Saturday night, April 16th was Berkeley High’s Senior Prom 2016, at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Oakland.
PromPosals are a fun tradition at Berkeley High, that run from simple to to a cast of a dozen, and they all draw big audiences. Three are included in this post. Photos from Prom are included as well.
BHS 2016 PromPosal Photos: https://www.flickr.com/
Berkeley High Senior Prom 2016 Photos Part One: https://www.flickr.com/
Berkeley High Senior Prom 2016 Photos Part Two: https://www.flickr.com/
By Ceara Schreibstein
As a leader of Berkeley High I define leadership as people coming together to effect change or put something into effect and to encourage others and be a role model for them. It takes persistence, open-mindedness and the willingness to work with others. This year as a leader I have experienced a team of people (member’s of Berkeley High’s class of 2019) that had never worked together before come together to share ideas and experiences in order to plan events and make Berkley High a better experience for everyone. Through this, I have seen some failures, but I have also recognized the come back from these in which people step up more as leaders to try to perfect their ideas and gain insight for the future. This year freshman leadership worked on planning a tropical dance for the freshman and sophomore classes to attend. Unfortunately, after a few weeks of getting the dance together, we realized that there was not going to be enough attendees to make it a fun unifying event for students. While this was a setback, I think this happened because the dance was not publicized enough, and possibly not appealing to a wide range of people. However, right away during the freshman meetings, we began planning a new event that would be appealing for more people and still fulfill our ultimate job as leaders at Berkeley High, to create a safe, fun and unified place for all students. Ideas or dreams not becoming a reality is something everyone encounters throughout their lives. That does not make you a failure unless you stop trying to come up with new ideas. The second you get back up and try a new idea with the resources you have, you have empowered yourself to become a leader. In the future, I will use this experience to pick myself up and endure if something goes wrong. Strong leaders are the people that allow things to happen behind the scenes in order to produce a smooth product, and we encourage everyone to be leaders.
As a leader at Berkeley High, I define leadership as many things. To me, leadership is the ability to share your visions and the visions of those around you towards a greater good. A true leader takes into account the opinions of those around them, and looks out the majority over themselves. At Berkeley High, leadership is the connection between the student body and administration. Leadership is the ability to influence the people around you.
This was quite a year for me when it came to leadership. Being a leader is no easy task. There are so many ways a leader could be leading people or groups incorrectly or poorly. I personally have experienced this with one of the clubs I participate in where we had many issues regarding leadership roles. People are too often power hunger and one of the main good leadership qualities is to listen to others inputs and make decision that positively affect those around you, even when you are hindered. To be a good leader, you need to be honest and transparent about the decisions you are making.
Being on leadership during the November Hate Crime and the issues regarding racism at our school was difficult. As leaders of our school, we knew we needed to help, but we didn’t know to what extent. Many meetings happened discussing race, possible solutions, boundaries, frustrations and much more. Unfortunately, leadership at BHS, similar to the rest of the world, is predominantly white. That is something that needs change. Leadership should be about discussing issues with a diverse community so all voices are heard. In the future, I will try to diversify leadership roles in all possible aspects.
I have gained so much through my experiences as a leader and have learned a lot about people and how and how not to treat people. Like I stated earlier, leadership is not an easy task, yet it most definitely a rewarding task.
By Arlo Moore-Bloom
Google defines leadership as “the action of leading a group of people or an organization” , but I think it’s a lot more than that. Ever since elementary school, or even earlier, I have seen leaders come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve seen someone who taught a person right from wrong, and she’s a leader in my book. I’ve seen someone teach about how to be a good sport, which is another way to be a leader. My dad is a leader in the way that he somehow always gets my family up and over the hump of a brutal mountain we’ve been walking on for hours. My mom is a leader in the way that she always somehow finds a way to keep me in check no matter how I really feel. In my eyes, my sister is a leader in the way that she inspires me every day. In my opinion, everyone who inspires or teaches is a leader. Teachers are some of the best leaders in our community. They inspire kids from an early age and teach them how to be good kids. Most of all, a leader is someone who doesn’t dictate action, but leads action. It’s someone who doesn’t say to make things happen, but actually makes things happen. And that’s a lot harder than it sounds like. And that’s what my image shows. A “boss” is someone who orders his workers to do his bidding. The boss can be seen doing nothing except barking orders and watching his workers not only carry the weight of the mission, but the boss as well. In the “leader” image, the leader can be seen in the front of the pack, taking on just as much as his other workers. No longer encumbered by the weight of the boss, I bet the workers are able to make a lot more progress than previous. The leader is leading the way, calling the shots but accounting for them as well, as any good leader should.
By Hope Fa-Kaji
As a leader at Berkeley High, I define leadership as the combination of opportunity and initiative for organizing positive change. Over the past year, my leader perspective really allowed me to see that much is attainable if you are willing to make decisive choices. On the flip side, nothing much is accomplished without leadership and initiative. As a school and as a leadership team, we have had many, many calls and desires for concrete changes in the policies, organization and other aspects of Berkeley High. And the only times for which this actually produced results were the ones in which persistence and passion played a key role. Regardless of official status or support from adults, leading was integral in each movement. This principle most certainly carries both in and out of Berkeley High affairs. One of the most prevalent examples of the impact of BHS leadership outside the school is the Holiday Meal. As Berkeleyside describes, “Each year, dozens — and sometimes hundreds — of student volunteers come to school on a Saturday to serve the community’s homeless and low-income families a hot meal. With Bay Area housing in crisis, plenty of people could use the extra plate of food and holiday cheer this year.” The tangible effects of many student leaders working together for the benefit of the larger Berkeley community contributes to my conclusion that initiative combined with a platform from which to work constitute leadership. Furthermore, the many projects that we have yet to complete within our team continue to exemplify the need for stepping up in our roles as leaders. Looking forward, it will be beneficial to all student leaders to adhere strongly to the merits of initiative as a force for change. I certainly know I will be more aware of the power of decisiveness in leadership from now on.
By Annie Stonebarger
As a leader at Berkeley High, I define leadership as a role that one plays in a community to set an example for everyone else. At Berkeley High specifically, leadership is important because we have a lot of school spirit so having leaders to show how to express that in a safe and fun way is crucial. Leadership is giving everyone a safe space to express their ideas while still keeping everything constructive. My favorite leadership quote is that “a leader is someone who demonstrates what’s possible” (unknown), because I think that it is possible to gain a greater community at BHS and that leadership is doing a good job demonstrating that.
This year I observed that there is a lot more happening in leadership than in previous years. I have seen a lot of great events planned by the sophomore team, and the freshman seem excited about them. Juniors and Seniors feel very unified, but not against the lower classman, and that has been really nice to watch.
I believe that this happened because of the planning that the leadership teams did for fun events, and because the Berkeley High community has really grown to be more inclusive over the past two years.
This does happen outside of school because I see grades mixing outside of school because of clubs and activities, and people who have electives together become friends. My dance class is such a community ranging from freshman to seniors, and everyone is treated with the same respect and attention that they deserve, which carries on in everyone’s attitudes outside of school.
The key to leadership is being able to build a community, and I think that the senior class has done a good job of that this year. For example, on rally day, we had a very successful time with no one feeling targeted. I talked to freshman and they felt safe. I think that this is because the seniors this year have been very inclusive and don’t think of themselves as better because they are older. Obviously this is not the case for all seniors, but even having a small group to look up to as a freshman is nice.
I can apply this in the future by remembering that someone will always be looking up to me as a role model and that I should always act in ways that I would want someone to have treated me when I was younger.
I would define leadership as a group of people who care about the school and the people in it, and want to foster a close community based on respect.
By Natalie Keltner-McNeil
As a leader at Berkeley High, I define leadership as the ability to assess a situation, interact with others, and take action to instill change. Yet, this is more a definition of a leader in one situation. Sustained leadership, according to an article on Business Insider, is more about personality traits and awareness of the people you are leading or trying to influence. The article states that great leaders are emotionally stable and agreeable, demonstrate integrity and good morals, and are receptive and react to the emotions of others (Lebowitz). I agree with the article’s argument, as I believe the key to effective leadership is to be held in high esteem by the people you are leading. You can gain people’s respect by listening to the demands of others and incorporating them into your plans through collaboration. You can gain people’s trust by exhibiting high morals, including integrity and honesty. Thus, I believe a leader’s main job is listening to the people they are leading, and combining their ideas to produce progress or solutions to the situation addressed.
I learned these ideas when I went on a student study abroad program to Nicaragua. Fourteen students and I had the task of decorating the interior play square of a new preschool building for local disabled children in the city of Esteli. During the first planning sessions we had, everyone held aggressively to their own beliefs for how to design the play space, and nothing was accomplished besides the cultivation of anger. We then had a discussion on our behavior, and went into the next brainstorm with the intent of collaborating and respecting others. We listened to one another and built off each other’s ideas, and had a very productive meeting. We split into small groups, and I was in the painter’s group, which was in charge of painting a mural. Even though I wanted my own ideas to be painted, I held back and listened to the ideas of others, which I learned were just as good as mine. By incorporating everyone’s ideas on the pieces, the mural turned out beautiful, and everyone was proud of it.
This year, I learned that it is hard to please our grade when it comes to making decisions surrounding prom. This is true because we have many assertive, leader personalities who want their opinions heard and considered, and some of these people don’t understand we have to make compromises, and that some decisions are out of our control. This happens in any group environment outside of school. My observations mainly took place inside the leadership room, where deputies told us of the opinions of their classmates surrounding prom, and also my observations on the senior class page surrounding prom. People liked to denounce ideas more than share their own. These observations showed me that leadership is about compromising and understanding your degree of control in that situation, and making sure you communicate clearly with others who are affected by your decisions.
By Kyla Dangerfield
On Wednesday December 9th myself and a few other students went to a Berkeley Unified School District school board meeting to seek their endorsement on two bills that will be presented to senate in the coming months. These bills have the same goal; to lower the voting age to 16 for local elections. Voting is the backbone of a democracy and unfortunately voter turnout in California is very low in comparison to our population. These bills aim to get high school students more civically engaged and understanding the importance of voting as well as giving young adults the capacity to advocate for themselves and for their beliefs. From my experience high school students if given the option to vote, would make informed decisions. This will hopefully increase voter turnout in the long run. We as high school students directly feel the results of the decisions made by the school board and we would like to have an influence on who makes those decisions on our behalf. The students of Berkeley have shown our social activism through protests, unions, campaigns and social justice movements. To truly be informed and active citizens of Berkeley we should have the right to vote. Next we intend to go to other cities school boards and city councils to get their endorsement. From this experience I have learned to effect change in my community and I hope to give other students the same opportunities.
By Chaia Wyatt
The definition of leadership is defined as the position or function of a leader, a person who guides or directs a group. Our group of leaders is there to guide and direct the rest of Berkeley High School into being able to make it what it is. Leadership is kindof like the backbone of Berkeley High; it is the basis at which all the fun and productive events get started. However, there are also many things that leadership on its own cannot do. It needs the rest of the school’s help.
As it is widely known, California is in a big drought right now and as much as it would be nice to say that Berkeley High is doing its part in conserving water, it really isn’t. There are so many unnecessary factors contributing to this.
First of all, almost all of the water fountains and bathroom sinks have very low water pressure. Most people end up wasting more water than they are using. Although this is just plain annoying to most people that they can’t get enough water to drink or wash their hands, or it is just inconvenient or too expensive to fix, it is contributing to the drought and if fixed would save more money in the long run.
BHS also has a very random sprinkler schedule. Last year, after fourth period I would come out of the M Building and see the sprinklers on the campus green going off. Half of that water wasn’t even going on the grass, it would go on the sidewalk. This is very unnecessary, especially due to the fact that the campus green is very green and does not need any more water and now that it is raining more, it is getting enough rain to maintain its color.
I have not done extensive research on this, and I am not trying to discredit all the work the people who are in charge of these things do, but we could be doing so much more to make a more environmentally friendly school, but we need the help of the students to make a change. So while leadership, along with many clubs at Berkeley High are trying to encourage this change, to really make a difference we need the voices and efforts of the students.
By Austen Lowitz
Leadership is motivating people to take action. There are many ways to do this,
such as leading by example through one’s own actions, leading through mentoring, or
leading by being a spokesperson to champion a cause. I believe that leadership in all these
ways is most effective when leaders show emotional intelligence, by combining the heart
and the mind.
According to Daniel Goleman, a psychologist at Rutgers University, “The most
effective leaders are all alike in one crucial way: they all have a high degree of what has come
to be known as emotional intelligence.” Leaders who are emotionally intelligent are aware of
themselves, can manage their emotions, are motivated by passion (not only money or
status), have empathy for others, and have strong social skills including networking with
people (Harvard Business Review, April 28, 2015). Leaders need to be emotionally
intelligent in order for people to want to “follow their lead.”
From my perspective as a leader, I’ve observed instances at Berkeley High when
emotional intelligence was used by leaders to help connect the student body. This was true
of how Berkeley High student leaders managed the racist incident on a library computer
against African Americans that took place in December 2015. While there was intense
emotion after the incident, student leaders held a rally so that their message could be
heard. The Black Student Union worked with the school leadership to plan a day dedicated
to discussing the effects of racial discrimination and an all-school that included lessons in
each class and an assembly for the entire school that included speakers from the
On the other hand, I’ve also seen examples where leadership was at risk of breaking
down because the leaders did not communicate as well as they could have. At the
beginning of the Spring athletic season, I observed an incident when an athletic coach
reacted too strongly to a player’s criticism of an upcoming tournament. While the coach
was understandably upset, there also appeared to be a lack of empathy for the student’s
I think effective leadership using emotional intelligence skills happens when leaders
take time to think through their response, rather than responding hastily with a lot of
intense emotion. Leaders need to respond to difficult situations with a calm voice and to
listen carefully to others so they clearly understand the issues. Effective leaders also
promote positive causes by showing passion and by clearly communicating the reason that
people should support certain causes. Based on these observations, I intend to be careful
about how I present myself and communicate with people, in order to be a more effective