Introducing The Panther’s 2022-23 Leadership Team

Bella Martin, Editor-in-Chief

Introducing The Panther’s 2022-23 Leadership Team 

Every year, the current leadership team chooses a new group of leadership consisting of the most dedicated staffers from the school year. New leadership members are responsible for maintaining the quality of The Panther, and each has unique qualities to elevate The Panther to another level. Beginning May 1, new leadership will assume their positions. They have spent the past month shadowing 2021-22 leadership and learning the ins and outs of their jobs and responsibilities to ensure a successful future for The Panther.

Amy-Grace Shapiro, Online Co Editor-in-Chief 

This year, current leadership decided to change the leadership structure of the paper. Taking away the main Editor-in-Chief position, it is now split between online and print co-EICs. As Online Co-EIC, Shapiro is responsible for ensuring that the online aspect of the publication remains up-to-date and expands the accessibility of stories to Palmetto’s community. It’s a common saying among Panther staffers that “online never sleeps,” and Shapiro’s qualities facilitate this energy. 

“Next year as Online Co Editor-in-Chief, I am most excited about working alongside our Print Co-Editor-in-Chief and other members of leadership, in leading an amazing staff of writers, copy editors and media editors. As a member of leadership I also look forward to bringing back many of our newspaper traditions that weren’t possible this year,” Shapiro said. 

As a member of staff for two years, Shapiro has established that she has many of the necessary skills for leading staff and heading the online production. Shapiro states that being a Feature Editor this year has given her the skills to ensure a cohesive end product through communication and teamwork. 

Next year, Shapiro hopes to accomplish a multitude of goals, including adding more interactive tabs to the website, such as access to a weekly newsletter subscription and more visual elements. 

Outside of newspaper, Shapiro is involved in countless activities, and outgoing leadership is sure that she will use these qualities to benefit The Panther next year. 

“Outside of Newspaper, I am part of the Class of 2024 Cabinet, National Honor Society, English Honor Society [and] Spanish Honor Society. I [also] serve as the School Safety Chair for Student Council. Outside of school, I am the chapter lead for Miami’s branch of Students Demand Action, an activism group fighting for gun sense laws in America. For fun, I enjoy playing the guitar and [I] am an avid country music fan. Some of my favorite artists are Kacey Musgraves and Chris Stapleton,” Shapiro said.

Samantha Elkins, Print Co Editor-in-Chief 

Elkins serves as next year’s Print Co Editor-in-Chief, meaning that she will primarily work within the print aspect of the publication, ensuring the quality of copy, multimedia and design in the print issues. 

“I am most excited to oversee staff and the publication of our print issues. I am also particularly excited to meet all our new staffers and teach them the ropes. I would love to inspire someone that their writing is impactful and can make a difference as I have learned on staff from previous leadership,” Elkins said. 

As a returning member of staff, Elkins has developed countless relationships on the paper and looks forward to applying the skills acquired in her different roles to her new position. 

“As News Section Editor this year, I learned to check up on other people’s stories and designs to make sure everything was going according to plan. I also got to edit those stories, which was something I had never done before. I look forward to applying those skills as Co Print EIC because it will help my efforts to better The Panther and oversee staffers,” Elkins said. 

Next year, Elkins hopes to increase readership of the print publication by working with Homeroom Representatives to pass out the issues and working with teachers to announce their arrival to their classes. 

Ava Garcia, Managing Editor 

The managing editor of The Panther serves as the social media coordinator and official grader of the paper’s members. In her capacity, Garcia will have creative direction for one of the most viewed parts of the publication. 

“I only heard about The Panther at the end of my freshman year and knew I needed to join. I took Journalism 1 as a freshman with Ms. Aviles and learned so much that I later applied to The Panther. I am so beyond excited to be a part of leadership next year. I cannot wait to welcome new members and get to know them and their new ideas,” Garcia said. “I am also excited to hopefully start a TikTok page for The Panther and film videos promoting our monthly issue and maybe even a staff takeover. I want to use social media as a way to get students at Palmetto interested in reading our stories and possibly even joining The Panther the following year.”  

With only one year on staff under her belt, Garcia has shown immense dedication to the paper. In her capacity as a staff writer this year, she has gained some of the leadership qualities necessary for leading a successful and hard-working staff. 

“I love collaborating with my fellow classmates and sharing ideas to further make our story the best it can be. I also love interviewing different people because you are able to get an outside perspective on topics you may not know much about. The Panther gives you so many amazing opportunities that many people will never have and I truly think getting these experiences, making friends and learning each and every day makes The Panther the best part of high school,” Garcia said. 

Jasmine Judge, Business Manager

In the upcoming weeks, Judge will begin to take over the financial operations of the paper. This involves collecting advertisement payments, raising money for new equipment and reaching out to potential donors. With design experience, Judge also has the opportunity to apply her knowledge when designing the ad pages for print issues. 

“Being a design editor this year has improved my computer literacy beyond what I could’ve imagined. Especially with programs such as Adobe InDesign, being a designer has taught me skills that most other people do not have, such as the importance of being thorough and timely. I believe that this will help me tremendously as Business Manager next year because I will be in charge of keeping track of The Panther’s finances and making sure that all staffers are doing their part to raise money for the paper,” Judge said. 

Next year, Judge looks forward to the chance to oversee the work of staffers and work alongside other leadership members to improve the quality and efficiency of The Panther. She also hopes to mentor staffers in the same way that she says outgoing leadership did for her. 

When it comes to financial operations, she has countless ideas that she hopes can improve the publication as a whole. 

“This year, The Panther struggled every month with raising the amount of money needed to print our monthly issues. Next year, I want to make the necessary changes to make sure that this does not happen again. I would like to advertise more towards the PTSA and start doing more fundraisers with local businesses to raise money for printing. On top of that, I want us to raise enough money to circulate our print issues not only at Palmetto, but throughout the entire community,” Judge said. 

Nicole Martin, Senior Copy Editor 

On the paper, copy editors must maintain the caliber and style of writing consistent with journalism. They must find and correct any stylistic and grammatical errors in each story. Martin takes over the role of overseeing and teaching staffers AP Style while also reading The Panther’s stories. 

“Having been a copy editor this year, I edit plenty of papers and know AP Style like the back of my hand. Now that next year I will be Senior Copy Editor, the basis of my position is still copy editing, so I will be utilizing many of those same skills — just at a larger level,” Martin said. “What I’m most excited about as a leadership member is being able to feel like I’m being a bigger part of The Panther and using my skills from being on staff to further help next year’s copy team bring out the best in The Panther. I also get to be almost like a “face” of the publication, which I also think is really cool.”

Copy editing is seen as more of a science than an art, so outside of The Panther, Martin enjoys exploring the creative side of her personality. Next year, she hopes to continue practicing her art and music outside of school. In school, she hopes to continue her work with her current clubs, join more clubs and seek out opportunities that will expand her knowledge set. 

Ella Pedroso, Senior Design Editor 

As one of the most difficult but also crucial parts of the paper, Pedroso is tasked with putting together the entire print issue and assigning designers to both the online and print aspects of the publication. 

“I’m very excited to teach and hopefully inspire the designers on staff and work together with the rest of leadership to work our hardest on a paper we all love. I think our leadership team is so strong, and I’m very excited to see our dynamic grow through the year,” Pedroso said. 

As a member of the design team for two years, Pedroso has a lot of experience with platforms such as Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop and Canva. 

“I’ve learned how to creatively use design and photos to make a story shine more on paper, which will help me next year when I work with Ryan to make the multimedia elements of a page stand out,” Pedroso said. 

With design being such an important part of the paper, it is constantly evolving. Next year, Pedroso hopes to implement a variety of ideas to help the section grow. 

“As Senior Design, I hope I can make the issues appeal to the students and gain more readers. In my position, I’d love to create an issue with such interesting and creative designs that students are interested in picking up an issue when it comes to their class,” Pedroso said. 

Ryan McKean, Senior Multimedia Editor

Multimedia is the newest section of The Panther. Last year, the position of Senior Design and Multimedia were combined, but this year, outgoing leadership decided to split the position again. As a member of the multimedia team this year, McKean shows promising skills in organizing and leading the multimedia section of the paper. 

“I’m most excited to just be a part of The Panther leadership next year and work together as a whole. [I’m] especially excited to work with the new and returning staff too. The Panther is a staple of our Palmetto community and [I] cannot wait to be a part of it next year,” McKean said. 

Although a new member of leadership, McKean has established countless relationships with members of staff. He hopes to continue to develop new relationships with staffers on the paper. 

“My favorite part about the newspaper is the small community we build by working with each other everyday. Even if we don’t have the same positions, the staff always finds a way to communicate and work with each other,” McKean said. 

With multimedia the newest section of the paper, McKean hopes to continue expanding it by purchasing another camera and more equipment. He plans to work alongside the Business Manager to help raise money through ads and donations.