Editorials, On Campus


In the fall of my sophomore year, I was assigned my first article—a 600-word report on Cabaret Night. I’m still amazed how the decision to accept that assignment led me to three years as a part of The Vanguard team, including this past year as editor-in-chief. Since then, I’ve learned more than I can put into words from the people who surround me on the editorial board, Faculty Advisor Allison Kornet, and the community whose opinions and doings we’ve featured. 

As I wrote numerous articles my sophomore year, I slowly began to grasp the intricacies of a journalistic style of writing that was as-yet unfamiliar to me. I also yearned to learn more about the inner workings of the paper, which seemed so mysterious, and to experience how editors spent a month soliciting ideas, assigning and delegating articles, editing, then bringing everything together into one cohesive whole, all behind the scenes.  

But I didn’t fully realize what would eventually become the best part of working for The Vanguard to me: interacting with the school community and the myriad interesting people and stories within it. 

My first milestone for the paper as a junior editor was writing a spread about net neutrality, for which I interviewed two alums working in the technology sector. This was my first go at designing and producing the content of a page of the paper in collaboration with several other editors. I honed my writing skills, gained an eye for how to structure a page with visual appeal, and learned about a current topic relevant to the community. 

During my first pasteup as editor-in-chief, everything was going smoothly until last-minute ethical concerns about printing the opinions of the Russian exchange students featured on our Current Topics spread nearly derailed us. I was proud of how we kept our heads about us as, instead of proofing pages, we pivoted, taking valuable minutes out of our production day to discuss as a board the new angle of the spread—all while trying to make sure the paper would come out on time. 

Just recently, I returned to writing when I reported on the Asian-American experience at BB&N and took on the history of affirmative action laws in the U.S. I got to talk to a dozen students, learning how race shaped their experience and interactions with the college admissions process. Portraying their individual stories as I tried to do justice to this broad topic was a privilege. 

Even the less controversial stories—articles about part of the boathouse catching fire, a chemistry teacher devising new methods to administer tests, the student-made algorithm aiding the sorting process for English electives, and faculty members’ professional development trips abroad—provided a window into parts of the school I would have never seen had I just been laser-focused on my own five classes. 

As a board, we’ve sat through countless G blocks and Wednesday Activities meetings that went overtime as we chose topics that would help shape our community and debated the scope and angle of their coverage. We’ve discussed how to navigate socioeconomic class and sexual harassment, how to editorialize on the downsides of the digital age and the culture of the contemporary college process, and how to adequately address other heavy current topics swirling around news headlines when we could only localize and report on a couple of them. Each discussion stretched us, prodded us to be more flexible and learn to see differing opinions as more palatable as we moved toward consensus in planning our pages. I will miss these meetings.

Thank you to my fellow senior editors (below), whose varied talents made the paper all the more rich and broad in its coverage: Talia, my faithful deputy who saved articles more times than I can count; Laila, whose effervescence invigorated our current topics and survey meetings; Sam KR., whose intellectual zeal led to perceptive editorials; Lauren, whose dedication and hardworking nature served as a model for others; Anya, who animated discussions and pages with sharp insights, edits, and deftly drawn cartoons; Sam M., whose flexibility and perseverance metaphorically and literally carried the paper to the printer; and Leyla, who went well past her photo duties to provide valuable perspectives during discussions. I’m grateful to have had them all at my side.

The new senior leaders­—Maia, Nicholas, Julian, Claire, Charlotte, Emily, Ella, and Lena—are a talented bunch, capable of setting a good example for Abigail, Ava, Aanika, Quinn, Ollie, Ellie, and Ian and of progressing the paper past where we left it. I’m so excited to see the direction they’ll take The Vanguard and look forward to getting my copies of the paper in the mail as an alumnus. 

And finally, I can’t express enough gratitude to Ms. Kornet. I know the guidance and lessons I learned from her will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Of all the opportunities and privileges afforded to me through my time with this publication, there’s no doubt I have been most grateful for the chance to serve this community. I know ours is just one in a long line of editorial boards. I will miss experiencing the good times, the stressful times, and everything in between with Volume 47, but I’m certain that future boards will continue to chronicle the events of the school with integrity and serve our community well.

Benjamin Gross-Loh

Editor-in-Chief, Volume 47

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