For the Students, By the Students: An Inside Look at Student-Run Groups on Campus

Helena Hu and Simrat Singh

PNN, ASB and Yearbook all have one common theme: these groups rely on the leadership of students to create a final product. They have all taken a step up from last year to become more independent and collaborative in order to set the foundation for a legacy that will last for years to come.

Portola News Network is Portola High’s news broadcast, run by show producer Stephanie Tang and anchored by sophomore Liz Moerman and freshman Jun Kim. Show segments are produced by the Advanced Broadcast Journalism class, which stays after school every Thursday from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. in addition to its allotted third period class.

“I’m really proud of how far PNN has come within just a year. We’re really young compared to all of the other county broadcasts, but we were still nominated for Best Show at OC Film Festival,” Tang said. “I’m really excited for what’s to come. We have a lot more new talent coming in, and I think PNN will just keep getting better and better.”

The show has seen a massive leap, from having one showing last year to creating a broadcast for students to enjoy in advisement every other week. PNN now creates promos for on-campus events as well as interesting segments on student life, including Artist of the Month and Day in the Life videos.

In addition to making the broadcast, PNN members also compete in video production competitions, such as the 24 hour music video and the 48 hour short film contests. Working together outside of school has allowed for creative minds to collaborate while also making fun memories as a team.

“The best part of all the competitions was my crew,” sophomore and FilmED producer Daniel Han said. “Though the grind is real, being able to bring all the creative minds together toward a common goal was an exciting experience.”

From putting up posters to planning rallies and lunchtime activities, ASB can also be seen bustling during third period preparing for big campus events. Run by current president Moerman alongside vice president and 2018-19 president Jason Chen, ASB is dedicated to meeting the interests of the student body. For Chen, ASB was a way for him to recognize his voice on campus and the importance of school spirit.

”I feel like the first thing that hit me was the Forthcoming halftime show and the days leading up to it. I really got to work with Liz, especially on the music and the coordination for that, and just seeing that all come to fruition and having all that work out so well was my first indication of how great ASB truly is,” Chen said.  “I don’t feel like I ever realized I was in ASB until that moment. That was a defining moment where I realized ‘Yes, I’m in ASB, and I can make a difference here.’”

Bridging the divide between sophomores and freshmen, ASB has created a family-like bond that allows it to create impactful memories while also creating fun events for students to enjoy. Through events like Staff Member of the Week and Game of the Month, ASB has created traditions that will be its lasting influence on campus.

“Although a majority of ASB are sophomores, there are four freshmen, which makes our group dynamic really interesting,” Orion house vice president and freshman Allyson Tabayoyong said. “The sophomores like to mess with freshmen, but even though they are always joking with us, we all enjoy being in class together, and I’m really lucky to have become good friends with some of the sophomores.”

As ASB runs its events, members of the yearbook team are tirelessly working to document these important happenings throughout the year. Their tireless work, documenting and creating a book of memories worth remembering, ensures that students’ high school years will be something to look back on in the future with fond memories.

Sophomores and co-editors-in-chiefs Maddy Noh and Grace Tu have been in charge of creating the yearbook as well as supervising the work of the rest of the staff. Working under strict deadlines demands collaboration and hard work from its editors and other staff members.

“We’re definitely more organized, and I feel like we have more hands-on opportunities this year then last year because last year was more of Ms. Lu telling us what exactly to do and us figuring out how to do things,” Tu said. “This year we got to really work with everyone else. Last year, there was more of hierarchy with Ms. Lu at the very top, and there was a fairly large gap between Ms. Lu and where editors were. Now, I feel like we’re more in charge of things, and Ms. Lu is there to guide us.”

The yearbook is one of the biggest products of the school, a physical memento of everything that this school year represents and all the fantastic memories that were made. Whether it is watching some of the star athletes of the school perform at Games of the Month to marching band performing its first ever field show, the yearbook staff is always on the scene to capture the moment.

“One of my favorite moments that stands out was creating my first design for the yearbook,” sophomore and page designer Ethan Niu said. “I had so many different options and routes to go down when creating a layout, and it was a fun and exciting moment for me.”

Through teamwork, collaboration and dedication, these student-led groups are able to create memorable experiences for every student.

“We have expected a ton out of our first two classes here at PHS, much more than is expected of the same age group from other high schools,” principal John Pehrson said. “In every case they have stepped up to the plate with determination, willingness to take risks and a spirit of adventure. We definitely aren’t ‘there’ yet, but we have definitely surpassed all year two expectations. I am beyond proud of our student leaders.”