Our Editors in Chief Say Farewell!

Mr. Norris would like to sincerely thank both Benjamin and Varsha for their amazing work. We could not have had the success in publishing so many great articles this year without your help. You will be dearly missed, but your legacy in RDA will carry on!

Benjamin White ’23

Four years ago, I remember an assistant principal on the first day of high school saying that you would blink, and your four years of high school would go by just like that. I never imagined that would actually feel true.

I joined Ridge Devils Advocate very early into my freshman year, not really knowing what to expect. I wanted to write about sports and went to the first club that presented me with that opportunity. My first published article was about the NBA. After years of half-heartedly completing middle-school assignments by putting in the bare minimum effort, I distinctly remember that article as my reintroduction to applying myself at work, and actually enjoying it. The article wasn’t expertly written or anything, but it was clear that I at least put a lot of effort into it. In one of our early club meetings, the editors-in-chief at the time spotlit my article, highlighting my effort. I didn’t say anything, but it meant a lot to me to be recognized.

Almost four years later, and now I’m an editor-in-chief. I’ve gotten past doing the bare minimum and now going above and beyond in my work is something I’m used to. I’m preparing for the next four years of school where I still don’t know exactly what I want to do, but I know I’ll be joining the school newspaper once again, and I’m looking forward to it.

In these past four years, it’s difficult to pinpoint specific moments where things changed for me, but I know that RDA was always a part of those changes. Improving as a writer, then having the chance to help others as an editor, and now having more responsibility as an editor-in-chief has been an incredibly valuable experience for me. Across the branching sections of RDA, everyone in the club has had the chance to have their own unique learning experience. Our newspaper and our club is one singular entity that has developed in itself through changing and added sections, yet every individual gets to project their own distinct writing or artistic voice and have their own process of individual growth.

Reflecting on high school is paradoxical for me, as this pandemic-centered period of time simultaneously feels like both an eternity and the blink of an eye. Through it all, I’m glad RDA was a part of these past four years for me, and I’m proud to have been a part of a group of such talented individuals.

Varsha Bhargava ’23

It’s easy to tell that it’s the end of the school year, as goggle-clad seniors start embarrassing themselves in public places, the local library begins to clog with AP Exam-ers, and the AC starts blasting in Ridge’s 700 wing (balancing out the drowsy humidity of the upper 500 wing). 

It’s easy to tell that it’s the end of the school year, but it’s hard to fathom what that really means for Ridge’s seniors. On a large scale, these last 2 months of school are just a blip in our larger timelines of education, careers, and fulfillment; but on a small scale, these last 2 months hold some of the most difficult “goodbye”s that we’ve had to make thus far.

The library became my third home this year—Panera being my second home, of course. The quiet bustling of the shelving carts accompanied the scratching of my pencil and Panera’s chattering customers provided a lively soundtrack to my hours of really, really productive studying 😉 in Panera’s booths. This is definitely a temporary “goodbye”, as the nostalgia of the booths and shelves will definitely call me back at least a couple times when I return to Basking Ridge. Nevertheless, it’s difficult to say “goodbye” to the fond study spaces I’ve found along the way in my high school career.

Being a Basking Ridge resident for 18 years now, I’ve grown up with this schooling system. My writing style has evolved from simple, stilted sentences in Cedar Hill’s classrooms to more complex, winding sentences in Ridge’s wings. Over the past 12 years, 12 teachers unknowingly came together to construct my understanding of literature and writing, and the way I experience the two. From Ms. Horbatt teaching me how to spell in kindergarten, I’ve made it all the way to Dr. Kuscenko’s lessons on identifying consonance in senior year—the cursive unit in third grade was a bit rocky for me, but I persevered nonetheless. Every grammar lesson along the way—from Ms. Horbatt to Dr. Kuscenko—has been implemented into each article published in this paper, and for that I’m incredibly grateful. It’s difficult to say “goodbye” to such dedicated teachers.

Choir has been a part of my life since third grade and every year unlocked a new appreciation of music in me. As a singer in Ridge’s choral program, I’ve been exposed to such great role models and friends that feel like family: a community that makes me strive to keep bettering myself. The love and respect fostered in Ridge’s choirs is incomparable. The energy in the room while creating music, or even just hanging out during rehearsals, is tangible. I feel appreciation for this choral program everytime our voices collectively come to a crescendo through intense measures or I am able to laugh with my peers around me. It’s difficult to say “goodbye” to such a genuine group of people.

And finally, being a senior in these last 2 months means saying “goodbye” to RDA. My RDA journey has been long, fruitful, and extremely extremely valuable. I can recall the shift from the Editors holding my hand through articles, the documents peppered with suggestions in the margins, to the suggestions thinning out on the page—my developing writer’s voice shining through. The RDA crew has changed so much throughout the four years that I have been a part of it, with such distinct voices being added to the mix every year. I’m thankful for the upperclassmen before me that helped me take a larger role in the club as an Editor and Editor-in-Chief, and for my current peers who make it such a pleasure to work with them. And I’m especially grateful for my co-Editors-in-Chief over the past 2 years, Sungwon and Benjamin, for being such snazzy EIC partners! As I pursue further journalistic outlooks in college, I will hold my RDA experiences close to my heart and always think back to Room 532 for fond inspiration. Again, RDA is another incredibly difficult “goodbye”.

After these next 2 months of high school and moving into my next four years in the “real world”, I can’t wait to take what I’ve learned in Basking Ridge and evolve—and I’m so excited to see my peers do the same. 

Thank you Ridge; I’m glad to have experienced such greatness here to make this such a difficult “goodbye”.