Tristin Tobenkin and Victoria Simons

Grace Lorenzo, Staff Writer

This month, two amazingly committed and talented students at FTHS have been recognized as March Club Students of the Month! Victoria Simons, a senior, has proven herself an excellent leader in the Yearbook Club, and Tristin Tobenkin, also a student of the graduating class, is a crucial mentor for the Dance Team. Both of them have made tireless efforts to put forth their best image for themselves and their peers, and you can read more about their accomplishments in their interview below:

First, I just want to say congratulations for being recognized as Club Students of the Month! 

– Victoria Simons and Tristin Tobenkin: Thank you!

You’re welcome! My first question for you guys is, why do you feel you were picked for Student of the Month and how do you feel about it? 

– TT: I think I was picked for Student of the Month because of my leadership qualities and responsibilities, like always making sure the underclassmen are supported and cared for. Because I’m a senior, I help them out a lot with giving them guidance which is good for them.

I definitely agree with that!

– VS: I think I was picked for Club Student of the Month because I put a lot of hard work and time into everything that I do, especially for the yearbook. I’m always just about supporting other people and trying to have the best outcome for the yearbook possible because it does involve and affect the entire school. So, I just want to make the best representation of FTHS that I can, and I think I do my best in doing so! 

You’re very committed, I can tell! 

– VS: Thank you! 

How did you spark interest in dance and yearbook? 

– VS: I sparked interest in the yearbook, especially, and Patriot Press. Yearbook because I’m going into graphic design for college, so I just wanted more of a background and experience, I guess you could say, with the graphic design aspect, layout, and formats. I also just wanted to make a better yearbook than years past because, the type of person I am, I look at the yearbook and nitpick certain things! I think about “If I change this” or “This could be better in this way,” and it’s just always the wheels turning in my head about what I can do better and I wanted to make that happen. So, that’s why I joined Yearbook. As for Patriot Press, I’ve always had a love for writing and I was just lucky enough to be a part of it, writing my own column and becoming an editor. 

– TT: I sparked interest in doing dance at the age of three at the studio. I’ve done it for basically every day of my life since then! When I got to high school, I just wanted to continue to dance to show my passion and school spirit for the basketball team and showing how much I love to dance. Just being on the team is welcoming and it’s like a family! It’s a very supportive environment and everything.

Do you think you want to pursue dance in college? 

– TT: I definitely want to continue to dance for myself, but I’m not sure about joining a team. 

Would you recommend the clubs you guys are involved in to incoming freshmen or even people who are thinking about joining and why? 

– TT: I would definitely recommend the dance team to anybody in the school who wants to join. It’s very fun and we work hard! There’s a lot of time and commitment, but what you get out of it, like self-growth and mental health, is so special. At the end of the day, we are a team and we support each other. We uplift everybody, we laugh at practices once we get our work done, and it’s just such a positive environment. The game days are so fun too, since we just cheer and let everything go! 

That’s awesome! I agree that a balance between school and mental health is definitely important. 

– VS: I think I would definitely recommend Yearbook to anyone who comes into high school, especially freshmen, because you allow yourself to be a part of something bigger and to have an impact on the school. You can relive the important events of high school and the yearbook helps you become more involved in high school because you have to know the different school events to put them in the yearbook. It allows you to meet new people because you have to talk to different people who are in charge of different clubs and sports, for example, and socialize in a different way than you usually do. 

I never thought about that, that’s an interesting way to look at it! Is there any group of people, or maybe teachers, that contributed to your interest in this club, and tell us who! 

– TT: For the dance team this year, I sought out Ms. Bellamy, who is absolutely amazing. I love her! She dove right into being our new advisor, and she was just amazing at it! So, she deserves everything and more for that! She took on a big role when she didn’t necessarily know the big commitment it took at the time; she’s great! 

– VS: A teacher who has gotten me interested in yearbook and even Patriot Press is Mr. D. I was in his sophomore English class, even though he refuses to believe it, but taking his class made me want to keep going with writing and journalism, which allowed me to take a Creative Writing class, and that kind of forced me into the whole Patriot Press aspect. With that, I was able to talk to him more about the yearbook because he did it in the past and this year he became the advisor again. So, Mr. D helped motivate me to produce the product of the yearbook as best as I could, as he listened to my ideas and gave me constructive criticism when I needed it. He’s always been very supportive of me and what I wanted to do for the Yearbook and Patriot Press.

I’ll ask you guys one more question! Do you have any passions or hobbies outside of these clubs that you enjoy? Share your favorite one!

– VS: Yes! I have a lot of hobbies and activities I like to do, but the main one is softball. I used to play travel and now I play high school softball, and it’s a lot of fun! I love the dynamic of the team and just getting out on the field and feeling the rush of adrenaline when I’m up to bat or pitching. Another hobby that I have or activity I like doing is art. I’m in the Art Club, as well, and obviously, graphic design is a big part of my life, in general because it’s what I love doing and want to pursue in the future. So, those are definitely the top two activities that I love doing! 

Are there any important takeaways that you’ve gotten from doing graphic design and art and softball that are similar?

– VS: 100 percent! Motivation, determination, and just drive to be the best person or player/athlete, or member that you can be, is a big component of it. Without those things, I feel like personally my best performance or product wouldn’t be produced. So, I’m just happy I got to learn that and take away many more life lessons and advice from the activities I’ve been involved in.

– TT: Some outside activities I participate in would be Lead for Diversity and Latin Club. I love exploring different cultures, identities, and people, because everybody is different in the world and you want to support everyone around you just as much as they support you. So, that’s really a big thing for me and I use that to contribute to volunteering inside and outside of school, as well, to help people who need the help!

That’s awesome! Thank you for your time and congratulations, again! 

– VS & TT: Thank you so much and thank you for your time!

Of course!

Here’s what Ms. Bellamy, the Dance Team coach, had to say about Tristin:

“For truly leading in her role as senior captain and rallying for her program to continue this year. Tristin was proactive in seeking out a new advisor, setting up and running try-outs alongside her co-captains, and generally managing the well-being of the team in a variety of ways as the season progressed. Without her hard work and dedication this year, Dance Team would not have been able to run and I would not have had the opportunity to advise such a remarkable group of young women through their 22-23 season. I am so grateful and fortunate to have Tristin as both a student and an athlete. She is truly the embodiment of what it means to be a Patriot.”

Here’s what Mr. DiGiuseppe, the Yearbook advisor, had to say about Tori:

“Tori’s commitment to making the yearbook is second-to-none. She works literally every single day to make sure the book is as accurate, detailed, and reflective of FTHS as possible. She spends mornings and lunch periods working with
me and the staff to cover every possible aspect of the school community, and she typically works independently at nights and over weekends to gather and organize information in a thousand different ways. She spearheaded the push to not only meet but exceed the recent publisher deadline, which allowed us to submit nearly double the required pages. Tori’s passion for the yearbook is complete, and she has ensured that the students of this school will have something truly special to remember their time here forever.”