A Decade of School Buzz
Meet our 2023-24 correspondents
This fall begins the 10th year of School Buzz. A decade. We’re proud of how this program has grown over those years, and how it’s allowed high school students to practice writing and journalism skills while connecting to the broader community. Each year, our student reporters write about their schools and share their perspectives with Buzz readers on our website, thebuzzmagazines.com.
As the years have passed, the number of reporters has ticked up and up – and we have so enjoyed that students want to be part of this program. But after a record-breaking 97 School Buzz reporters last year, we decided to rethink our approach. This program was always aimed at engaging with students; with so many reporters, that had become difficult. This year, we chose to accept a more limited number of reporters, so that we can give each student more personal feedback.
This year’s School Buzz program reflects a slower, more thoughtful process – our overall goal is to foster writing with care and precision. Out of a large pool of exceptionally talented applicants, we chose 38 students, from 21 local high schools. Read on to see how they began their journeys with writing, in their own words.
Shyla Jogi, Bellaire High School
As long as I can remember, my classmates have agreed upon one, and only one, perspective: English class is the worst. And there's good reasoning behind it, too. Long essays, time-consuming reading assignments, having to think critically, of all things. I would join in on the complaining and commiserating, until the day I realized that the exact opposite was true for me. Unlike my classmates, I looked forward to spending hours and hours on the essay assignments, reading classics late at night (probably the reason I need glasses), and participating in the class discussions that my peers so loudly bemoaned. My discovery of my passion for writing was less of a triumphant revelation than a gradual stumbling to a conclusion. When I learned about this opportunity to write for School Buzz, it dawned upon me that this was exactly what those English classes were leading up to: for me to be able to tell the stories of the people around me and at the same time, do what I love doing the most.
Eli Karpas, The Emery/Weiner School
12,000 ft on top of Anchor Mountain, located in Dolores County, Colorado, I had finally filled out my journal. At the beginning of the two-week-long outing through Colorado, I bought a black-and-white spotted journal at a local gas station, which I deemed necessary considering the vast amount of free time I would have. Each day I would journal, losing track of time, and once I finally reached the summit of Anchor Mountain, every page was full. I realized how much I loved writing, and how it models a haven for me. From then, I have maintained an interest in writing with purpose, leading me to take journalism classes throughout high school as well as writing for my school newspaper. Writing for School Buzz will only enhance my passion for writing along with shouting out the awesome school I attend.
Maggie Hester, St. John's School
I have always been competitive, so I have wanted to win just about every game, match, or competition imaginable. I was introduced to competitive writing through the UIL program at Horn Elementary. In my first Creative Writing competition, I won first place and knew immediately that I wanted another shiny medal. Having grown up as an athlete and in a family of athletes, I had never thought of participating in a writing contest, but I quickly fell in love and participated in these competitions throughout elementary school. My love for writing started as a little first grader and continues to flourish even now as a sophomore in high school. Now, I like to write articles about events happening around the world and in my community. I am so excited that I get to continue to write for School Buzz this year!
Jordan Muscal, Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
Before I was ever a writer, I was a reader. I loved Magic Treehouse and Flat Stanley books, Judy Blume and Harry Potter, E.L. Konigsburg and Lois Lowry. When I had my first creative writing assignment in third or fourth grade, it blew my mind that this writing thing was something I could do too. Before that, I'd never thought about how intertwined reading and writing are, and it made me so happy to be doing the same art that produced my favorite books. My love for writing of all types has only grown as I've gotten older, and as I start my second year at Kinder HSPVA in the Creative Writing department, I'm excited to explore journalism as a writer for School Buzz. I'm looking forward to meeting reporters from schools outside my own, as well as getting to write and share some of the things I love about HSPVA.
Charles Yu, Bellaire High School
Since the days when I was learning to color inside the lines, writing has taken on many monstrous and attractive forms throughout my life. From the dreaded “Tuesday Night Writes” assigned by my third-grade teacher to my slightly mortifying history on fanfiction sites, writing has been a timeless method of expression. I found my footing as an editor for my school's yearbook, where I was forced out of my comfort zone to engage my classmates in their uncharted interests. Writing with School Buzz can help me convey an unfiltered perspective on what makes life entertaining, whether it be a major service event in the community or a simple student spotlight. As a diverse school of 3,000 students, Bellaire has many page-turning scoops that I believe are worth capturing. To write about these moments is to preserve their legacy in a medium that can outlast the experience itself.
Eden Williams, Westbury Christian School
I have been writing for a long period of my life, but it wasn't until my sophomore year that I found my true passion for it. Throughout last year, my writing has begun to exude more than just words on a page; now it is meant to tell a story, with every aspect coming together to form something beautiful! Writing allows me to express my perspective of this amazing world. Moreover, School Buzz stood out to me because I hope to share a new point of view with the community. I've hoped for an opportunity to bring my writing to greater heights, and I am so grateful that I can continue on that path! I also grew up reading The Buzz Magazines, and I cannot wait to be a part of it. Overall, I aim to spread joy in my stories, bringing smiles to any reader who sees them.
Nia Shetty, St. John's School
Ever since I can remember, I've had a deep love for the written word. This passion was ignited by a childhood filled with bedtime stories and visits to the local library. But it was in middle school that I truly found my calling as a writer, when my poems and articles started getting published. Beyond writing, my mission is to ensure that every child has access to the wonders of literacy. I organize book donation drives and literacy events, taking small steps to make this dream a reality. Additionally, I’ve had the opportunity to promote the incredible resources and activities that local libraries offer to our community. I see an opportunity to combine my passion for writing and my commitment to literacy by writing for School Buzz. What excites me most is being surrounded by peers who, like me, have a tremendous amount of school pride and a love for literacy. Through my writing, I hope to not only express myself but also to highlight all the amazing things that happen at St. John’s and contribute to our society.
Audrey Nguyen, Saint Thomas’ Episcopal School
Entering my third year as a School Buzz reporter, I am continuing to embrace the opportunity to immerse myself in my school and not only learn, but actually apply real-life skills in journalism. I first fell in love with writing when I was four. My mother had given me a mini journal, complete with a matching fluffy pink pen, and from that moment, my path to journalism was inevitable. I couldn't help but be drawn to the art of storytelling. For me, writing was – and still is – about capturing and preserving every moment. Extraordinary stories unfold behind the walls of my school each and every day, even in places that seem mundane. These past few years, I’ve covered incredible topics, including a sit-down interview with the new Headmaster and the World Culture Club's International Festival. STE’s spirit and vibrant community are what makes my school so incredibly special to me. With each article, I uncover even more remarkable stories that I can’t wait to share.
Carver Hix, Strake Jesuit
Throughout my life, I have always enjoyed writing, whether it be in the form of poetry, creative storytelling, or even school essays, where I was given the opportunity to write about and express what I wanted on a page, but I discovered my passion for writing during my journalism class at my school last year. Through this class I realized the power of writing, or rather the power of telling a story, and the potential it has to not only give presence to what usually lies underground, but also express the stories of different peoples, places, events, and actions that take place to shed them in a new light to all different audiences. I am looking forward to writing for School Buzz so that I can gain more experience writing in a more professional setting but also so that I can share the stories in my school and community with a wider audience.
Gregory Shafir Zelitt, The Awty International School
I discovered that I enjoy writing when my teachers at The Awty International School, where I have been a student since sixth grade, encouraged me to write about whatever I have a passionate interest in. As a hobby, I study WWII and the history of my family, so my eighth-grade history teacher encouraged me to submit to the Scholastic Writing Awards a piece I wrote about my great-grandfather, a Soviet war hero who liberated the concentration camp where his mother perished. I won a Silver Key award for that piece. The following year I won a Gold Key for a piece I wrote about how my family emigrated from the former Soviet Union to flee Jewish persecution and came to the United States as refugees. I have enjoyed writing ever since. With School Buzz, I want to share all that we are doing at Awty to serve our community, as well as the programs we put on to learn from our school, comprised of students from all over the world.
Agnes Tang, Westbury Christian School
Art is a vast topic involving various inextricably linked elements that complement and contrast each other. It is impossible for one to be entirely devoted to one form of art without touching upon its peers. Thus, it is not surprising for me to admit that I did not simply pick up my pen and a passion for writing was kindled in me. Rather, I was steered towards it by my familiarity with visual arts and my commitment to expressing ideas in the most fitting way. During this process of experimenting, I discovered that certain concepts were more suited to words and figurative language rather than colors and shapes, and it appealed to a different audience. This led to the realization that I needed opportunities such as School Buzz to improve my writing skills while presenting our school events through the honesty and freedom of art.
Melanie Fung, Bellaire High School
I was actually pretty bad at writing when I was in elementary school. Writing paragraphs or stories took hours to start because I didn't know how to phrase anything. After my mom took me to a writing workshop, I had more opportunities to write and started to enjoy it more and more. Dancing is one of my hobbies, and I absolutely love it.
Emma Lai, The Post Oak School
When I was about six, my mom told me how light is commonly portrayed as good, and dark is portrayed as bad. In TV shows I watched and books I read, I began to notice: protagonists had light features, and antagonists had darker ones. I decided I wanted to be an author whose protagonists had darker features, and whose villains had lighter ones. But, at six, I only imagined that, and eventually those dreams lingered more as memories than goals. When I was in middle school, I rediscovered my love for writing. I had written a historical fiction story for Humanities class and shared it with my parents. Seeing how impressed they were made me feel proud. After that, I became more involved in writing for my school's newsletter. Writing became a way for me to share my perspective and find my voice. This summer, my mom suggested I apply to be a student reporter for School Buzz. I saw this as an opportunity to share unique experiences from The Post Oak School and continue writing. I hope to represent my school, gain experience in journalism, and, most of all, do what I wanted to do even at six: make a difference through my writing.
Matthew Jeong, Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
From high school superlatives to rags-to-riches success stories, news stories have a way of bringing people together. It can be funny, inspirational, sometimes just informational. Regardless, the ease in which information is distributed, written by a careful hand and perspective, has a special effect. People learn more about each other, from little quirks and tidbits to major events and revelations. There's a sense of spirit, of a culture that everyone's a part of, all facilitated through reporting. My love for human-to-human connections has helped me realize my passion for writing and reporting. I love how news can forge connections between people that can't be observed anywhere else, forming a community bond. As a high schooler, I have a unique perspective of what’s happening in my community that I want to share with everyone else. To pursue those aspirations, I’ve developed editorial skills as the managing editor of my school newspaper and student reporter for School Buzz, where I work to deliver the impact of a proper newspaper firsthand.
Alexandra Wong, St. Agnes Academy
From grades one through five, I was readily identifiable as the little girl lugging around a book into the most inappropriate places: in restaurants, with relatives, before piano lessons. My younger self reasoned it was always necessary to have a book “just in case I got bored,” which was how I often explained to my perplexed parents why going to the movie theater required a copy of The Land of Stories. Though I doubt they ever understood, by the time sixth grade rolled around, I had grown out of that habit and into a new one. I started carrying a notebook and pen around instead – which was, in retrospect, maybe not a considerable improvement. Regardless, I started taking note of the “coolest” outfits I saw, what I ate for lunch, and anything I deemed exciting. Journaling these things had become my favorite part of the day. So, when applications to write for my middle school's newsletter opened, it was only natural to send in my writing and apply. There I discovered a love for journalism that I took to high school. I am so excited to continue my writing journey with School Buzz and share what being a sophomore at St. Agnes is like!
Anjali Martinez, Carnegie Vanguard High School
My love for writing came from a young age when I was introduced to poetry. Since then, I have written numerous poems, and have expanded my writing in other genres as well. Journalism is one of my favorite types of writing. There is power in words, and I believe School Buzz gives writers a chance to develop their passions and tell stories within their communities. In the age of hyperconnectivity, the fundamentals of newswriting only become more important to future generations.
Asia Williams, Lamar High School
Growing up, writing was always my favorite subject. I noticed I was always better at it than my peers in school. My true passion for writing began around the third grade, when I began to compete in writing competitions. I was always intimidated by the fact I was younger than the majority of kids that competed. I was encouraged to continue to write when I won my first competition. I started to write on a higher level starting with UIL in high school, state essay competitions, and writing for a local newspaper. School Buzz will give me the chance to work with different local people my age and get an inside look at different perspectives.
Beatrix Gnemi, Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions
I first discovered my passion for reading at a young age; when I was in elementary school, I was constantly reading books – even during car rides and going up or down the stairs. I never thought I had any reason to think other people would want to read my own words, but when Covid-19 left me stuck at home for a year and a half, I decided to chronicle my quarantine life in a cerulean blue journal. I wrote to a made-up person named “Marie” every single day until the pandemic ended, detailing the happenings of my day and my general thoughts on everything. Since then, I have gained a strong sense of voice in my writing. After this experience, I have grown to be fond of writing, but have never written for a larger audience than myself. I know for a fact that writing for School Buzz will be exhilarating, as I spread information on what is happening in my school and community to a real audience now.
Aleisha Paulick, Lamar High School
My passion for writing started in middle school when I got into story writing. I loved creating characters and developing plots, or even taking original stories and creating a different ending. While many people groan at the thought of a writing task, it has never been that way for me. I feel that writing is a way for me to express my opinion, and journalism has allowed me to give my take on topics and talk about situations that don't get enough attention. I love discovering the why, what, and how something occurred.
Eshaan Mani, The Kinkaid School
I first discovered my passion for journalism as a TIME for Kids Kid Reporter in eighth grade – the rush of covering a meaningful story in real-time is truly special. Over my past three years with School Buzz, I have enjoyed covering the vibrant Kinkaid community and spotlighting the talented students and interesting goings-on on campus. One of my favorite stories I've written for School Buzz has been my profile of Jaivir Pande, a Nepali-American junior golfer who won the Drive, Chip, and Putt competition in Augusta, GA, at one of the most prestigious golf courses. I hope to continue covering the Falcon family in my senior year. The publication's reach, the breadth of topics covered, and the amazing editorial staff are all reasons why I love to write for School Buzz.
Donna Xue, Houston Christian High School
Last summer, I was accepted to School Buzz. As someone who wants to write as a career, this opportunity opened my eyes to what might be my future. I started looking at projects at school and the people involved in them. Through that, I got to know people I would've never encountered if not for the articles I wanted to write. I knew some seniors very well after I interviewed them. A few months later, they graduated. I stood outside the graduation hall, and everybody greeted me, telling me their goodbyes. It was emotional, but I appreciate having listened to them talk with passion and having recorded their experiences in words. Moving into senior year, I want to share memories of high school that will be there for the seniors, teachers, and all students to read and remember.
Solemei Scamaroni, The Village School
The Doom approached. Hearing his thundering call, my sister and I fled towards the lake. See, the lake wasn't just a lake – it was a magical kingdom that needed saving, and we were its saviors. My father was The Doom, the villain. Before adolescence, I used to spend hours, pen and Moleskine journal in hand, creating new stories, new worlds, for my sister and I to explore around the lake next to our home. Despite growing up in a time saturated with iPad screens and flashing TVs, to me, our “normal” world was incredibly unstimulating. I felt the need to create magic because I could never find it. It wasn't until I was thrust into activities, like theater and journalism, where I was forced to connect to the world around me, instead of inventing it, that I noticed the true magic was the one that lay between us – the people. It is this revelation that has inspired me to explore the magic of the people in my community.
Oliver Oldham, The Kinkaid School
I found my love for writing when I realized that it is not a task, but an opportunity to express myself. To be honest, I used to dread writing. I associated writing with assigned schoolwork, and it took me a long time to realize that writing is only as fun as you make it. I began to dive deeper into my writing, and I started to enjoy developing my answers to each prompt I was given. I began to feel a sense of accomplishment and pride each time I finished a piece. At that point, around two years ago, I found a whole new way to express myself through words. I am so excited to continue to write for School Buzz and I look forward to highlighting the amazing things people in the Kinkaid community are doing.
Anika Engler, Second Baptist School
From writing every detail of my day in my diary, to putting together an eight-page research paper, I love every step of the writing process. Gathering my ideas, formulating a piece of work, and seeing it all come together spark an unexplainable rush in me. The creativity that comes with journalism allows individuals to express themselves, and I thoroughly enjoy participating in that. I appreciate the freedom one possesses when coming up with ideas, stories, and prompts. I tend to be a person that desires spontaneity, and writing provides me the opportunity to embrace that trait through reporting about something new every time. My dream is to one day have my own column in a magazine, and I think that School Buzz is the perfect way to launch my dream. I want to give people a behind-the-scenes look at what happens in the real high school world, the things most people are not aware of and do not see. I want to show others a different way of looking at situations and events that occur. Along with writing and reporting, I love the aspect of being able to take photographs, because it helps embellish the story and allows the person reading to visualize everything in a more detailed manner. School Buzz will allow me to capture the moment and then further explain the moment to all my peers.
Kelsy Donovan, Memorial High School
For as long as I can remember, my mind has been a place of ceaseless chaos. With this, writing never came easy to me growing up. I had trouble finding the right words to translate my turbulent thoughts. This persistent struggle pushed me away from writing. I realized, however, that all my high school classes would require writing in some shape or form. While frustrating at first, I started to notice a slight improvement in my writing skills. Eventually, my writing advanced from solely school assignments to paragraphs in my Notes app about my life. I learned to appreciate the dynamic and ambiguous nature of writing, which allows authors to connect with various audiences. When the opportunity to write for School Buzz first presented itself, I thought it would be a great chance to explore writing outside of an academic setting, and to share a piece of Memorial High School with a larger audience.
Keira Donovan, Memorial High School
Initially, writing wasn't something I took a major interest in. I was intimidated by writing because I had creative freedom, unlike math, which is black and white. As I wrote more in school, I found my voice in writing, and rather than shying away, I decided to explore it. I started to write independently and discovered that writing about the things that I love brought me joy. I am still exploring this side of myself, but writing has developed into one of my favorite things. When I think about my future, I can see writing as a potential path that I would thrive in.
Catherine McClees, Stratford High School
I first discovered my interest in writing in seventh grade, when we had to write an ode to something we loved. I tend to have some severe writer's block, but it took no time to figure out that I was going to write about chocolate. Whereas my math and science worksheets were a complete chore, I adored writing and rewriting this ode – even adding an anti-ode at the end about white chocolate. Around this time, I began to read more advanced books, and to appreciate the ways in which the authors wrote. I loved Agatha Christie's characterization, John Irving's narration, and John Berendt's dialogue. After I attended a summer workshop at Rhodes College, I grew to love writing even more as I learned about the intricacies of storytelling.
Caroline Larrabee, Stratford High School
Ancient Egyptians methodically etch hieroglyphics into stone; Greeks carefully sketch onto freshly produced papyrus; I chaotically type on my school-issued Chromebook. I have been an intensely passionate writer since I was little, often resorting to my dream journal, and occasionally rage journal, for comfort. It didn't take long before I noticed that there were more important things to chronicle than my love for Taylor Swift (shocking, I know). As I began to observe the incredible triumphs and occasional pitfalls within my community, I knew that my purpose was to advocate and educate effectively. Journalism proved to be a perfect outlet. My journalistic career has allowed me to interview a wide array of people, ranging from the newest Stratford teacher to a Holocaust survivor, each interaction reminding me of the importance of genuine storytelling. School Buzz provides a unique opportunity for me to amplify the voices of my peers through a larger, engaged audience.
Madeleine Skaufel, St. Agnes Academy
The Buzz promotes real people’s stories within our community, which is a turn from media often filled with demoralizing stories that dishearten our view of humankind. Ever since I have moved to the area, I’ve enjoyed reading about families, pets, news, and kids, which sparks interest in a more fulfilling, positive way. I have always loved to read (one of my biggest accomplishments to date was winning my 40-book challenge with 180 books in the fourth grade!). I love to write and analyze the experiences of others and the events that happen around me. I want to pursue journalism as a career because the culture of the media in the present day promotes misinformation, polarization, bias, and influences the way people form opinions and view society.
Dani Barg, The Emery/Weiner School
Growing up, I had never considered writing my strong suit. I often found myself dreading the daunting task of essay-writing, staring blearily at the blinking cursor of my monitor as I rewrote my opening sentence... for the sixth time. However, as I wrote more for school, practice, and School Buzz, I stepped out of my perfectionist comfort zone and realized that despite its difficulties, writing is my greatest superpower. When the words flow directly from my mind to my fingertips, weaving intricate stories of the world around me like spoken words never could, that is when I am the truest version of myself. Now approaching my second year as an Emery/Weiner School Buzz correspondent, I am proud to have covered the grand re-opening of the Math Lab, given an insider's perspective of the annual school play, and highlighted the joys of community service, opening a view of Emery no campus tour can offer. I am honored to have once again been granted the opportunity to share its accomplishments from within, showing that even a small private school can still make a big difference.
Check out the School Buzz blog throughout the year as these correspondents share school happenings.
School Buzz 2023-24 Reporters
The Awty International School
Bellaire High School
Carnegie Vanguard High School
Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions
Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart
The Emery/Weiner School
Houston Christian High School
Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
The Kinkaid School
Lamar High School
Memorial High School
The Post Oak School
Saint Thomas’ Episcopal School
St. Agnes Academy
St. John’s School
Stratford High School
St. Pius X High School
Second Baptist School
Strake Jesuit College Preparatory
The Village School
Westbury Christian School
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