Dear Tara, Danielle, Alicia and Mr. Kandell,


When I say my time on Verde has been a dream come true, I mean it with all of my heart. Admittedly, I didn’t initially realize how much time production would take, how little time there would be to write articles, nor how much persistence would be required to contact sources. But neither did I realize that I would soon come to be part of a community of inquisitive, intelligent student journalists, that a lot can happen in a six-week production cycle and that though production nights stretched long, they would be filled with laughter, enthusiasm and free food.


I first discovered Verde in seventh grade, when I was forwarded an article covering Stanford’s D-school. Up until that point, I had always wanted to be a graphic designer, so when I began reading, I never thought that the writing would inspire me more so than the tale of the innovative design students themselves. Enthralled by the way fact and anecdote were interwoven in a story with a sprinkling of statistics, I ended up spending the next few hours poring over columns like “That’s What Shi Said,” profiles on the nocturnal visitors of a laundromat and hard-hitting features examining issues like rape culture and gender disparity.


Thus, when the time came to choose a publication to join, Verde was the obvious answer for me. 


As an avid reader-turned-writer of Verde, I’ve found that being a creator is so much more invigorating than just being a subscriber. Since as early as I can remember I’ve been a lover of stories, and Verde has enabled me to unveil and relay the memoirs of others and our community. But even more than that, beginning journalism, and Verde even more so has opened up my mind. As a journalist, I’ve found myself taking more notice of the world and events seemingly unrelated to me. 


From my experience as a debater and student journalist, I know the value of staying informed. Reading the news is about more than knowing what’s up- it’s about constantly obtaining new information to update one’s understanding of the world, of politics, economics, society, and of themselves. From writing a history paper to deciding what to eat for dinner to voting for the future president of our nation, knowing the facts shapes the very way one thinks, talks and acts. Verde not only supplies readers with the facts, it challenges them to contemplate them and think critically about what they know, which is why our news section is so important and what inspired me to run for news editor. 


By constantly having to keep up with current events and translate intensive research into easily-understood snippets, debate has mechanized staying “in the know” into my daily life. My time on Verde and in beginning journalism have only reinforced this, and I make it a habit to check the New York Times and Palo Alto Online on a daily basis. As a news editor, these practices would aid me in seeking pertinent news stories for our readership. 


Leadership is also about cooperation and delegation, which my time as a board member of Paly’s Youth Community Service club has taught me about. In order to pull off events like Paly’s annual Service Day and an upcoming food drive, clearly communicating and dividing tasks were key in the planning process. Serving as a director and teacher at Jordan Middle School’s debate club has trained me in the balance of patience, encouragement and insistence necessary to coerce middle schoolers into action, which will additionally aid me in ensuring writers meet deadlines for their news stories.


My short but sweet time on Verde has taught me that writing, like journalism, is dynamic. Whilst I was writing my perspective on technology, I revised and rewrote my piece several times before deciding to delve into a different focus altogether. I believe this applies not only to the content we produce but the way we present it. To adapt to a rapidly-technologizing world of news, Verde too must evolve.


Verde’s aesthetic, cohesive magazine designs are one factor that drew me to join and a major source of excitement for the Paly student body every time we publish. However, to stay relevant and expand our reader base beyond those who can access a magazine, we need to revamp our digital presence. Having a regularly-updated news section is one method to draw regular viewers, and incorporating attractive visual elements would further engage them (for example, Gridster is a WordPress plugin that generates a dynamic grid layout for articles that’s very suitable for a constantly-updating news page). 


Over the summer, I hope to intern with the Stanford Daily to gain more experience and continue to develop my journalistic skills.

My love for Verde began long before I joined, but since I became a part of this staff, it has only multiplied exponentially. Thank you all for always searching for stories that need to be told, maintaining such a high standard of quality and daring to be bold for the sake of divulging the truth. These principles inspired me to join, and I hope as a member of Verde’s leadership team, I can do the same for future Verdites.


Sincerely, Ashley