Reflecting on Their Time as Editor-in-Chief: Four Years of Determination, Passion, and Leadership


Grace Li, 2014-2015

Grace currently attends Harvard University. She will be graduating in 2019.



In high school, The Dublin Shield was always on my mind. I was constantly doing research on high school newspapers and trying to brainstorm ways to help our own publication grow. That became my primary after-school activity, and I loved every minute of it. I think The Shield was a space where I really found a multitude of things I was passionate about, all in one setting: design, photography, and writing. It was definitely one of the best parts of my high school years.


Because I loved working at The Shield so much, it only made sense for me to try to join Harvard’s student newspaper, The Crimson, when I got to college. I remember being extremely intimidated by The Crimson for two reasons: First, you had to complete a semester-long training process called “comping” in order to be officially elected as a staff writer. Second, The Crimson owns its own building, which continues to baffle me to this day. Every time I ask to meet someone in our newsroom, I pause and think to myself how incredibly lucky we are to have our own space.


I comped The Crimson’s Arts board my first semester. From there, I went on to hold two executive positions and eventually became Arts Chair. I’m constantly editing pieces and pursuing different Arts projects, but it’s work that I’m completely in love with. It almost feels unfair to call it “work.” Whenever I’m stressed out by deadlines and exams, I always think about how fortunate I am to have an amazing team of editors, writers, and my brilliant co-Chair by my side, and how my Crimson “work” is all the things I love. Writing means everything to me, and I’m always hammering away at words and trying to string them into (hopefully) coherent sentences. But no matter how much I try, I know I will never be able to articulate exactly how much The Crimson means to me. Where else is it my “job” to write reviews of my favorite TV shows? Where else can I get access to a press conference with Ryan Reynolds? Where else will I be given the resources to find stories and talk to fascinating artists?


I’m not too sure what the future holds, only that I want to be making art and writing. I’m lucky enough to have worked at USA TODAY for the past two summers doing those exact things, and that Harvard has given me the resources to pursue them in an academic context (talking about all the amazing courses I’ve been so lucky to take would require another 500 words). I don’t know where I’ll be after graduation (if you have any employment tips, please send them my way), but I hope it’ll be similar to the work I started at The Shield and continued at The Crimson, because I’ve never felt more at home doing anything else.


Liz Fu, 2015-2016

Liz currently attends the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She will be graduating in 2020.



I still remember the day that I signed up for The Dublin Shield. It was a hot, sunny day and I was an eager junior at Dublin High’s annual club fair looking for an outlet for my creativity. That was where I met that year’s Editor-in-Chief, Grace Li, and where I signed up for what would become an integral part of my high school years. I served as the Entertainment Editor my junior year and moved on to become the Editor-in-Chief my senior year.


Initially, I joined The Dublin Shield as an outlet for my creativity. In middle school, I enjoyed writing and graphic design and I wanted to continue developing those interests in high school. I started off as the Entertainment Editor, writing and editing articles about movies, music, and tv shows. At first, it was difficult for me to balance my school work and writing timely articles for the newspaper, but eventually I got the hang of balancing both. My senior year, I moved on to become the Editor-in-Chief and the work doubled. But for me, there is nothing that comes close to the elation of opening the boxes of prints fresh off the press and seeing them in person after weeks of hard work—a feeling that I can describe to be close to that of opening presents on Christmas day.


When I first took on my role as editor-in-chief, I struggled. I didn’t know if I was doing a good job or meeting the expectations of the staff writers and editors. Slowly, with the help of Mr. Aminian and the help and support of an amazing staff of writers (including Ashley Kim, this year’s Editor-in-Chief), The Dublin Shield blossomed.


That year taught me a lot about being a leader, multitasking, and managing projects of such a large scale, which has helped me a lot in college. I’m currently a rising junior at the University of Michigan studying user experience design and visual identity, and those skills have helped me immensely during my years in college.


Every aspect of developing the visual identity of a brand—from the logo to the typefaces and colors— is about creating a brand experience for customers, much like how user experience design is about designing with the user in mind, and much like how being the Editor-in-Chief wis about creating a publication with and for the students at Dublin High. In this way, my current study of user experience design and visual identity is a natural extension of the skills I developed during my time with The Dublin Shield.


Alexandra Stassinopoulos, 2016-2017 

Alex currently attends UC Berkeley. She will be graduating in 2021.



I started working as a writer at the Dublin Shield when I was a sophomore at DHS. Junior year I was world editor, and during my senior year I was editor-in-chief. Being editor-in-chief was one the best, yet most challenging parts of high school.


For me, my first interest in the newspaper was the writing; it was the joy of weaving quotes and paragraphs together in such a way that my article told a story. When the article was published, whether online or in print — but especially in print — there was nothing more rewarding than seeing a published copy of my work, with both the excitement and terror that came along with the fact that anyone could read it.


As I became involved in the newspaper’s leadership, there was a constant struggle between writing articles and meeting deadlines. For me, both were satisfying, but to my frustration there was only so many hours in the day.


For the first couple of months as editor-in-chief, there were times when I felt like I had no idea was I was doing, or how to bring the newspaper where we wanted it to be. But, meeting this struggle, more than anything else in high school, helped me grow as a person; I learned how to be a leader and how to manage a constantly on-going project that had — or so it felt to like it at the time — a hundred moving parts.


Over the course of my senior year, however, I learned to meet these challenges, with the help of the newspaper advisor Mr. Aminian, along with my wonderful team of editors and writers, many of whom still write for the Dublin Shield today; it really was the people, in the end, who made the hours of work and countless deadlines worth the struggle. When I graduated at the end of last year, I felt really proud not only about what I had accomplished, but also how far the newspaper as a whole had grown.  


This past fall, my first semester at UC Berkeley, it felt weird not to be working for a newspaper; I kept feeling like I was forgetting to do something important, and towards the end of the semester, I realized that that missing piece was writing articles — the joy of creating a story out of a handful of disconnected pieces. But even though it was too late for me to join the UC Berkeley’s student paper, The Daily Californian,  that semester, I realized that a lot of the skills I learned as an editor-in-chief had stuck with me. A group research paper? At least ten pages long? That was a piece of cake after a frantic dash to finish the final proofs for a print edition, hours, if not minutes, before it was due.

This semester, I decided to go for it and apply to the news department of The Daily Californian. I got a position as General Assignment reporter, or GA. I’m not going to lie and say the transition to a college paper was easy; there’s no way to prepare for writing two articles a week, both due the day they’re assigned. But, I know for sure I would not have been able to do it without the skills I learned at the Dublin Shield, especially the help and support I received along the way.


Ashley Kim, 2017-2018 

Ashley will be attending UCLA next fall. She will be graduating in 2022.



As I prepare to leave the unpredictable weather of Dublin for sunny Los Angeles, I’ve reflected on my experience as the Dublin Shield Editor-in-Chief. It has been an honor and privilege to serve as its Editor-in-Chief, and I’ve experienced what it is like to the leader of something far larger than myself.


Journalism is not a one-person effort. Every article on our website and print issue requires the commitment and dedication of our writers, editors, photographers, and layout staff. Many people define leadership as integrity or influence, but I believe that one of the most vital qualities of leadership is cooperation. Considering my newspaper as a team has led me to become close with many of its players, and I’ve realized that the person behind the article is as valuable, if not more, than the words they write on the page. Many of my writers are well-rounded, wonderful human beings, and it’s been marvelous to be their editor-in-chief and hopefully, their friend.


Inspired my all three of my past Editors-in-Chief, I’ve made the newspaper even more school-centered than it already has been. From choosing to focus on the various student protests to showcasing small clubs, my goal was to provide a voice for everyone on campus. I truly believe that my efforts were successful. Awareness of more of the happenings in Dublin have led to a genuine appreciation for the inner framework and miniscule details of my community.


Dublin has been my hometown since I was three years old. I’ve marched in six St. Patrick’s Day parades, tried samples from both the old and new location of Nothing Bundt Cakes, and borrowed countless books from the Alameda County Library. However, by being the editor-in-chief of the Dublin Shield, I’ve discovered so much more about Dublin. From the history behind the soccer league that my twin sister played in throughout elementary school to traditions like the Christmas tree lighting at the city center, I’ve realized how valuable the city is to its residents and honestly, to me.


After deciding between two of the best public universities in the nation, I have chosen to attend UCLA. I’m excited about the countless opportunities that being at UCLA will give me, and I’ve promised myself to continue writing for a publication in college. Moving to Southern California will be quite the adventure, with fascinating people to meet and amazing opportunities to take ahold of. Nevertheless, the far-fetched ideas, six April Fool’s articles, and countless late nights have redefined what I thought leadership and community was, and I know that the Dublin Shield and all of its memories will be in my heart during my time at college and beyond.