Fare thee well to our seniors


Ellen Cowhey

Tower staff photo for the 2022-2023 school year

Ellen Cowhey and Matthew Ives

We owe so much to Ellie Yang and Maia Barantsevich, Tower’s editors-in-chief this year. They took over from Sophia Van Beek ‘22 and Kira Ratan, ‘22 last May as the nation was reeling from yet another school shooting, this one in Uvalde, Texas. Ellie and Maia guided their team through coverage of even more shootings, increasing restrictions on abortions, and the start of the next presidential campaign season.

Ellie has been an amazing writer, willing to drop everything for a last minute story, or dive deeply into the school archives for a piece about the history of Masters. Maia is also a great writer, never afraid to share her opinion, whether about senior parking or daylight savings time. She kept us organized, on task and efficient. Both of our editors are skilled in inDesign, always eager to help the younger staff figure out a problem laying out a page.

Maia and Ellie worked wonderfully together – whether on a centerspread about technological change, or staying until the bitter end as layout nights stretched well past midnight. They created a true sense of camaraderie amongst the entire staff – from Starbucks runs to dance parties, we are going to remember this year as incredibly fun, full of laughter, cakes and jokes.

Carol Queiroz and Hanna Schiciano have had an amazing year as our executive producers of Tower Broadcast News–winning national awards for their broadcast work on multiple platforms. They fearlessly led Masters first-ever Broadcast Production class, and even with a team just learning the basics, were able to lead the staff in producing six stellar episodes. Their passion and curiosity for exploring community issues both on and off campus has led to some fantastic coverage.  Carol is our only senior who has been on board with Tower since her freshman year. Emerging from being the youngest and quietest staff member on Tower as a sophomore copy editor, Carol has helped guide the new TBN crew with confidence, kindness and humor.  Hanna has been working on Tower Broadcast News even ever since she was a ninth grader and was recruited by her older brother to be the person on the other side of the camera or holding a boom mic as he interviewed subjects mid-pandemic. She’s kept the crew on schedule, been innovative with story ideas and helped the newer students sharpen their skills in the studio and in the field.  It was no surprise to us when she was designated New York State’s student journalist of the year! We’ve had so many adventures together this year, and we’ll really miss the outstanding leadership and commitment to excellence you both put forth. 

Gisele Cestaro leaves big shoes to fill as she steps aside from leading the news section. Often she was responsible for the last minute story we needed for the front page – and she always came through. She also did a wonderful job mentoring two juniors brand new to page layout. We’ll miss her smile, her dedication and her can-do attitude. 

Carlos Heredia created a brand new position for himself as Marketing Director, and did a great job overseeing a group of students dedicated to increasing viewership of our website and social media. The results speak for themselves. Tower’s Facebook page visits increased 104% over last year. Our Instagram profile visits were up by 75%. And our TBN YouTube subscriptions quadrupled. Most recently, Carlos has spearheaded a successful move into using Instagram Reels, which have proved extraordinarily popular among our viewers. 

Marianna Gu has been a wonderful lead features editor. She has a strong design sense and has produced creative and striking page spreads and center spreads, in addition to writing strong content for all of our sections.

Noah Kassell-Yung was the fearless leader of the sports page. He was always looking for interesting stories – his piece on why Masters doesn’t have football was particularly well done – and he hit all of our goals for the section this year: better photos, a wider scope of coverage, and even some live commentary on games. He has also done a great job mentoring younger staff members who are now ready to step into leadership roles. 

Sandra Liu played a critical role building up our social media presence, and was a constant source of strong content for our print and digital divisions. 

Josh Markowitz joined the Tower team as a senior, and made an immediate impact by organizing a large and effective team of photographers and illustrators. He also took a lot of great pictures himself, and helped us consider some newer equipment options.  Make sure you follow his instagram: @josh.markowitz.photo.

Maya Phillips was the steady leader of our opinion page, tracking down our bloggers and columnists and always laying out pages with a wonderful eye for design. Her patience with late-breaking editorials was infinite and for this and much more, we are all grateful. 

Tara Phillips came back from Italy to tackle a wide array of topics as a senior, from the local coffee shop to the resurgence of hippy culture -she also played DJ and organized the dance parties! We are thankful for the creative flair she added to the feature section and our whole staff vibe. 

Vika Sokolenko was our go-to staff writer whenever we needed a big topic covered, from the situation in Ukraine, to the lack of diversity in AP courses, to the impact of wealth on college admissions. Her work was recognized on the state and national levels multiple times even before the end of this school year. 

Though he’s not in the journalism class, he is a crucial member of the Tower staff and we must give a shout out and a huge thank you to Ryan Guan. He is a talented photographer – and he is everywhere we need him to be! Ryan, we don’t know what we are going to do without your skills,  persistence and dedication next year.

Thank you to the entire Tower and TBN staff for all your hard work this year. Editors, staff writers, web, photo and social media managers, bloggers, illustrators and photographers – all of your efforts have paid off for our readers. 

Congratulations to these graduating seniors – you have left a lasting and important legacy in Tower and TBN. We will miss you even as we hold you in our hearts as you boldly venture forward.