Stud Gov Reflects on the First Semester


Adam Richins

The Exec Team (and Timothy Chalamet) working on plans for Christmas Movie Night.

In mid-August, Montrose’s newly elected Stud Gov Exec team — Vice President Catherine Olohan ‘22, Secretary Lucy Bachiochi ‘23, and Treasurer Theresa Marcucci ‘23 — retreated to my house (Theresa via FaceTime) to finally talk about the decision we had put off for months: choosing a theme for the school year. 

It’s not that we didn’t want to choose; it’s just that we couldn’t. ‘Resilience’ perfectly matched the difficult, slightly-agonizing Zoom CHRs and adapted traditions of the previous year, and ‘synergy’ (used in 2018) was just obscure enough to sound smart and similar enough to another word that most people caught the gist even if they didn’t know what it meant. We searched for hours on, throwing around words like ‘buoyancy’ (“because we can “float” on positive energy!”), ‘dynamism’ (“they’ll get what we mean…”), and ‘gusto’ (“it just sounds right”). Through the crackle of my phone audio, Theresa suggested that we ditch abstract nouns entirely and resort to something “more practical, like a top hat.” “It catches the rain!” she protested between my giggles. Catherine moved immediately to change our group chat name, where the top hat emoji remains today. 

After some sighing and a JP Licks run, we ended up parting ways without any definitive decision (actually, we first presented our list to Mrs. Derendorf via text and received a “let’s talk about it next week!” in return). The week after, we found ourselves describing the type of theme we had in mind to Mrs. Derendorf while we used one word very often. 

It was pouring rain. I was wearing almost entirely Bachiochi-owned clothing that I have yet to return. The school was empty of students, but already we were picturing the A&A filled with Red and White teams during CHR, cafeteria tables sticky with frosting from Christmas cookie decorating, and Miracle Field littered with dodgeballs on Field Day. We were excited to be back, excited for some of the best parts of Montrose to return in all their former glory. And after one of us mentioned the word once more, Mrs. Derendorf stated the obvious.

“Why don’t we go with ‘joy?’” she suggested. The four of us agreed instantly, and it was settled.  Thus began the first joyful semester of the 2021-2022 Stud Gov season.

The final product of this year’s Stud Gov theme board, completed at 9:14 PM in late August. (Kasey Corra ’22)

Since that decision, our team has sent countless emails, organized thirteen Common Homerooms, and taped many Derendorf-approved signs to the bathroom stalls. “Honestly, it’s gone much better than I thought it would,” Theresa reflected. “I think the best part has been being able to be all together as a school for CHRs and especially for the Christmas traditions. It’s the best to see people excited about traditions, and the school community bonding through what we’ve put together.”

Our class reps (and Elyza Tuan ‘23!) helped keep our service project on track all semester. Each week, girls and faculty brought in a different school supplies item and a pair of class reps counted the items and brought them to Vinebrook each Friday. Montrose’s Bake a Change club raised over $300 for shipping, and the project culminated in a very joyful ‘packing party’ to organize and pack the items before Elyza and her parents helped ship eight enormous boxes of school supplies to the Philippines on the last day before break.     

Our biggest endeavor this year by far was our “13 Days of Christmas” event, especially the packing party, Christmas Movie Night, Big and Little Sister cookie decorating, and Secret Santa. Catherine and I somehow managed to accidentally avoid paying for our Big Y pizza at the movie night, even though we probably earned it from the number of times people asked us when the pizza would arrive. Many class reps joined the Exec Team at the Marcucci’s for cookie making, where I am eternally grateful that the world includes bakers better than I am.

The Stud Gov Team at the Marcucci household for an eventful cookie undertaking. Please note that only a few of the cookies pictured are mangled. (Mike Marcucci)

If you asked her, Catherine would probably give you an hour rundown of the logistical art that is Montrose Secret Santa. “Last year Secret Santa was the most hectic time of year and I was determined to come up with a system that made this year more manageable,” she said. “As soon as Halloween ended, I opened a spreadsheet and started the organizational process. It was a lot of work, but the most gratifying experience is seeing it all come together on that last Friday gift exchange.” The spreadsheet was covered with color-coded names that I didn’t understand, and I may have accidentally messed up the system multiple times. But I can say that our team received a small fraction of the panicked, confused emails about the swap that we got last year — Catherine’s system helped the swap go off without a hitch.

My happiest –sorry, my most joyful— moment of Stud Gov so far this year likely took place while watching the last few Christmas skits before break. After checking and double-checking, all the girls on our list had their final present. The skits were horrifically confusing and hilarious, and everyone was together. It was a huge relief to the four of us: with the help of Mrs. Derendorf, we had been able to organize almost every classic Montrose Christmas tradition in person, and people had enjoyed them. I was proud, then, of the work we had done and the community that was willing to accept our strange ideas and often very stressed dispositions (well, maybe just mine). 

“It’s been so exciting to spread joy throughout the school this year and reestablish old traditions while building new ones,” Lucy said. I couldn’t agree more. And while we plan to watch some good movies and finally try to hit that eight-hour sleep benchmark over break, the Exec team will be back in January with new games, classic traditions, and, of course, plenty of joy. 

Kasey Corra ‘22, Co-Assistant Editor-in-Chief