Fresh Year, Fresh Faces

by Bella Patel and Alex Zakuta, News Reporters

Class Office

Michael Shen, ’25

Freshman class president Michael Shen said that this year, he is excited to both connect with his classmates and organize various class events.

“I really want to have this class bond because the past year and a half, we haven’t really been able to talk in class because of COVID-19,” he said.“I’m really excited for the freshmen cruise … honestly, I want to do class picnics somewhere, or it’ll be fun to possibly go on class hikes.”

Shen said that one of his main goals is to foster a friendly environment for his classmates through  sharing everyday bonding experiences with his peers.

 “I want to make South a better and more welcoming place, and make sure everyone has someone to talk to,” he said.

< photo by Jaesuh Lee

Kevin Yang, ’24

Sophomore class president Kevin Yang says that he will work to bring back various social activities that were canceled due to the pandemic, including the ice skating social and the ice cream social.

He said the biggest event he hopes to plan will be a sophomore cruise.

“In our freshman year, we were supposed to have a cruise where everyone hops on a yacht in the middle of the harbor,” he said. “I hope to have an ice skating social in December before winter break.  We will rent out an ice skating rink in Newton and have a fun time skating around.”

Aside from organizing class bonding activities, Yang said he also hopes to reinvigorate class merchandise to raise funds and inspire a stronger sense of school spirit.

photo by Eva Shimkus >

Ella Ezrin, ’23

Junior class officer Ella Ezrin hopes to organize a successful semi-formal to make up for the previous years’ lost events due to COVID-19 cancellations.

“Over the past two years, we’ve missed out on things like the freshmen cruise and the sophomore dance. So this year, hopefully, we can do a lot of fundraising and have enough funds to make the junior semi really fun,” she said.

Ezrin said she will do her best to advocate for her entire grade’s best interests.

“One thing I’m looking forward to is talking with classmates and involving the student body [with] their ideas and brainstorming with them,” she said. “Instead of one group who decides everything, [students] should feel like they’re involved and have a voice in what we do as a class.”

< photo by Maureen Caulfield

Sydney Finklestein, ’22

Senior class vice president Sydney Finklestein said that especially after COVID-19’s effects on opportunities for in-person activities, she hopes to plan a fun senior year for her classmates.

“I want to have a really fun spirit week leading up to a big pep rally soon, so that’s one thing I’m excited about and also prom, of course. I’m really excited to plan that and see that happen,” she said.

For those looking to become more involved in school and further connect with peers, Finklestein said that becoming a class officer is an excellent opportunity.

 “Student government is a really great way to get involved at South, and if you didn’t run this year, it’s definitely a great thing to do and you should.”

photo by Becky Dozortsev >


Navaa Malihi, ’25

Navaa Malihi said that as a senator for the class of ‘25, she’ll focus on making South an eco-conscious community.

 “If funds allow, [I’ll] install trash cans and [make them] more easily accessible,” she said. “[I’ll] create scheduled blocks to educate kids on these different topics.” 

Besides working to keep South clean, Malihi said that she hopes to increase representation of student opinions. 

“Our issues aren’t being taken into account as much as they should be,” she said. “We’re almost 2,000 kids. It’s important that we have a measurable voice in our school.” 

Malihi said that she looks forward to getting to know her classmates better.

“I want to get in touch with them more and build strong relationships,” she said.

< photo by Mia D’Souza

Taban Malihi, ’24

Sophomore senator Taban Malihi said that to combat the lack of student engagement with the Senate, she will work to effectively communicate with the South community to build authentic connections.

“There’s an issue of communication that I think needs to be addressed,” she said. “[By] using mediums like the Senate’s Instagram more, [we are] able to communicate with students as well as teachers, [about] what bills we pass and what we’re in the process of doing.”

Ultimately, Malihi said that she hopes to see more involvement in student government.

“By the end of the year, a personal goal is to be able to survey all the students and for at least 50 percent of them to respond to the survey, to see [that] they’re engaged in what the Senate is doing,” she said.

photo by Mia D’Souza >

Chris Mundanchery, ’23

Junior senator Chris Mundanchery said that in addition to working with feedback from classmates, he hopes to find solutions for the spacing problems that could arise from restrictions on where students can eat lunch.

“[The administration] announced that we won’t have the chance to eat lunch in Gym B which isn’t really much of an issue right now because people are able to go outside,” he said. “During the wintertime when everyone comes indoors, it’s going to be pretty cramped.”

Mundanchery said another of his priorities is to reach out and get his peers involved after almost a year and a half of online learning.

“Last year, the best that I could do was put out a survey to see what people thought, but now I can talk with everyone in person,” he said. “It feels better than seeing them on a screen.”

< photo by Eva Shimkus

Brendan Weissel, ’22

As one of the longest-serving South senators, senior Brendan Weissel said he will lead the Senate through new beginnings. Equipped with years of leadership experience in the Senate, Weissel plans to pass his knowledge onto underclassmen senators to help them adjust to the many responsibilities that come.

“My biggest goal is for the Senate to look to the future with the new principal,” he said.“I plan to teach the younger senators the ways of the administration and of the school to help set them up for success.”

Looking to the most immediate future though, Weissel said that he has set his sights on boosting schoolwide unity.

“[I hope] to boost South spirit by getting people to appreciate the school and those around them,” he said.

photo by Becky Dozortsev >