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Headlines need verbs TM Semester I Portfolio 2013 Thomas Toghramadjian, Opinion Editor


Thomas Toghramadjian 10951 Flanders Ct. NE Blaine, MN 55449 ttoghramadjian@gmail.com Education: 2011: • Journalism Education Association/ National Student Press Association National High School Convention Attended sessions on Ethnic Journalism (I thought it was Ethics in Journalism), Editorial leadership, sports writing, broadcast journalism, page design, and on telling compelling stories. • Writing for Publication I 2012: • Writing for Publication II • Editorial Leadership •

MHSPA State Convention

Attended a portion of the state convention after reporting on an assembly with Tim Pawlenty, watched Bobby Harrower lecture. 2013: • Editorial Leadership • MHSPA State Convention Attended sessions on qualities of award-winning newspapers, maintaining staff connections, and keynote by Boyd Huppert on personalizing stories. Experience: 2013-2014: Opinion Editor, The Rubicon Responsibilities include: • Determining section content • Writing story assignments and editing all pieces. • Designing two Op/Ed pages in a four week cycle • Contributing to a pre-critique and post-critique • Uploading content to The Rubicon Online • Editing the staff editorial and writing or assigning mini-editorials • Writing stories for other section 2012-2013 News Editor, The Rubicon Responsibilities include: • • • • • • •

Determining section content Writing story assignments and editing all pieces Designing two to three News pages in a four week cycle Contributing to a pre-critique and post-critique Uploading content to The Rubicon Online Writing stories for other sections Editing or writing news-in-briefs

2011-2012 Staff Writer: The Rubicon • Writing at least one story to be considered for publication in every issue • Helping copy edit pages • Co-designing pages with other Writing for Publication students. Special Skills: • Hard-earned proficiency in Adobe InDesign • Strong opinion writing abilities • Never have been rejected when requesting permission for an image • General knowledge of AP style requirements • Ability to produce a great deal of content on short notice. • Maintaining good connections with faculty sources Individual Awards: • Journalism Honor Roll 2012 and 2013 • North Star Editor 2013 • •

NSPA First Class CSPA Gold Medal


Rubicon Awards: 2011: • JEM All State Gold Print • NSPA First Class • CSPA Gold Medal 2012: • JEM All-State Gold Print • JEM All-State Silver Online • MHSPA Best in Show • NSPA All-American • CSPA Silver Medal 2013: • JEM All-State Gold Print • JEM All-State Silver Online • MHSPA Best in Show


Writing

September 2013


Print Writing

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Print Writing

November 2013


Print Writing

December 2013


Page design

September 2013


Page design

September 2013


Page design

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Page design

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Page design

November 2013


Page design

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Page design

December 2013


Page design

December 2013


Photography

September 2013


Photography

September-October 2013


Photography

October-December 2013


Photography

December 2013


Photography-Videography

December 2013


Online

October 2013


Online

October 2013


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November 2013


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November 2013


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November 2013


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November 2013


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December 2013


Online

The week leading into this year’s Pops Concert was marked by a distinct sense of crisis. Time limitations caused by the new class schedule, along with an ambitious array of pieces, left the musicians and their directors “scrambling for solutions,” in the words of Upper School Orchestra Director Almut Englehardt. Despite the challenges that surrounded it, Pops 2013 came off without a visible hitch. Among the concert’s highlights was Adele’s Skyfall, a collaborative effort by the Summit Singers, Advanced Jazz Ensemble, and senior vocal soloist Emma Chang who sang the theme from the 2012 James Bond film in its entirety. Their performance ended the concert’s first half with a thunderous and protracted ovation. “I think Adele just got out-Adeled,” senior emcee Yusra Murad remarked. Chang secured her part weeks before the concert, after Choir Director Anne Klus announced an opportunity for a singer to sing solo in conjunction with the Gold Band. “I came in one day during a free period and sang for her. After a while she then asked me to come in again and one day she announced during choir that I was going to sing with the band,” Chang said. After that, she rehearsed in one-on-one sessions with Klus, with the choral accompaniment, and with the band. Despite her years of experience, Chang acknowledged that she was nervous beforehand. “I had to take a few deep breaths before I sang,” she said. The concert ended with another joint effort: a performance of Europe’s “The Final Countdown” by Gold Band and orchestra. The customary finale, including all the different ensembles, did not occur this year due to the schedule change. However, “The Final Countdown” was

December 2013

an exciting conclusion that featured two lengthy improvisational solos, by junior Shaan Bijwadia on alto saxophone, and by sophomore Danish Mahmoud on electric guitar. “Dr. Mayson just asked me if I could play a solo for a few bars and I pulled off something different every time we rehearsed the song. At the concert I combined all the ideas and went off in a different direction,” Mahmoud said. “I was just not sure what message to convey to the audience. I sort of made stuff up as the seconds passed by and before I knew it, my part was over! But at the end of the day, I was just enjoying the amazing music that the band and orchestra were creating.” Bijwadia’s solo on Final Countdown was more scripted, but still relied heavily on his improvisational skill. “I had a pre-written skeleton that I embellished upon. Each time I played it was different, but as you practice you get a feel for which notes and phrases go well with the accompaniment,” he said. Englehardt was particularly impressed by the Honors Sinfonia, noting that their pieces required “high quality sound and intensity throughout, which requires non-stop focus and a high level of technical skill.” She also was proud of the orchestra’s ability to recover from the loss of a strong senior class. “I am so impressed by how everyone has stepped up and filled that void, making the transition this fall seamless and successful… One group I am particularly happy with this fall [is] our freshmen who have exceeded my expectations on every level and who stand out as a group of young and excellent players,” Englehardt said. While Pops 2013 was a striking success, by all outward accounts, the outcome felt uncertain in the week preceding

the concert. In the week between Thanksgiving break and the performance, the full orchestra had only two 35-minute tutorial practices, significantly less time than five 45-minute rehearsals they used to have in that time period, according to Englehardt. Orchestra students worked overtime to make up for the loss. The orchestra came in before school on Wednesday, Dec. 4, and added an additional tutorial practice on Thursday Englehardt called the Thursday practice a “last resort; the students need time with the teachers.” Despite the difficulties imposed by the schedule change, Englehardt acknowledged its overall value, as well as the school administration’s efforts to facilitate the rehearsal process. “It would be ungrateful not to mention how supportive the administration has been as we have tried to manage the schedule in preparation for the concert,” she said. “The rehearsal process needed to be structured so we were still able to get in sectionals as well as full rehearsals. This impacted Academy Chorale.” Choir Director Anne Klus said. The intensified last-minute rehearsal process evidently contributed to the concert’s eventual success, but it also managed to draw the singers and players closer to their teachers. “I think it all went pretty well, and Ms. Klus did her best to get us ready even with the changed schedule,” senior Frank Nahurksi said. Even in the middle of the hectic final week before the concert, Englehardt expressed gratitude for the orchestra’s strong efforts. “In general, I am very happy with all of my students this year. Everyone is working hard and is doing their very best,” Englehardt said. And as always, the musicians’ best perfectly fine for everyone


Component: Published Interviews

Question: Let’s start with the politics. What was your opinion when the prospect of American intervention was initially discussed? Evan: The short answer is that I didn’t approve of it. While I by no means support Assad and his actions (specifically the significant chemical attacks), and I recognize that it is important for the Obama administration to uphold Obama’s line in the sand regarding the use of chemical weapons, I felt that an armed intervention was premature and rash. Question: Did you think the president’s red line on chemical weapons was ill-advised as well? Evan: Morally, no. But in a political situation in which the only option to enforce the strict policy is to engage in further conflict, it would be a poor decision to uphold the policy. Question: How legitimate and feasible do you think the Russian proposal is? Evan: I think that the proposal is completely reasonable, but the proposed time frame is not. Due to the ongoing conflict, I think it is ridiculous to give Syria only one week to hand over all chemical weapons, especially due to the reported quantity and dispersal. Question: Can you see the war ending anytime soon? Evan: The war could end as abruptly as it began, but I fear that any resolution which occurs relatively soon would likely occur either as a large political overthrow which we have already discussed the consequences of (likely due to a withdrawal of Russian support or a UN approved military strike against the Assad regime) or a continued stalemate in peace talks combined with increased support militarily from Russia, which would ultimately suppress the rebels. Neither of these short term solutions are favorable to me. The resolution that I want to see is one that will take significant time, effort and negotiation over the course of months, and will occur not on the battlefield, but in a political forum in which all involved parties are represented.

October 2013


Component: Published Interviews

December 2013

What kinds of academic there is no real threat. dishonesty do you see people Do people do it for the commit most commonly? Copying homework answers from grade, or just because it’s awkeach other. ward when the teacher checks and you don’t have it? Do you see the same people People do it for the grade. Especialcommonly rely on cheating, or ly with the huge workload we have at SPA, it is not always possible to get is it an isolated incident? I don’t really see the same people rely on it as the only way of getting their homework done, usually if someone copies someone else’s homework, they will return the favor later.

all of your homework done, but that usually is not a credible or acceptable excuse, so students are pressured to get the work done, but not always by themselves.

How many times have you Thomas Togradmadjian conducts an let somebody copy your homeinterview with an anonymous student at this year? St. Paul Academy and Summit School work A rough estimate is probably around on the secret life of cheating. 10 times.

Back to cheating on tests, have you seen people premeditate it or plan it, or do they just look around when they don’t know an answer?

And how many times have you copied somebody else’s?

Probably about the same, around 10.

I have never seen anyone premeditate it, just trying to find the answers once they realize they aren’t prepared for the test.

Do you think copying homeHave you ever seen anybody work is morally wrong? Not really. cheat on anything bigger? The biggest thing I have seen someone cheat on is a test.

Why not?

Because teachers don’t care if you

Were you involved at all, or use outside sources for homework, so did you just see? And how did copying isn’t much different. Plus, if you copy homework, chances are you they do it? I have been involved in allowing someone to cheat, but not cheating myself. That case just involved them looking at my answers and me not stopping them. But in other cases I have seen people using phones or notes during tests.

Do you ever feel there’s a threat of being caught copying homework, or does it feel casual?

Homework feels more casual, it’s not as big a part of the grade for the class, and there is no time limit or proctoring. I have never seen someone get caught copying homework, and have never heard of any consequences, so

won’t be prepared for that lesson’s material on the test later, so you will be punished by yourself in the long run.



Tommy's portfolio fall 2013