HomeCommunityAs another successful year comes to a close, graduating Sandpipers reflect on their time with the staff

As another successful year comes to a close, graduating Sandpipers reflect on their time with the staff

Published May 10, 2021


Despite the many bumps in the road throughout the last year, The Carmel Sandpiper staff has nearly finished another volume of coverage on an array of school and community issues, with some Sandpipers destined to leave the Carmel High School nest, leading them to reflect on their impact both inside of Room 23 and beyond it.

MJ Apfel

Aside from making his mark in the courtroom as an attorney for CHS’ highly-praised mock trial team, senior MJ Apfel served his first year on Sandpiper staff as both a reporter and copy editor. 

During his time on staff, Apfel wrote about everything from school and community news to film and television reviews. Out of all his articles from this unconventional year of publications, the senior is particularly fond of his profile on CHS alum and animator Oliver Fredericksen. 

“It was probably the most fun I ever had writing an article,” Apfel reflects. “I had some great interviews with his teachers, I liked watching his animation and researching his art, and I knew from taking Digital Music with him that the profile would write itself.”

Apfel will attend USC in the fall as a Philosophy, Politics and Law major, with plans to attend law school after his undergraduate studies. He is excited to be in Los Angeles, especially since his friends and fellow staff members Andrew Wang and Martin Sevcik will be at the nearby UCLA. Whether the bitter USC-UCLA rivalry will sink their friendship is yet to be seen.

The future Trojan feels that he has personally benefited from his time on staff, with hopes that the skills he learned will help in this next stage of his life.

“I knew going into Newspaper that it would be a challenging class, but I definitely think my writing and worth ethic are better because of it,” Apfel notes. “It was a unique experience knowing that my writing actually had an impact on the events and people I wrote about.”

Cassie Gorman

Serving as a journalist and copy editor for two years, Cassie Gorman has dedicated most of her coverage to local news within the community. 

Out of all the articles she has composed, the senior is especially proud of her collaboration with sophomore Emma Brown and senior Alicia Krueger about the sexual assault allegations made by students via social media platforms. The article questions the school’s administrative response and protocols.

“I think it was really important for a variety of reasons, the biggest one being that it highlights an important issue that happens in our community,” Gorman notes. “Journalism and social media can work together, and it can highlight issues that were originally given a voice from social media, but it can also get a fuller well-rounded story when done correctly.” 

During her time at U.C. Davis, the senior will major in Political Science and minor in Philosophy, with plans to attend law school after obtaining her bachelor’s degree.

“Philosophy is really an incredible thing,” Gorman says. “It helps strengthen critical thinking skills, problem-solving, and really gets at the burning questions about life, society and relationships that I think we have all wanted to ask at some point or another in our lives.”

Aside from her work at The Sandpiper, Gorman has served as the president of the CHS Ethics Bowl team, provided guidance to underclassmen as a Link Leader and competed in local public speaking competitions.

Alicia Krueger  

Editor-in-chief Alicia Krueger has been on staff for three years and plans to continue her passion for journalism and public policy at NYU in the fall. Currently serving as Newspaper Club president, the journalist considers her time at The Sandpiper well spent. 

During her time on staff, Krueger has covered a variety of topics spanning the on-campus and local community, contributing some opinion pieces as well. Her favorite article, about CUSD’s decision to initially keep elementary students on distance learning, required multiple waves of research, interviews and revisions prior to its publication in January. 

“When I was a sophomore, The Sandpiper staff room was the scariest thing I could imagine,” Krueger recalls. “I slowly realized that I am so drawn to journalism because I truly love the process. I love knowing what I want to say or what needs to be said in each article, then figuring out how to say it and how to effectively communicate it with all readers.”

Outside of her journalistic pursuits, Krueger has played both club and CHS volleyball, competed for the CHS dive team and completed a number of internships, including some for local nonprofits and government leadership. 

“Journalism is what I struggle with the most, yet what I’m most proud of in the end,” Krueger says, “Every article I write is different and challenging in its own unique way which is what makes it so fulfilling.” 

Michael Lakind

Joining The Sandpiper during his junior year, Lakind has contributed to the Sandpiper with reviews, opinion pieces, reflections and local news. Video game reviews in particular have become a favorite for the writer.

“I loved getting to write about how gaming is the biggest, most evolved form of media and art we have,” Lakind says. “This is something I feel very passionate about, and getting to express this was a lot of fun.” 

The Broadway enthusiast plans to attend U.C. San Diego as a Theater major. 

“Acting is what’s gotten me through high school, and it’s the only thing that gets me excited about my professional future,” Lakind says. “Nothing else makes me feel more connected to myself, my friends and the world around me.”

Aside from writing for the Carmel Sandpiper, Lakind has applied his passion for theater by serving as the CHS’ Drama Club president and earning multiple roles in local theatrical productions. He has also contributed to the CHS Link Crew and is fond of playing golf from time to time. 

Lakind encourages all prospective and current writers to dedicate their time to the class as if it were an academic elective, and thanks his copy editors for their work and thoughtful collaboration. 

Carissa Mendoza

Joining the Sandpiper Staff in her final year of high school, senior Carissa Mendoza contributed to the team as a journalist covering primarily student life, focusing on issues such as teens’ screen time, school clubs and first-time student voters. 

The senior plans to attend U.C. Santa Barbara in the fall, majoring in sociology and minoring in psychology. Mendoza says that she was drawn to the major because she has “always had a love for being around and interacting with people, so to [her] it made sense to study a subject that evaluates why human society and individuals function as they do.” 

Mendoza is especially fond of her article on student screen time, which she saw as a source of self-reflection. 

“Obviously, in this day in age, we spend hours upon hours on the screen which is pretty scary,” Mendoza says. “Like most kids, I turn to my phone for so many aspects of my life and as I have noticed, I tend to check it multiple times a day … for no reason. It was super interesting to poll some students at Carmel High and see how much time they spend on their devices and, let me tell you, the results were scary.”

Outside of Room 23, Mendoza is the Associated Student Body Treasurer and has been involved in CHS’ Model United Nations team. 

Martin Sevcik

Known for his various snack reviews under the pseudonym “The Connoisseur,” copy editor Martin Sevcik plans to attend UCLA with a major in labor studies. Where many of his fellow staff chose their majors after careful deliberation, Sevcik’s choice was a little less precise: “My friend Andrew told me that it would be ‘biased’ and ‘funny,’” the copy editor says about his motivations. “I’m very susceptible to peer pressure.” 

During his two years on staff, Sevcik reported on local and campus news, with a focus on CHS’ reopening during his senior year. Of all the articles he has published, Sevcik’s favorite is his piece on “Carmel Unified School District’s premiere tech whiz, Colin Matheson” and his positive impact on the shift to distance learning. 

“Contributing to a school newspaper is a genuinely rewarding experience,” Sevcik says. “No one cares about the byline, but everyone cares about the paper itself. I’m not here for any kind of prestige. What I came for — writing stories that genuinely benefit the community — I got in truckloads.” 

Aside from his unique contribution to the Sandpiper community, Sevcik has also been involved in CHS’ Mock Trial team, which served as a catalyst for his involvement in the Sandpiper.

“Well … how did I get here?” Sevcik questions. “I’ll tell you how I got here: There is a mock trial-newspaper pipeline, where CHS mockers will take Newspaper as a way to hang out with other mockers. Miles, Becca, Alex, Andrew, MJ, Emma, Zoe, Gracie, Julia, Sophia, etc. — these were all mock trial students who also took Newspaper at some point. I kinda took the class as a result of this pipeline.”

Andrew Wang

Similar to many of his fellow seniors, journalist and copy editor Andrew Wang joined The Sandpiper during his junior year. He has profiled students, covered campus life and reviewed new album releases from artists such as BROCKHAMPTON and Bryson Tiller.

For Wang, being on The Sandpiper meant being involved with something greater than himself. He hopes to carry that same mentality to his upcoming college experience at UCLA, especially in the political and social justice scenes. 

“Throughout my high school career, I’ve kinda realized that Political Science is what I’m passionate about,” Wang notes. “I’m hoping to be involved with nearby political campaigns and mutual aid opportunities and the like for the foreseeable future. Somewhere way farther down the line I might try to go into academics.”

After countless articles, interviews and revisions, Wang encourages everyone who is considering writing for the Sandpiper in the future to take the leap of faith and join the staff. 

“The school newspaper is unique and especially valuable in a small and tightly-knit community like the one we have here in Carmel,” Wang says. “I encourage anyone who sees a future where they’ll have to write or interact with the community around them to take a serious look at the Sandpiper. I don’t think you’ll regret it.” 

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