EICs and Managing Editor Say Farewell to Eastside

EICs and Managing Editor Say Farewell to Eastside

Online Editor-in-Chief: Asher Boiskin
Online Editor-in-Chief: Asher Boiskin

Starting in 2014, my older sister Shari brought the latest issue of Eastside home every month. As an Underground Editor, the stories she wrote and shared always excited me. When Shari was a junior, she even interviewed me for an article on recognizing women in history—an article that now receives the most comments of any online Eastside article and was even published in a German textbook. By the time I reached eighth grade and it was time to select my high school courses, I eagerly penciled in Journalism 1H. Thanks to Shari, I had a good idea of what to expect. She had told me all about the Eastside community and encouraged me to sign up to take the class.

After just a few months in room F087, my expectations had been surpassed. Learning about Stephen Glass, interviewing classmates for feature stories, and attending mock press conferences made my freshman year of high school—which took place online due to COVID-19—enjoyable. I looked forward to journalism class. When applications were released, I excitedly applied to join the board as a Print Global Commentary Editor. Another year later, I became the Online Opinions Editor. Now, I’m an Online Editor-in-Chief. If my sister had not hooked me into joining and writing for Eastside, Journalism 1H certainly would have—it confirmed my passion for journalism.

When I reflect on my time at Eastside a few years from now, I won’t remember the stories I wrote. Instead, I’ll remember the exhilarating feeling of working late into the night on investigative pieces, spontaneously coming up with questions for interviews, and spending hours passionately debating opinion pieces. I’ll remember learning that a simple email can go a long way—even securing interviews with some of America’s foremost and formerly foremost political leaders: the former Lt. Governor of New Jersey, a former senator, a current congressman, and a former Senate Majority Whip. I’ll recall the times I faced prior review and met with administrators to advocate for my journalism to be published—not censored. But most of all, I’ll cherish the amazing teacher—Mr. Gagliardi (Gagz)—and other student journalists I became great friends with along the way.

At a time when journalism is under attack—autocratic regimes continue to crack down on independent voices, as seen recently with the arrest of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, and print journalism faces financial ruin—the need for papers like Eastside has become more critical than ever. Local journalism has significant advantages over national journalism: we can connect deeply with our community and drive change in impactful ways. Writing for Eastside, I have seen this power firsthand. Our editorials on grade inflation, student safety, and school bathroom policies have prompted real change, and our investigative pieces on East alumni like criminal fraudster Gary Wang have contributed to national exposés. Local journalism, in particular, helps both students and student journalists better comprehend the very world we learn about in all of our classes.

In the coming years, Cherry Hill Public Schools will demolish F-wing for new construction under the recently passed bond. However, F087—a place where we have found community and power in our words—will live on. F087 may be a physical space, but it embodies a legacy of storytelling, empowerment, and journalistic excellence that will continue to inspire students to write for Eastside for years to come, just as my sister inspired me, ten years ago.

Online Editor-in-Chief: Ella Goodstadt
Online Editor-in-Chief: Ella Goodstadt

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved stories. From the age of four or five, words began to fascinate me. I created elaborate stories in my head, and I used my bookshelf as a place to escape into new realms and adventures. Each page I turned exposed me to new opportunities, voices, and perspectives.

At its core, books offered me a way to think outside of the box and see the world in a new light. Reading taught me the ability to see a story behind a seemingly meaningless concept. 

I can still vividly remember the moment I circled Journalism 1H on my freshman year course selection sheet in eighth grade. I hoped that perhaps I could transfer the creative energy I had garnered through reading into a new career of writing. 

Unbeknownst to me at the time of picking classes, my first experiences with journalism would take place through a computer screen. I met Mr. Gagliardi virtually, yet I knew from the first Journalism 1 Google Meet we had in the fall of my freshman year, his teaching would play a vital role in my high school experience. 

During this course, we were required to write at least two stories for Eastside Online each marking period. Stories were posted online through Google Classrooms for each section, and I can remember the rush of excitement I’d experienced when new story ideas were posted for us students to sign up for. 

I quickly discovered the passion I had for writing stories for the culture and community sections, exploring all our town had to offer during a time of such little interaction. Writing reviews on the new Taylor Swift album or on the new coffee shop in town brought me so much contentment, and I knew this was something I wanted to continue throughout my high school career. 

Sophomore year, I got to serve as editorial assistant for the Eastside board and learned the “ins and outs” of working in the newsroom. Junior year, I expressed my creativity to the greatest extent by creating many multimedia packages as the online culture editor. 

This past year, however, has been one of the most valuable and memorable experiences as Online Editor-in-Chief. I’ve devoted my energy for Eastside into equipping younger editors with the writing and leadership skills they need to succeed, and I cherish the relationships I’ve formed. 

I’m eternally grateful to Asher for our collaboration as co-editors this year and his dedication to the board. The bond Jillian, Gia, Sophia, Matt, Asher, and I now share as EICs for this past school year is so special to me. From sitting at Starbucks together for five hours to late night Zooms, this leadership team has played a vital role in shaping my Eastside experience. .

As I leave East and Eastside in a few weeks as an alum, I reflect on how grateful I am for the bonds formed, this devoted and hardworking community, and for this space to explore my love for writing. I thank Eastside and Mr. Gagliardi for inspiring me to take the next big step and pursue a career in journalism and for giving me a space to learn and grow.

Managing Editor: Matt Rentezelas
Managing Editor: Matt Rentezelas

I wish I had some sort of whimsical or impactful reason for joining Eastside. As most newspaper readers know, however, the truth is oftentimes much less remarkable than one would hope. When choosing electives for my freshman and sophomore year, I effectively tried out a bunch of vastly different pathways — Intro to Computer Programming, Business Law, and 3D Art. At that point, I was completely lost when it came to my future, and taking Journalism 1H just happened to appeal to me at that point in time. 

Walking into F087 on my first day of in-person classes, I remember immediately seeing a gigantic monkey plush staring at me. As my eyes scanned across the room, I took notice of the dozens of past Eastside pages covering the walls, serving as windows into the culture, events, and perspectives of the past. Throughout the year, my interest in writing for Eastside continued to grow. From a young age, I’ve always loved sharing stories, whether they be jokes, memories, pieces of historical trivia, opinions, or current events. In F087, I saw an opportunity to step on my metaphorical soapbox and voice things that have captured my attention. And so, I applied to be Print Global Commentary Editor.

Though I was a quiet part of the editorial board at first, I soon became a vocal (maybe too much so) member of class discussions on editorials, projects, and more. I pursued my goals, covering global issues such as the treatment of 2022 World Cup stadium workers in addition to school issues like the impact of online classes. But most importantly, I befriended members of the board I would’ve never been exposed to otherwise. Asher and Enis became a consistent source of new jokes and ideas each class; Gia became a friend I could always count on for existential questions and discussions; Manar became my group chat enemy; Abby and Brielle became great sources of Eastside and senior year advice. All of these people (along with many others) became friends and sources of guidance rather than simple peers. If not for Abby, I wouldn’t have even decided to apply for managing editor — I thought I wouldn’t have any luck in the application process going against people who had been on the board since sophomore year.

In my senior year, I continued to take advantage of every opportunity within Eastside. I knew that my time was limited and that with everything going on, the year (sorry for the cliché) would fly by. I continued to connect with members of the board, with Danny and Landon becoming new sources of humor throughout class periods and Michelle and Taylor becoming my stalkers in the East parking lot. With the EICs and Gagz, I helped instill organizational changes to the board’s framework. With Asher, I was able to write many editorials and interview important political figures about their time in office. And where, if not in Eastside, could I have had the opportunity to falsely and publicly claim that cameras would be put in each East bathroom? 

Though my time on the board is coming to a close, I am happy knowing my contributions remain. Through memories, print and online articles, and school policy, I am comfortable knowing that my time with Eastside will survive in many forms.

But I digress.

Print Editor-in-Chief: Gia Gupta
Print Editor-in-Chief: Gia Gupta

All my life, my world has been structured around the number three. I am one of three siblings. I was given a three letter name. 

So it would only make sense that I would find my life’s comfort in three places.

The concept of “three places” is actually well defined in sociology. Someone’s “first place” is their home; their “second place” is their workplace; and their “third place”a place that enables both creativity and communityis their choice. 

In history, Ancient Greece chose agoras and Feudal China chose tea houses. At East, tinkerers chose the Robotics room and musicians chose the rhythms of D-wing. 

Three years ago, blurring the lines between accidental and intentional, I stumbled upon F087, the home of Eastside.

Walking into F087 each day is a sigh of relief. It is a promise, a certainty. Matt, Asher and Enis will be huddling together in the corner plotting a new project. Sophia will be sitting at her computer and she will smile the same big smile she does every time she sees Herb, my alpaca (not me, sigh). A philosophical discussion about religion, politics or the meaning of life will typically propagate out of nowhere. Shayna will deliver a new hot take; I’ll hear Manar’s characteristic giggle and Lauren and I will hug whenever we see each other. A huge monkey across the room will always make straight-in-the-eye contact with me and will always win our wildly unmatched staring contest.

But most of the time, I took the days for granted, let them pass because it felt like they were a promise that never expired. Nowadays, I glance around the room trying to soak in the clichés, the guaranteesreckon with the day when will, will not. I think about what it means for a triangle to lose its third side, for neapolitan ice cream to lose its strawberry: for me to leave a place that made me complete. I think about what it means to never be in a place with all of the same people again, that all of our beginnings and middles were simply precursors to our final act three: the end.

The bitter truth is that three isn’t everlasting, at least on the surface. The Three Stooges split up. So did the core Marx Brothers and The Miami Heat Big Three. And while we remember the 3-2-1 liftoff, one day The Apollo 11 trio had to get off the spacecraft. 

In subtle ways though, that harmonious number prevails. We still choose to listen to their music, revisit their comedy, watch their game-winning shots and remember that small step for man, that giant leap for mankind.

One day soon, I’ll lose my third place. F-wing will be torn down. F087 will disappear. 

Yet, I’ll still listen to my favorited Eastside playlist, revisit cringy old WhatsApp comedy, reread groundbreaking journalism and remember that small step in a room, that giant leap of discovery.

How could I not?

These past three years, my world has been structured around the number three. I was always one of three incredible co-editors. I was given a three letter position: E-I-C. There were three places: home, school, and a seemingly accidental discovery.

But nowadays, I don’t stumble upon it. It is not an encounter by chance, a room I run across. 

My third place is a choice. Today, and—even if it was unbeknownst to me—everyday, I chose F087.

Full circle moments aside, I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m leaving forever. I’ll be visiting soon— there’s this staring contest I still need to win.

Print Editor-in-Chief: Jillian Koenig
Print Editor-in-Chief: Jillian Koenig

Within the United States, there are 547 Trader Joe’s stores. Yet, one Trader Joe’s holds a special place in my heart — the Trader Joe’s on Haddonfield Road.

The year is 2020 and I’m sitting in my bedroom doing online school. I eagerly sign up to write my first ever Eastside story: an online community story covering the new Trader Joe’s on Haddonfield Road. I go to the new store and copiously take notes on what I see. I anxiously approach the store manager to ask for an interview — my first interview ever. She happily agrees to talk with me and the interview goes smoothly. After collecting all of my information, I arrive home eager to get to work writing the story.

Throughout that year, I continue to write for Eastside. During an atypical and isolated freshman year, writing for Eastside keeps me occupied and engaged in something. 

Later on, I apply for an editor position and happily accept the role of a print community editor. Through this position, I interview store owners, nonprofit directors and other Cherry Hill residents. Looking back on that year, I realize how much of an impact that position had on me. Starting off sophomore year, I was timid when it came to interviewing people I didn’t know. However, as I gained experience through writing these community stories, I came to appreciate the opportunities I had to interact with strangers whose paths I otherwise would not have crossed.

Junior year I return to the editorial board as a print news editor. I report on typical school news: East events, retiring teachers, new policies. My second year on the editorial board teaches me to think outside of my position. I admire the drive and determination of editors from previous Eastside boards. I channel that ambition and make it my personal project to develop an iOS app for Eastside Online. With lots of trial and error, I successfully publish an app to go along with the website. 

As my trip down memory lane progresses, I now arrive at senior year. While this year is my third year on the editorial board, I’ve experienced my fair share of “firsts” throughout the year: my first journalism convention, my first time leading the Journalism 2H class, my first time writing editorials. This year has taught me that there is always more to learn, no matter how “experienced” you think you are. 

In a few weeks I will walk out of F087 as an East – and Eastside – alum. I’ll take with me the skills that I have learned and the memories that I’ve made over the past four years. Over time, I’ll forget the minor details but never the Trader Joe’s on Haddonfield Road which first introduced me to the Eastside community.

Print Editor-in-Chief: Sophia Liu
Print Editor-in-Chief: Sophia Liu

I’m not usually a morning person. 

But, thanks to Eastside, over the past few years, I’ve begun to see the value in the early hours of the day. I’ve grown to appreciate catching glimpses of a pink-tinted sunrise on distribution days and feeling the cool morning air walking into school on the way to Period A Journalism. Not only is Eastside often the beginning of my school days at East, but in a greater sense, it was the beginning — the sunrise — of my journey as an East student.

After all, Eastside was the first East club I knew I wanted to join, after leafing through the “Spring Clean Your Life!” issue at the Eighth Grade Open House over four years ago.  

As part of Eastside, I uncovered unexpected, fascinating stories in the people and community around me. I chronicled the return of a faculty musical, spotlighted the story of a student taking flight, highlighted the harmony of Stay Tuned’s a cappella and explored individuality through “Humans of East.” I experienced firsthand how journalism can help raise awareness on topics, from accessibility to AI’s implications to gentrification. Over the past four years, I found countless new ways to step out of my comfort zone and grow through journalism. I’ve taken on challenges, from starting the STEM section sophomore year to taking on the role of EIC senior year. Furthermore, with every story, Eastside has pushed me to get to know my peers on a deeper level, beyond the perfunctory “How many hours of sleep did you get last night?” 

Like with any sunrise, you never fully know what the day ahead will bring.

Unexpected was the day I logged on to the Journalism 1 Google Meet (having begun my Eastside journey in the virtual learning era) and saw Gagz don a multitude of different personas, challenging us to report on the murder of “Ryan Sneed.” Unexpected was winning the convention’s multimedia contest with Karina and Jiwoo — featuring View Boston, calling (and being sent to voicemail by) countless florists and the longest Dunkin line ever. Unexpected were the Secret Santa gifts (including the year half the board bought waffle makers, myself included) and the Mafia reveals (I guess wrong every time.) Unexpected is just how much I’ll miss F087 — adorned with its monkey stuffed animals and walls plastered with issues — and the people in it. Unexpected is the person I’ve become as a result of Eastside: someone who’s found a love for storytelling and the realization that everyone, everywhere has a story worth telling (see sonder.) 

With graduation ticking ever closer, the mundane things that were once second-nature routine gain new weight as I do them for the last time. Writing my last Eastside story, looking over Eastside proofs for the last time and waking up for my last Eastside distribution day are bittersweet moments, signaling the sunset of my time in high school and as an Eastside editor and the beginning of a new chapter.

In college, Times New Roman might replace Century Schoolbook, sprawling campuses will replace East’s bricked building, Canvas will replace Google Classroom. The walls of F087 — and F-wing — will even one day disappear. 

But I know that every time I manage to catch a sunrise, I’ll be reminded of early morning distribution days, lively conversations and laughter in F087 and a community unlike any other I’ve known. After all, fittingly enough, the sun always rises from the East side.

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