Behind the announcements

Exploring how the morning announcements are produced

“Good Morning, Monta Vista!”

Every school day hundreds of students and staff hear the start of the announcements,  Senior Clerical Assistant Jennifer Giarritta makes the transcripts in the morning, complete with upcoming events and sports games, club advertisements, a historical fact and other general information. The ASB Executive Team, comprised of six seniors, presents the announcements at the start of second period on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and fourth period on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Announcements on Jan. 19

Senior and ASB President Madeline Choi announces on Tuesdays and Fridays and finds the best part about reading the announcements — other than forcing her to show up at school on time  — is helping her be more aware of what’s happening around campus.

“I think it’s great because I’m kind of forced to pay attention to the announcements,” Choi said. “I feel like most of the years [I didn’t] really pay that much attention. But now, I get to keep myself up to date on everything.”

Senior Lydia Lu thinks “the experience of announcing is pretty fun,” especially because reading the transcript can make funny and memorable moments. 

“During the announcements, the entire school gets to hear your voice and just listen to you,” Lu said. “I think personally one of the more exciting or fun parts of it [is when] my friends comment on things that [I] say. For example, sometimes, there will be announcements with rhetorical questions. I remember one time there was [an announcement for] Robotics [that said] ‘Do you want to build robots?’ and I received seven text messages from friends asking, ‘Do you want to build robots?’ Those parts are really fun because you interact with the school.”

Lu believes announcing has helped her abilities to think on the spot and articulate words. While she felt nervous at the beginning of the year about speaking to the  school, she no longer feels as nervous after announcing for more than a semester.

“At the beginning of our experience with doing the announcements, it was very nerve-wracking because we were thinking that everyone on campus was listening to every single word that we said and would chastise us if we used the wrong pronunciation or messed up on a word,” Lu said. “But at the end of the day, as time passed on, it’s just simply reading off of a piece of paper. It’s not that big of a deal. Students don’t care if we’ve mispronounced a word, so that embarrassment dissolves over time.”

Choi’s most nerve-wracking moment was in November when she read a long historical thought about Indigenous rights on Nov. 24. Despite this, Choi finds the historical thought to be her favorite part of the announcements.

“I really love reading the historical thoughts of the day because Ms. Belshe writes them for us, and she really focuses on aspects of history that aren’t usually highlighted,” Choi said. “I really enjoy doing those because I get to read it for all my peers to hear as [and I get to] educate myself.”

According to Social Studies Department Lead Bonnie Belshe, California law provides schools the option of either having students pledge allegiance to the flag or listen to a historical thought of the day, with MVHS opting for the latter option. Starting on Sept. 15, 2021 — the start of National Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month — Belshe has been writing the historical thoughts of the day and ensures that they have “a much broader perspective than the white-male default in American history.” 

Belshe themes the historical thoughts around United States federal observances. National Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month is from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, while October is LGBTQ+ History Month. Because the two months overlapped, Belshe wrote intersectional historical thoughts of the day around Hispanic LGBTQ+ history from Oct. 1 to Oct. 15. In November, Belshe wrote announcements about Native American History in honor of Native American History Month. In December, the historical thoughts focused on Japanese American World War II experiences in remembrance of the internment of Japanese Americans following the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. 

January’s theme was voting rights and the historical thought of the day on Jan. 6, one year after the Capitol attack, is Belshe’s favorite. She shares that the Jan. 6 historical thought of the day was from the Organization of American Historians, a group that she is part of.

“Because of the importance of recognizing what happened on Jan. 6, when I sent [the historical thought of the day, I asked Principal Ben Clausnitzer,] ‘Do you think that maybe I should read for this one?’  because it was such a heavy idea. He was like, ‘Yeah, I do think it’s a good idea,’ particularly because it’s from the [perspective of the] Organization of American Historians. I’d say of all the announcements we’ve had this year, two for me [Nov. 24 and Jan. 6] have been the most important.”

Announcements on Jan. 24

Announcements always end with an alliterative farewell, such as “Michelin-star Monday” or “wonderful Wednesday.” Senior Marvin Wu, who co-announces with Lu, finds the process of coming up with the ending to be the most exciting part of the announcements.

“​​Coming up with the alliteration at the end of the announcements is always a fun thing for all of us to do among the ASB members,” Wu said. “We always text each other about it if we think that it was particularly stupid one day. I think one time I said ‘Have a toucans wear tutus Tuesday.”