Editor-in-Chief Introduces New Motto, Bids Farewell to Register Forum

Isabelle Agee-Jacobson, Editor-in-Chief

After four years of late nights writing articles, taking part in boisterous and inspiring NewsStorms, and getting to know a group of amazingly talented people, I am leaving the Register Forum and my time as editor-in-chief in a manner I never would have predicted. I’m leaving without having physically handed out print editions on a warm spring morning for the last time, without seeing all of our contributors in-person at our last NewsStorm, without saying goodbye to Room 3401 and all the memories it holds. I want to thank the school community for its loyal readership and for making this paper what it is. These past few weeks have laid bare just what an incredible group of people make up the Register Forum. Without skipping a beat, our contributors and editors rallied to write 38 articles in April—the most articles we have published in a single month this year. I am deeply grateful for how they have dedicated themselves to the paper all year long and impressed by the way they have continued to commit to this organization even while a frightening pandemic has ravaged the world.

I feel enormously privileged to have worked alongside every RF contributor and editor this year. I want to thank our contributors for providing the meat of our work—our articles and our media; our section editors for their insightful edits and their creative pitches; our photo editors and illustrations editors for bringing our words to life with stunning visuals; our Head Copyeditors Maryam Dar ’20 and Katie Green ’20 for pouring over every single article and proof to find our many errors. I also want to thank our layout team—Managing Editors Willa Frank ’20 and Juliana Vandermark ’20, News Editors Yiyi Chen ’20 and Andrew Mello ’21, and my successors Leo Barron ’21 and Ella Spitz ’21—for spending countless hours in 3401 getting the placement of articles just right, even if it meant staying until it was well past dark. And of course, thank you to Mr. Matteo for not only all of your wise guidance this year on issues major and minor but also for giving me room to grow and develop as a leader.

I feel enormously privileged to have worked alongside every RF contributor and editor this year.

We would not have been able to continue publishing during these months if Grace Ramsdell ’18 had not spearheaded the daunting task of creating our digital platform, registerforum.org. While Grace could not have predicted the coronavirus pandemic, she knew that having a website in addition to the print edition was critical if the Register Forum was going to stay relevant.

Since the moment she first encouraged me to join the Register Forum back in September of my freshman year, Grace has been an incredible role model and mentor, as have my immediate predecessors, Cecilia Barron ’19 and Sun-Jung Yum ’19. I thank all three of them for their leadership and support.

One of the things I am most proud that we accomplished this past year was to seek out the voices that have traditionally been under-represented in the RF. We invited the Black Student Union and the Muslim Culture Club to put together their own centerspreads about issues central to their clubs. The pieces they created were thought-provoking, and in my view, the dialogue that they sparked is some of the most important work the RF can do.

I am also proud to announce that we have a new motto: “Reflecting Cambridge Rindge and Latin.” Moving forward, this motto will be printed on our masthead and will accompany the banner on our website. The work of developing the new motto began in 2018 under Grace’s leadership, who identified the shortcomings in the old tagline, “Listening to every voice, printing what you need to hear,” which does not allude to the RF’s commitment to inclusivity and accuracy. Grace made the decision to remove that motto from the paper altogether until we developed one that was more representative of our true mission. Over the course of the next two years, we held innumerable meetings with RF editors, contributors, and readers and solicited multiple rounds of feedback from our school community before finally settling on our new tagline this spring.

Saying that we reflect Cambridge Rindge and Latin comes with immense responsibility, and we do not pretend, even for a second, that we currently live up to this motto.

The word “reflecting” resonated with us because that is our core job as student journalists at our school: to present the multisided, messy realities of all our community’s stakeholders. To accurately reflect a community, you don’t just present what is on the surface. You dig deeper, you investigate the uncomfortable truths, you go where people don’t want you to go, and you have the hard conversations. We wanted a motto centered around action and that is why we chose a verb in its present progressive tense. By saying we reflect our school, we are committing to staying as true as we can to its complete picture. As that picture changes, so must the paper.

Saying that we reflect Cambridge Rindge and Latin comes with immense responsibility, and we do not pretend, even for a second, that we currently live up to this motto. Until our organization’s demographics reflect the diversity of our student body, our coverage will never be the school’s full truth. But that is another reason we chose the word “reflecting”—it emphasizes that we need to not only represent the school in the stories we publish but also in the people who make up our organization. And while we may not be embodying our motto at the moment, it is a clear reminder of the standards we must hold ourselves to and that we must continue to strive for greater diversity.

While it is bittersweet to say goodbye to what has been my home-away-from-home during my time at CRLS, I’m thrilled to watch Leo Barron ’21 and Ella Spitz ’21 take the reins. Leo’s willingness to tackle the most complex issues our school faces and Ella’s thoughtfulness, creativity and her incredible attention to detail, in addition to the can-do attitudes they both possess, make me confident that they will bring the paper to new heights. I know that they will continue the work of making the RF and our coverage more representative of all of CRLS’s realities, not just the interests and concerns of its white and Asian students. I know that they will work to reflect Cambridge Rindge and Latin.