By Kaelah Blanchette ’17
This year’s Arista-Archon ceremony introduced new members, leaders and an inability to light matches. Ms. Fern Bren and Ms. Filomena Daniels hosted the hour long event, having the previous leaders induct the new members of the society in an intimate, fun-filled ceremony.
The previously elected leaders include Bart Rosenzweig ’16, Irla Belli ’16, Yating Wang ’16, Ahsan Malik ’16 and Nozimakhon Omonullaeva ’16. According to Ms. Daniels, about 300 members were chosen to be in Arista-Archon. Ms. Daniels reminisced about previous ceremonies and how long she has been hosting them.
“I’ve been hosting these ceremonies since 2006 when I started here,” said Ms. Daniels. “Midwood itself has been holding these ceremonies since the beginning though.”
Ms. Daniels explained the lengthy process she goes through to set up the ceremony and pick the students into the society.
“The process starts in the beginning of the year with the students handing in their applications. I don’t actually look at them and process them until the spring though,” said Ms. Daniels. “Then I look at their service credits, their GPA and a character background. Finally, I notify them on whether they were accepted or declined, and I plan out the three meetings for the ceremony. It’s a long process and I’m glad it’s over, but it is worth it in the end.”
Ms. Daniels and the current leaders felt optimistic about the future leaders and inductees. Both Belli and Rosenzweig shared praises of the new members and the excitement they felt about being chosen.
“It was an honor to be named leader of Arista and be afflicted with such a prestigious society and an amazing group of people,” said Belli. “I’m also looking forward to seeing how the new leaders will handle the position. I feel they are definitely more than qualified.”
Rosenzweig echoed this statement, saying that the new leaders seem like a qualified group and will definitely represent the leader positions well. He also said that he was honored and pleasantly surprised to have been chosen as a leader himself.
Future Arista leader Jennifer Phu ’17, is looking forward to the opportunity of not only being a leader, but being a part of the honor society as a whole.
“I’m grateful for this opportunity and I’m excited to be elected,” she said. “When I was selected I was surprised, but I’m excited for next year. I’ll be able to contribute to the society and that is a great feeling.”
Future Archon leader Zenab Jamil ’17 was shocked more than anything that she was selected, but will not take the position for granted and do her best to fill the shoes of the previous leaders.
“I feel really proud of my accomplishments but at the same time, amazed that I was chosen,” she said. “As a leader, I hope to fulfill everyone’s expectations of me and follow in the current leaders’ path.”
Along with the new leaders being introduced, the new Arista-Archon members themselves were introduced as well. New member Reanna Hyatt ’17, was excited and honored to have been selected to the society.
“I really felt honored to have been chosen because it felt like all of my hard work paid off,” said Hyatt. “I was in Arista-Archon in middle school, so it was great to experience that again in high school.”
New Archon member Mahmoud Abouelkheir ’17, shared Hyatt’s praises, saying that all his work in servicing the school community really paid off with being accepted.
The ceremony itself began with the inductees walking in, with the members of both Arista and Archon going first, followed by just Arista members, then Archon members. Speeches were then made by the principal and the current leaders, which was followed by the band playing “Flash in the Pan” by Richard Saucedo. Most likely remembered by most people in the audience was the candle-lighting ceremony. The leaders are meant to light the three candles of scholarship, service and character. This plan was delayed when Rosenzweig and Belli had a bit of trouble lighting the first candle.
“My favorite part was definitely watching Bart try and light that match,” said Belli. “I figured that I might as well go and help him after his third attempt.”
Belli was successful, but the candle blew out again.
“I thought it was so funny,” said Jamil. “It’s crazy how the two smartest students in the school couldn’t light a candle.”
According to Ms. Daniels, this isn’t the first year that the leaders have had trouble lighting the candles for the ceremony.
“My favorite part of the ceremony is usually the speeches that the leaders give because they are so powerful, but the candle debacle really made my night,” said Ms. Daniels. “It’s astounding how the best and brightest of our school always seem to have trouble lighting the candles, regardless of whether they use a match or a lighter.”