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Fall friendship: Juniors bond over donuts, drinks at class party

Photo credit: Casey Huff
Class of 2025 Student Council representatives Rachel Chung, Francie Wallack and Tavi Memoli smile in front of boxes of donuts and containers of hot water to mix with hot chocolate packets. Chung served as photographer for the event, documenting the party on her digital camera. The juniors’ autumn party was meant to provide a space to talk to their peers and relax in the midst of their academics. 

Junior year has a reputation for being the hardest year of high school. To celebrate autumn and provide a break from academic commitments, the Class of 2025’s Student Council representatives Tavi Memoli, Francie Wallack and Rachel Chung planned a casual gradewide event.

Juniors gathered in the dining hall Tuesday, September 19, during the 10:30-11:00 Mentorship and Meetings block for an autumn-themed connection party. Students and mentors drank hot chocolate and apple cider, ate donuts and socialized, free of homework and devices.

They also played a gratitude game where students could anonymously tap others who made them feel happy, smile or laugh in the past week. Chung said these types of activities are perfect for the dynamic of the grade at this age.

“At the beginning of the year, we really wanted to focus on trying to connect the grade,” Chung said. “From past experiences, we found out that mandatory, specific activities aren’t the best for our grade. We saw how people responded to our fall cookie decorating last year, and since it’s the beginning of fall, we figured it’d be the perfect time for donuts and coffee. We just want to create a comfortable, warm environment where they don’t have to worry.”

Beginning this school year, grade-level meetings occur twice a month as opposed to once, according to Chung. Eleventh grade Dean of Culture, Community and Belonging Casey Huff said this change is inspiring the Student Council to find new ideas for class meetings besides informational presentations.

“We wanted to build in connection time while brainstorming together,” Huff said. “We know the class loves food. They like hanging out. Without making it forced, this was a way for everybody to come together with no technology to enjoy treats and time with each other.”

The Class of 2025 starts the college process in January 2024, which will take the place of Human Development classes until the second semester of their senior year. Chung said the class events serve to counteract the stress that comes with thinking about the future.

“It’s especially important this year because everyone’s starting the college process, and their stress levels are high,” Chung said. “It’s really easy to compare ourselves with others in our grade in terms of how they’re doing in school. We want people to learn to support each other and build each other up for a year that’s sure to be tough.”

Junior Gabriella Specchierla reflected on the balance between schoolwork and peer connection in a work-heavy year and emphasized the importance of being comfortable together before high school ends.

“It’s really important to connect with one another because it’s our second-to-last year,” Specchierla said. “We only have one more year with these girls, so it’s really important to take advantage of every opportunity we’re given and pull ourselves away from the stress and schoolwork. Being able to walk up to whoever you want and start talking to them was really enjoyable.”

The junior Student Council representatives said they are planning to host more grade-level bonding activities this year in an effort to prioritize students’ mental health. Huff echoed this idea and said these events are especially important to preserve students’ relationships over middle and high school.

“In junior year, the same for your senior year and, unfortunately, as you start to move through your adulthood, it’s really easy to get wrapped up in whatever you’re doing,” Huff said. “Scheduling time for yourself or intentional connection with your friends is really important because otherwise you just won’t do it. A lot of students have been at Archer either since sixth or seventh grade or freshman year, so we’ve been together for a while, and if you’ve had some preconceived notions about people, events like these help us reconnect.”

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About the Contributor
Lucy Williams, Voices Editor
Lucy Williams joined the Oracle as a staff reporter in 2021 and became the Voices Editor in 2023. Outside of journalism, she runs a Los Angeles food blog on Tiktok and Instagram under the epithet "Little Savvy." She also serves on the Hermanas Unidas club board and the DemocraShe Leadership Team and is passionate about reading and sociology.

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