling stadiums. New England Football has a loyal and active fanbase, and rugby was one of the sport’s precursors, dating back over 100 years. As a player on the Free Jacks, Englehart notes players are “really invested in that team culture,” which is usually reciprocated by sports fans. A loyal team base is the key to a loyal fanbase, according to Engelhart. “People don’t fall in love with the sport, they fall in love with the people who play the sport,” he said.


Jaeel Beato

Meet the Staff of

Jaeel, 17, is a rising senior at Lynn Classical High School. Although he doesn’t have too much experience in written journalism, he does have experience with broadcast journalism, doing the morning news at school. He loves conducting interviews and hosts a show called Ram Talk, chatting with fellow students on a variety of topics. He decided to join NEHSJC to expand his knowledge in other areas of journalism. Jaeel enjoys recording YouTube videos in his free time, and he plays tennis on the varsity team. In the future, he hopes to attend Emerson College and go into broadcast journalism. BY CARLOS ARAGON

Ryleigh Mae Emmert

Ryleigh, 17, is a rising senior at Lewiston (ME) High School, where she serves as class president and the editorin-chief of the school newspaper Indigo Ink. In addition to being the city Youth Poet Laureate, she is a member of her school restorative justice program and the city youth advisory council. An aspiring journalist, she particularly enjoys writing about social justice issues and environmental policy, and also hopes to explore political science, sociology, and women and gender studies in the future. BY ALEX CHOU

Paola Ruiz

Emma Kostyun

Paola, 18, is a recent graduate of East Boston High School and will be attending Tufts University double-majoring in English and film/media. Along with school Paola balances a life of sports as part of the Track and Field team, and works for a non-profit organization providing community services. Her interest in writing began at a young age when she wanted to “write books.” That passion continued over her four years in high school. She also gained experience in journalism through the Princeton journalism summer program. Paola says her future will be a combination of journalism and writing. BY KAREN RIVERA

Emma, 17, a graduate of Pittsfield High School, is a multifaceted future journalist. Her passion for truthful and inclusive news has led her to pursue journalism, music, and Spanish at UNH in the fall. Her love for music comes from a background in three instruments (her favorite is the bassoon) and theater. As a founding member of the speech and debate club, she is versed in both philosophical discussions (is a hot dog a sandwich?) and more serious topics. A recipient of the Daniel Pearl Journalism Scholarship, she will look for ways to diversify the news industry and unite the world. BY DALLAS JACKSON

Ria Raniwala

Ian MacDonald

Ria, 16, is a rising senior at Wilton (CT) High School, where she is currently the vice president and participates in the school’s newspaper Wilton High School Reform. Not only is she in the newspaper club she also is co-captain of the debate team, participates in her student government, on the field hockey team, and the captain of the robotics team. As a rising journalist, Ria has been writing poetry about everyday life at her school. While she enjoys participating in her newspaper club and her debate team, Ria has decided to focus on pursuing political and immigration journalism. BY TEMIA MURRAY


Ian is a 17-year-old rising senior at Kennebunk High School in Maine, where he writes for his school paper, The Herd. Ian’s involvement in journalism started when he was in middle school and stems from an interest in sports and politics. He now hosts a podcast called Strictly Business, where he’s interviewed a famous TikToker. Ian is a pole vaulter and alpine skier, and is vice president of the chess club at Kennebunk HS. He is also a self-declared spikeball expert. Ian hopes to attend a small college in New England and study journalism and communications. BY ADELLE MACDOWELL


Dallas Jackson

Dallas, 18, is from Dorchester and is a recent graduate of Concord Carlisle Regional High School where she played varsity sports as a member of both the softball and hockey teams. Dallas was the winner of the 2020-2021 Varsity Hockey Coaches Award. She worked with the television station NESN and the Boston Bruins writing and participating in interviews. Dallas plans to pursue her passion for journalism at Hofstra University in Long Island this fall. She will major in journalism with a focus in sports media and a possible minor in political science. BY ELENA

Alex Chou


Alex, 16, is a rising senior at Boston Latin School where he has showcased several of his leadership roles as editor-inchief of the science magazine, treasurer of his volunteer organization, president of the music service club, and vice president of the premedical society. He also enjoys participating in school public speaking contests and volunteering at his local hospital and YMCA. In his free time, he enjoys learning music and playing instruments, such as the piano and ukulele. He enjoys exploring a broad range of topics in journalism, and hopes to go into a career in health someday. BY JAEEL BEATO

Adelle MacDowell

Temia Murray

Adelle, 17, is a rising senior at Lamoille Union High School in Johnson, VT., in the northern part of the state. She holds a deep passion for journalism. Adelle spends her free time running cross country and track for her school, skiing during the winter months and playing euphonium in the band. Despite all that she still finds time to create compelling collages out of found objects. In the future Adelle hopes to study journalism, more specifically investigative journalism to seek justice through truth. Adelle hopes to tell the stories of those who don’t get their stories told. BY EMMA

Temia is a 16-year-old junior out of Blue Hills Regional Technical School in Canton. She enjoys writing about current events, most notably politics, wars, immigration, or anything that will have a big effect on the world. Temia is also a proud member of her school’s Multicultural Club and a lifelong honors student. When she is not busy keeping up with the world, Temia competes in track and swimming while spending her free time in artistic fields. Formerly a dancer of 12 years as well as an actor, Temia frequently draws and watches anime. BY IAN MACDONALD


Carlos Aragon

Karen Rivera

Elena Gorneault

Isabel Xue

Carlos, 17, is a rising senior at Malden High School. He is a managing editor of print and design for his school newspaper, The Blue and Gold. In addition, he has explored other areas of journalism. With a passion for photography, he feels proud when he captures moments. This year, he enjoyed working on his school’s swim team photo gallery. When not with his camera, Carlos can be found pursuing another interest of his: reporting. One of his favorite articles was on his class’s self-produced talent show. In the future, Carlos is thinking about studying law or political science. BY ISABEL XUE

Elena, 18, is a recent graduate of Plainville High School in Connecticut and will be attending Central Connecticut State University in the fall. A dedicated athlete, she served as the captain of the girls’ outdoor track team at her school, and participated in varsity soccer and basketball. Elena’s interest in journalism was sparked when she took a course in her senior year. She enjoys journalism for its storytelling aspects, and the inspiration it gives her to learn about different cultures and places. BY RYLEIGH MAE EMMERT


Karen, 17, is an experienced print reporter and budding broadcaster with a love for human interest stories. A rising senior at Malden High School, Karen plays soccer in the fall and writes for her school paper The Blue & Gold yearround. As the personal protege of Boston 25 News reporter Crystal Haynes, she hopes to pursue broadcast journalism in the future, ideally at Emerson College. Between her blooming writing career, her job at Dick’s sporting goods, and her responsibility taking care of two younger sisters, Karen always makes time for her personal hobby - journaling - at the end of the day. BY RIA RANIWALA

Isabel, 16, is a rising senior at Middlesex School in Concord. Her passion for writing started at a young age as a way to bring to life her imagination. In 7th grade she completed her first novel, Sky Kingdom, self-published on Amazon. In high school she is the head and editor in chief of countless clubs; the literary magazine, the newspaper, the finance club, mental health club and more. Isabel identifies as a peacemaker. In her writing, she continues to explore and challenge that part of herself. For fun, Isabel loves producing films and music. BY PAOLA RUIZ


Wily Supports Students Working Toward Bright Futures BY ADELLE MACDOWELL


rystal Herrera first heard about the Wily Network through a friend during her freshman year of college. “I noticed she always had snacks,” Crystal said. “She goes, ‘Wily sent me a care package,’ and I was like, ‘who’s Wily?’” The Wily Network is a program that provides a support system for students in the greater Boston area who are navigating the college experience by themselves. Judi Alperin King founded the Wily Network in 2015. She was inspired by an article in the New York Times describing programs aiding college students who were formerly in foster care. King has a background working with younger children who have faced significant hurdles in their lives, but was drawn to work on a college campus. When she read the article, she knew immediately. “[I] said, ‘oh my gosh, this is what I’m going to do.’”

The Wily Network offers financial support for the Wily Scholars to help cover gaps in their budget. The scholars have weekly meetings with clinical coaches, who help them work towards their goals. The program hosts monthly “Dining Out with Wily” dinners at local restaurants, and focuses on creating a strong sense of community. Crystal Herrera, 20, is a first generation college student studying architecture at Northeastern University. She said she was hesitant to reach out to the Wily Network. “It was just very, very hard to ask for help,” Herrera said. After the COVID-19 pandemic forced students to return home, Herrera got in contact with King. Herrera said the Wily Network “took off so much stress,” especially during the pandemic. The Wily Network adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic in a variety of ways. “Dining Out with Wily” became “Dining In

Wily director Judi Alperin King with a coach, left, and a scholar, center with Wily,” and Scholars and coaches ate takeout meals together on Zoom. “The program did an amazing job moving everything online,” said King. Herrera is currently staying in Austin, TX, with two other Wily scholars. She’s in-


terning for a nonprofit that helps provide essential services for breast cancer patients. “We help them...the same way that Wily helped me,” Herrera said. “That was super fulfilling.”



n response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Team Harmony Foundation needed to find ways to adapt its international campaign. They stepped into the digital world and still managed to unite youth in the battle against hate in all its forms. “[Team Harmony] gives the young people involved a sense of purpose,” said Rick Rendon, senior partner and co-founder of The Rendon Group. Team Harmony has motivated young people to be on the forefront on issues of racial and social justice. The foundation seeks to combat hate and promote acceptance and inclusion through youth activism. The Team Harmony Coalition is a diverse set of organizations. Team Harmony brings these organizations together to provide training for youth groups.



“Several organizations gave us recommendations and contacts to help recruit youth reporters,” said Rendon. “Their guidance, their input, their reflection on our thoughts and ideas have all been critical components of the success of the campaign.” Team Harmony’s monthly web series “Hate: What are You going

to do?” was developed by 90 to 100 youth reporters from about 40 different countries. This web series features inspiring stories from global reporters all over the world. Each episode highlights ways people can efficiently tackle hate and injustice. The idea to begin the series was inspired by the coronavirus pandemic. “We had to think quickly

and we came up with the idea that we would go virtual like the rest of the world,” said Rendon. Youth global reporters have touched upon a wide variety of subjects ranging from the Black Lives matter movement to women’s rights. A number of prominent leaders who deal with those issues were highlighted and interviewed by the reporters shedding light on the key important issues. “A lot of people don’t understand that hate has no boundaries,” said Rendon.“It's encouraging to see young people step up to address those issues and to highlight people in their schools and communities that are trying to remedy or to address all the hate that is going on.” Rendon mentioned that he would like to see people become educated, inspired, and feel empowered through Team Harmony.

Team Harmony’s partnership with Emerson College helped create and conduct the Team Harmony Virtual Institute for Activism, which teaches young people the skills to engage in difficult conversations and spread awareness. “As my grandad used to say, always dare to dream and dare to do. Next on the horizon for us is that we’d like to bring back the traditional rally that we did many years ago,” said Rendon. In the Fall of 2022, Team Harmony’s goal is to hold a nationwide rally. They want to bring youth leaders from around the country to Tulsa, OK, to witness the site of the 1921 racial massacre. Team Harmony would like to see more people become involved in the efforts to effectively end worldwide hate and successfully advocate for racial and social justice.


Andrew Harris Elevates Voices Through a Different Lens BY ISABEL XUE


Violist Ashleigh Gordon.




shleigh Gordon is a violist filled with curiosity, creativity, and a desire for collaboration. As a musician who has performed in large groups, she has found comfort in the intimacy of one-on-one spaces. Gordon co-founded Castle of our Skins, a series of concerts dedicated to centering and celebrating Black joy, Black love, and Black excellence. This organization provided her the opportunity to step into her talents and create intimate and celebratory spaces for other musicians. Castle of our Skins started with two friends, co-founders Gordon and Anthony Green, hosting a concert. They continued to explore their interests in contemporary music, Black culture, and teaching through collaborating with other Black artists. In the months preceding COVID19 they expanded the most. “[COVID-19] allowed that creative energy to naturally bubble up because there was no precedent. You could try anything. It was an opportunity to explore, which is for me a creative space,” said Gordon. In the past year, Castle of our Skins launched several projects. They hosted poetry night cap sessions, collaborated with creatives to read children’s books by and about Black characters. They worked with organizations in New York and Georgia, hosted interviews uplifting the stories of Black women leaders in the US and Germany, and started a project for African diaspora composers to create 30-second miniatures. Last November, Castle of our Skins launched Black Love, a program dedicated to healing. This program al-


f every picture is worth 1,000 words, Andrew Harris has lots to say. Harris, 18, was 9 years old when he immigrated to the United States from Liberia. Fast forward to his high school graduation from the Middlesex School in Concord, Mass. Harris is now a YoungArts winner and Presidential Scholar, recognitions given to the top student artists in the nation. Harris is not just an artist, but an activist as well. His advocacy took off in 2020, a year where the Black community suffered injustices. While there were cries of protestors in the streets, Harris used another method to amplify voices: photography. For that year’s Black History Month, he photographed all 59 members of the Black and LatinX affinity group at his high school and had each person write about what being Black and/or LatinX means to them. The printed pictures and statements were displayed in the school’s gallery throughout February. “I thought it would be an amazing way to celebrate our Blackness by telling everybody’s story,” said Harris. “When I first showed the project, people were stunned… I like to say that it united the community and showed the community what being Black is.” Harris also sold prints and raised more than $7,400 for the Black Lives Matter cause. In his latest project, he

A photo of Harris’ sister, Princess, called The Park.


A self-portrait of Andrew Harris.

lowed people to create their own altar for healing, a space to support Black entrepreneurs and businesses, and a 25-minute sound bath for the solar plexus chakra to offer rest. As Gordon and Castle of our Skins transition into a new season, their priority is to find healing and make space for healing – a healing rooted in the joy of celebration. “Joy is wrapped up in celebration and acknowledging, learning, finding throughlines with history, with other examples of joy, other examples of excellence, and allowing that to fuel our reassurance of why we do what we do,” said Gordon.


recreated photos of historical figures from the Civil Rights Movement. “Pictures are powerful,” Harris said. “They have the ability to change your mind and give you an experience that’s almost really real to life. It’s hard to see good anywhere [right now]. And that’s the power of pictures again, to look back … to be inspired by photos of the Civil Rights Movement and different legacies.” Harris, who will double major in photography and computer science at Tufts University in the fall, plans to continue photography and his mission of elevating the Black community. “As a social activist, I think I have a lot of work left to do with photos,” he said.




MY COMMUNITY, MY VIEW For 15 months the world as we know it took an abrupt turn. But we are slowly returning to life in our communities and we are celebrating our new beginnings.


When resources for Lewiston, Maine, residents in need shut down in March 2020, Kaydenz Kitchen persevered as the city’s premier food pantry. Kevin Boilard, 43, who opened the food pantry with his daughter, Kayden, in 2017 said that regardless of the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, he and his family were determined to continue helping their community. To adhere to social distancing guidelines, Kaydenz Kitchen started a delivery care package system that allowed Lewiston residents to have food, household items, and clothes sent to their homes. Not only did this aid residents during quarantine, it also alleviated flaws in the food pantry’s process. “We were the standard food pantry model,” Boilard said. “It wasn't the most efficient process, and caused the people who waited in the front of the line to take the best stuff before others got there. As social distancing guidelines lift, Boilard said Kaydenz Kitchen will follow a new hybrid model, where deliveries remain available in addition to an in-house pantry. “When the lights are on you can come in and get food, unscheduled. It really allows us to address all of the needs in our community,” he said.



The Johnson (Vt.) Public Library is a squat brick building with a ramp edged by bushes and tall windows. This is where my mom works, but June 17 was the first day in more than 15 months that I’d been inside. The library has been closed since March 2020, and in order to provide books to the community, the librarians met patrons in the parking lot with the requested books. Returned books had to be quarantined for five days before being reshelved. “It was a lot more work,” my mom said. Now, with guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and the state of Vermont, the library has reopened with limited capacity. A sign at the door states that vaccinated individuals can enter the building without masks. The library opened at 10 o’clock, and patrons started trickling in immediately. They crossed back and forth over the carpeted floor, filling their arms with books, and pausing at the desk to chat, mostly about how happy they were to be inside the library again. My mom echoed the sentiment, saying, “It was sad working here alone.” A young family collected a tall stack of picture books, and toddlers played on the floor of the children’s room. The return of people brought a kind of warmth to the library similar to the June sun shining through the windows. BY DALLAS JACKSON

Located in Malcolm X Park in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood, a community staple has made a valiant return. The Roxbury Youth Soccer League is back and ready to return the community to a “new normal.” For more than 10 years, the RYSL has served as a cornerstone for community involvement. “We just want kids to get involved and have fun,” one volunteer said. Youth sports programs suffered because of the coronavirus pandemic, leading to youth sports leagues and after school clubs to be shuttered. But as more people are vaccinated, parents and children are returning to practices and games. “It's good to be back out here,” one parent said. “Kids aren’t meant to be trapped inside.”

Plainville, Conn., recently graduated its high school Class of 2021. Graduating during a global pandemic wasn’t easy, but the Class of 2021 showed determination and willpower to get through its final year of high school. Despite it being a year like no other, it didn’t deter Plainville High School students. From the start, classes followed a hybrid model after a year of remote learning at home. By October 2020, Plainville High School returned to full-time, in-person learning, with the option of remaining remote. Graduation looked promising with the pandemic restrictions lifting. A senior from the Class of 2021, Bianca Talarico, was asked how she felt about her senior year. “It was a crazy year but I’m glad that we got to have somewhat a normal graduation,” Talarico said. After the graduation ceremony, students went to Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, as part of their project graduation celebration.


As the nation gradually reopened from hibernation, so did many tourist attractions, including Boston’s Fenway Park. During the pandemic, the park’s function had extended far beyond sports, rising to the occasion of serving the Boston community in unprecedented ways. Used as an early voting center for the 2020 election, Fenway Park later served as a vaccination site for thousands of Bostonians at the beginning of 2021. Come springtime, the kickoff of the baseball season finally saw the return of games, though with the park at only 25 percent capacity. However, after attending a game at Fenway, University of California Berkeley student Chloe Phely-Bobin reflected that “being back was really exciting because it made it seem like things were getting back to normal.” Now, with all restrictions lifted, Fenway Park has not only returned to full capacity for games, but it has also been used for the graduation ceremonies of Boston high school seniors. In addition, the stadium is again expected to host a series of concerts — this summer featuring artists such as Meghan Trainor, Maroon 5, and the Jonas Brothers. So, we can expect to hear cheers from the ballpark all summer long.




Soccer is a sport commonly played in the fall, but seniors at Kennebunk (Maine) High School believe that the sport really starts in the spring. The high school takes a unique approach to sports and offers a packed offseason with opportunities for players to take the field with their soon-to-be teammates, a system that has become crucial to the program’s success. However, in 2020, the team missed the in-person summer season because of the coronavirus pandemic and had a much shorter regular season. Fall practices were divided into cohorts and the situation left rising seniors such as Garrett Dickinson thinking how the “[upperclassmen] really don’t know all of the freshmen and sophomores.” Senior Connor Keefe said the team “didn’t really have that chemistry going right into an intense season” last year. With only one week of in-person practices before the first varsity game for the team, not all players felt ready to play. With the 2021 return of the summer soccer season, however, the team is more optimistic. “Summer soccer … overall is something that you don't focus so much on how you’re performing, but more on just building that chemistry,” said Keefe. “It will be a nice reset” for the club.

Music! Food! They’re what join people from all walks of life. In Berkshire County there are countless ways to enjoy both. Buried in the small town of West Stockbridge, is a lively venue again filled with music, live performances, and yummy delights. The Foundry, started by Richmond local Amy Brentano, is one place where actors, musicians, and comedians come to showcase their talent. One musician, Anjimile, performed recently, bringing his identity and captivating music to the stage. That day, Anjimile brought a presence that was comforting. His audience found him in touch with his music and his identity and that came through in the notes he played and the songs he sang. “I took for granted the conversations that we are able to have, to meet new people,” Anjimile said. “This is something I have been missing in the past year, this human connection through music and through community.”


My community, Lynn, Mass., has changed drastically since the coronavirus pandemic. In the beginning stages of the pandemic, several local restaurants and shops closed and some went out of business. Fast forward a year and a half to June 2021. The mask mandate has been lifted, vaccines for youth have been developed allowing kids to go back to school, and things seem to be going back to normal. My city has made tremendous progress as several businesses are open full time and people have lost their fear of going out in public. John Gonzalez, manager of Bread of Dreams, which has been in business since 2011, shared his thoughts. “It was difficult to get used to wearing a mask for several hours a day and I had to constantly make sure to follow the COVID-19 guidelines, which took some time to get used to as well,” Gonzalez said. “But after some time, it became easier and easier.” Asked how he feels about the mask mandate being lifted, he said: “It has been great to see the progress we have made, but I personally do not feel ready to take my mask off just yet. Although, I will still allow customers without a mask into the restaurant.” BY KAREN RIVERA


If you ask any student at Malden High School what their go-to after-school restaurant is, chances are you will be told New York Pizza. Before March 2020, it likely would be packed with students, grabbing a slice and hanging out with friends. MHS senior Kevin Kim said he’s “eaten there countless times, and been satisfied every time.” He gathered there with friends, Kim said, and they always had a good time. Kim added that when you’re a high school student, “you don’t have much money” so it’s a great option since the pizzeria also sells quality food. During the recent quarantine, the restaurant was a ghost of its former self. It was takeout only, and it was void of the students who used to fill the seats. However, now that restrictions have been lifted, the restaurant appears to be recovering. Dine-in is again allowed and while there aren’t huge crowds yet, it’s likely only a matter of time.


Located on the corner of Pearl Street in Malden, Mass., Pisa Pizza has been standing for 29 years and has been a business that many of the city’s residents have grown to know and love. From school fundraisers, to large catered events, to Friday nights ending with a walk from the football field to get a slice, Pisa Pizza has been a staple in the community. The atmosphere of the restaurant is warm and inviting, which is one of the many things that makes patrons return back so frequently. Although Pisa Pizza never completely shut down during the coronavirus pandemic, the indoor dining hall was closed and the restaurant that was once filled with Malden residents became empty and looked lonely. Joe Crowley, the pizzeria’s owner, said Pisa Pizza has become one of the “landmark eateries in Malden” and having to stop indoor dining and convert to contactless pickup was devastating and a tough time for both him and the business. The dining hall has recently reopened, and being able to interact with customers has brought a “sense of normalcy back,” he said, and the “personalized relationships” are finding their way back into the restaurant.


East Boston is one of the Massachusetts neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID-19 with 18.2 percent positive cases, higher than any surrounding neighborhood. The community also faced an increase in food insecurity, displacements, and evictions. Yet community efforts helped East Boston residents survive. Maverick Landing Community Services (MLCS) is a nonprofit located in the heart of the Maverick Landing housing developments. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, it focused on creating opportunities for children, youth, and adults to build skills. At the beginning of the pandemic, MLCS launched a food operation. In 2021, in collaboration with City Life/Vida Urbana, a housing justice organization, MLCS launched a site – Residential Assistance for Families in Transition – to help residents apply for rent relief. The pandemic had pushed MLCS into exploring a new version of itself as a community organization. Rita Lara, executive director of MLCS, said: “At MLCS we have pivoted to meet a rising need using emergent strategies from the ground up. Now more than ever it is important to create a robust ecology of partners who include service providers, movement builders, lawyers, artists, students, youth, and people from diverse professional sectors.”




program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester has been created to put students from underrepresented racial groups onto a path to get their medical degrees. The program, known as the Baccalaureate MD (BaccMD) Pathway program, is an effort to attain health equity because physicians who come from disadvantaged backgrounds themselves are most experienced and knowledgeable about health disparities. “They understand cultural barriers that may exist within their populations, and they’re able to relate to their patients a little bit better,” said Paul Charles, the program’s director. Instituted in 2013 by the provosts and deans in the UMass system, the program increases diversity among the healthcare workforce by guiding

first-generation college students and those at economic disadvantage or of underrepresented racial groups to become physicians. Today, white physicians outnumber Black physicians by approximately 11 to one. “A lot of students from diverse backgrounds aren’t aware of the commitment because they don’t have members in their families who have gone through that process,” said Robert Layne, the manager of the Summer Enrichment Program for college students (including BaccMD students). “Unless we get to our students early enough… they’re not academically prepared for medical school,” he said. UMass students apply to the BaccMD program in sophomore year. If accepted, they are provided numerous opportunities, including a Summer Enrichment program to

learn about medical school, webinars to build critical-thinking skills, workshops to prepare for interviews, and a clinical immersion experience to witness firsthand the practice of medicine. All throughout, they receive guidance on how to study for the MCAT exam and to strengthen their profile. During junior year, students apply for provisional acceptance to UMass medical school and can gauge their next steps through feedback from the school’s admissions committee. The BaccMD has now graduated three years of students, all of whom have matched up at competitive residency programs. However, the expected increase in physician diversity will also inspire young minorities. “It’s about creating a new narrative,” Layne said. “We need to put [Black people like myself] in these positions, so that future generations can see that we made it, we can do these things.”


Paul Charles, left, and Robert Layne.


STOP THE HATE continued from page 1

“A virus is scary, no question,” said Chen. “But the idea that someone would come and attack you, that this would be perpetrated against you because of what you look like, I think that’s a different type of fear.” To combat the growing psychological strain, the Center at Mass. General has established resources such as webinars and guides along with one-sheeters explaining racial trauma, its effects, and how to process it. Another major goal of the Center has been extending the mental health conversation to older generations which have historically been less open to it. To that end, Chen has seen a surprisingly positive unity among them in the face of these recent challenges. “Among other things, I’ve seen community members specifically speaking out and saying ‘We want help to know how to talk to our kids about race and racism’,” he said. “Growing up before this period, I never experienced that. My parents never talked to us about racism.” Moving forward, Chen and the other doctors at the Center hope to partner with Stop AAPI Hate to assist victims of future hate crimes, and continue to use their research to move the AAPI community in a positive direction. “It is a tragedy,” Chen said of the recent events. “But out of that tragedy is coming awareness, recognition, kind of a reckoning… I think for our community also, greater mobilization, greater advocacy, solidarity.”

The medical profession is creating programs to help get more diversity among health care professionals.