October & November Club Students of the Month
December 16, 2020
October: Kiersten Buckley & Eli Regan
Kiersten Buckley, a 2021 senior, is dedicated, inspiring, and a born-leader with charisma that will take her far. Her position as advisor for Friendship Circle and producer and editor for Patriot Productions’ talent show are her highlights as one of the four October and November Students of the Month. Throughout her interview, she explains what inspired her to get involved, how she became the fantastic leader she is today and her future aspirations.
Read full transcript below:
Emily Landolfi: So, my first question is what initially made you join the drama club? What about it appealed to you?
Kiersten Buckley: Well, ever since I was in middle school I just always loved acting and making everyone happy. And it’s kind of fun to be somebody else, like in a good way, you know? It’s just fun to pretend for a little bit and like things aren’t real for that moment in time. It’s just really fun.
EL: Yeah, absolutely. I definitely relate to that. Speaking of drama, what inspired you to take on the role of being the main producer and editor for the Talent Show? Because I know that you did that, which is awesome.
KB: Thank you! Yeah, well I’ve always had a passion for editing ever since I took the class my freshman year. Like I don’t know it makes me lose track of time and so it’s super fun. So the moment Mrs. Richardson mentioned the showcase, I was like, “Hey! Do you want me to do this?” and luckily like the universe aligned and it just worked out. And it was super fun. It took me awhile but it was so worth it. It was just fun to see all of you guys perform and just like being able to make it what it was.
EL: Yeah, it came out amazing! Are you planning on sort of like editing and continuing that in your life further on?
KB: Yeah! So I’m actually planning on majoring in film and television in college and I want to continue with that.
EL: That’s awesome! So going on to Friendship Circle, when hearing about an opening for the advisor position, what made you want to do it?
KB: Well, my friend was actually Lauren Ferrell, she graduated, she was the president of the club and I’ve been a part of it since my freshman year, and it always just inspired me seeing how much she cared about it and how passionate she was. And that kind of carried on to me like I just really like the cause. Helping the special needs kids make their life you know, not more fulfilling because it is, but make them happier in little ways. It’s just so sweet, and it’s just so great to see them happy and everything. It’s just a nice cause, you know? And I like seeing other people get involved with it as well because it’s just really positive.
EL: Since you are so active and involved, which is amazing and inspiring for other students, do you find it easier or more difficult with managing your time with all the clubs you’re in and especially in terms of being the advisor? Especially in quarantine? I know how crazy this is.
KB: Yeah, so I don’t really have an answer. It’s kind of like both because I kind of like being busy a lot, especially doing all this with my job and homework. It’s kind of fun because I know that I’m always doing something. But then again, there are times where I’m like “wait, I just want to like sleep,” you know? But it’s honestly kind of fine because it keeps me active and it gets me prepared for the future cause’ I know life isn’t going to be easy and I’m always going to be doing stuff in the future. So it’s good preparation, I guess.
EL: In the reasons for recognition it says you dedicated extra time, initiative, and leadership. At what time in your life did you realize that you wanted to be a leader, and did anyone or anything in specific influence you?
KB: Thank you! That’s a really good question. I’m not sure. It just kind of came onto me, you know what I mean? Like in the beginning I used to be like really, really shy like in the beginning of high school and everything. I was just always listening to music. I just didn’t want to talk to anybody or do anything. But then I remember sophomore year, like when I actually got a role in the play and started doing the paper and all these little things that just kind of added up, then I was kind of like wait I want to do more with it and I want to, you know, help out other people and everything. And then it was just like, I don’t know, it all just kind of came together and I’m really grateful for that.
EL: That’s such a great answer, honestly because I think that really goes to show the effect that clubs have on people and like how it can influence your life, for sure.
KB: No, definitely! That’s a really good question because clubs really do. Like everyone always says, “Join clubs in high school!” and I was always like, “yeah okay,” but I still ended up doing it. But now I’m so grateful that I did all these clubs in high school and I recommended it to everybody, like including you which I know you are, but definitely do a lot. Like don’t over schedule yourself like I did but definitely do ones you are interested in because it will be worth it!
Eli Regan has been selected as October Student of the Month for being an instrumental addition to the club Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA). Eli is currently a senior and is recognized for his leadership skills, initiative, and helping other students in the club. He organizes the club’s agendas by providing topics for the club to talk about. The topics he picks pertains to the agenda and help members share their feelings or experiences. Additionally, Eli plans fundraisers to help the LGBTQ+ community and spread awareness about homophobia and transphobia. He is an advocate for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Eli is welcoming to every new member and helps them feel safe and heard in the environment of the club. Furthermore, he is always inclusive of all current and new members by listening to everyone’s thoughts in GSA. Even with the pandemic causing every club to meet fully online, Eli still manages to run the club without any problems! Current members can trust him to listen to their stories and to always be supportive of them. In today’s society, people of the LGBTQ+ community are often discriminated against which can be detrimental to a teenager’s health. Eli helps his fellow classmates and helps them have a voice in society as well. Some of his fellow club members even say that being president of GSA is not easy, yet Eli does a great job! Eli’s work in GSA has not gone unnoticed and is now rightfully recognized!
November: Taylor Fenton & Veer Yadav
Taylor Fenton’s diligence and drive as well as her positivity sets her apart as a role model for her peers. Taylor has taken the initiative in Lead for Diversity to produce and host a guest speaker series which she hopes students will take the opportunity to become educated on the issues in the world and how they connect to the stories of real people.
Read the full interview below:
Olivia Naum: What’s something that makes Lead for Diversity unique from other clubs?
Taylor Fenton: Lead for Diversity shines a light on uncomfortable topics that set us apart from other clubs. We all contribute to spread awareness and educate students on the importance of inclusiveness, diversity and tolerance of individuals who are different from us. We stress that diversity within the halls of FTHS should be something that is accepted rather than eliminated.
ON: What led you to want to be a leader in Lead for Diversity?
TF: Personally, I don’t think there is just one person within this program that displays higher leadership skills than another person. I think it’s our differences in opinions, race, and life experiences that help make LFD a leadership driven club. What one student may deem as their weakness, another student is there to support them and vice versa. We are a very tight knit group, and I think we all have leadership qualities that are evenly distributed.
ON: How do you stay motivated to participate in and plan for clubs during such an unprecedented school year?
TF: I strongly believe I stay motivated to participate and plan for clubs during these times because I know the value and meaning behind everything that is being initiated. Regarding Lead for Diversity, some students right now feel like they do not have a voice or a safe, support team. We try our best to spread awareness and bring up what’s currently happening in the world because it needs to be talked about. Of course, there are some days where my schedule is going to be a little busy, but it’s knowing that my club can act as a positive and educating learning experience that keeps me motivated.
ON: What aspect of your work in the club are you most proud of?
TF: Our club has recently initiated an American Dialogue Speaker Series at FTHS and I am a part of hosting it. I would have to say that this new series is an amazing opportunity for students to hear from other individuals who either come from a different ethnic, sexual, or religious background. It’s a real eye opener to hear their stories and personal life experiences and listen to how they tie that into what’s going on currently in today’s world. I think the reason why this series resonates so much with me is because it’s an open, honest, and a non-judgmental space to have those ‘uncomfortable’ discussions that’s not always getting taught in our school curriculum. The more knowledge and empathy we can spread to our school and students, the more we realize that everyone has a unique and valuable story.
ON: What do you hope others will get out of the work that you have done for Lead for Diversity?
TF: If anything, I hope that others will understand that there’s a difference between hearing what someone is saying versus actually listening to them. You’re going to have people from all different walks of life that are going to have opposing opinions than you. It’s vital that we still hold that person with the same amount of respect as anyone else. When you truly listen to someone and can add on that genuine level of empathy, you can find the value in what they are saying. I hope others can appreciate those around them and not label or stereotype a person, simply because of the way they look. One of my favorite quotes is that when you know better, you do better, and I think Lead For Diversity does an amazing job at spreading that message.
Veer Yadav is a leader and is someone who is not afraid to take initiative. Veer is currently a senior at Freehold Township, and I got the pleasure to interview him about being Student of the Month and his work in the Spanish Club.
Read the full interview below:
Blake David: What got you so interested in Spanish Club?
Veer Yadav: I took Spanish for 3 years. My brother’s friend started the club and I had Mrs. Merkle for Spanish. She put out flyers and I gave it a try at the end of freshman year. Sophomore and junior year is when I started to get really involved with the club.
BD: How can people get involved in Spanish Club?
VY: The good thing about Spanish club is that you can join at anytime, just contact Senora Merkel at [email protected]! The joy of Spanish club is that we do not just learn about the language, we go on field trips and hold fundraisers to raise money for some good causes!
BD: What is your favorite thing about Spanish Club?
VY: I really enjoy the Spanish club. I love the fundraisers and the trips, and what makes it even better is that my friends are in it and my amazing co-president Izabel Fronc really makes it so much fun. Whenever we are coming up with ideas for fundraisers or trips Izabel and I just come up with so many good and fun ideas.
BD: What is some advice for the freshman as a senior?
VY: Some advice I have for the freshman is you should enjoy high school while you can. It is the fastest four years of your life. You should also find a good group of friends because your high school friends are going to be your friends for life, so it is really important to find that group. Also, don’t be shy to join that club or try out for that team you will regret it in the future.
Some words for Mrs. Merkel:
VY: I want to say thank you for everything you have done for me over these past 4 years. You are an amazing teacher and person and we all really appreciate everything you do for us and the club.