Sophomore leads social justice club

Phan+leads+RSJ+meeting.

Phan leads RSJ meeting.

Natalie Morel, Reporter

After a long school day, students walk into the social studies common area as Anthea Phan is starting a meeting for the club she runs, the Restorative Social Justice Club (RSJ). The students are discussing what their next monthly presentation will be about, as they’ve just finished their first one of the year. Phan leads the club and shares her ideas for the presentation. She listens to the other members as they give their ideas, she gives them feedback and shares her own opinions on what they have said. 

Sophomore Anthea Phan does everything from playing in the band to taking honors precalculus. Once school is over, she runs RSJ and is also a member of Spectrum and Students Demand Action. Along with all of this, she is a member of the tech team for Revere Players. She was the head of the lightboard for the play RHS put on earlier this school year, Radium Girls. 

Phan started RSJ about a year ago. She explained what exactly the club does. 

“We do a presentation monthly of any sort of social topic, and it’s sort of a way for us to educate students on it, start up a discussion and bring the topic into the light. We talk about topics that are over-stigmatized, not talked about or things that are pushed down and put into the shadows. We open up people to things going on and we educate them and then they can take it in or they don’t, our job is just to educate them,” Phan said. 

Phan said that although sometimes running the club can be difficult, educating people is really rewarding. She said that some of her favorite presentations they have put on are ones on mental health and sexism. 

“It’s really rewarding when you actually get through a good presentation. . . . We had done a mental health one that was amazing, and our sexism one in March was also really great. Those two, especially the mental health one, were really good. Once you put on a good presentation it’s so rewarding to see people talking about it, discussing what you’re talking about and asking questions about it,” she said.

She also spoke about how she enjoys watching other people take in what the club has taught them and have their own conversations and opinions on it. 

“Probably the best part is when you have two people who disagree and they’re talking to each other about it. They’re understanding their side and just educating each other,” she said. 

Bonnie Simonelli, the adviser of RSJ, said that she likes the club because it educates students on their differences. 

“I loved the idea because there was nothing else like it that we had been involved with before at the high school,” she said. 

Simonelli also spoke about what she likes about Anthea as the president of the club. 

“She’s a very good leader, she has a lot of great ideas. . . . I really feel like Anthea keeps doing a lot of good work trying to open up people’s ideas and minds about the differences of people and that differences aren’t so scary,” she said. 

Julia Grandon, a member of RSJ and close friend of Phan, spoke about her feelings on it. 

“I think the whole club was a great idea; it stands for so much and it does a lot of really good things,” she said. 

When Phan isn’t running RSJ, she is helping out with Revere Players on the tech team. She says that one of the reasons she decided to join tech is because last year, her sister was also in it. She was the head of the lightboard and Phan was the assistant. 

“My sister graduated last year and she used to do the lightboard and I was the lightboard assistant last year for the musical. . . . And then on top of that I really liked working on the lightboard more than sound,” she said. 

Phan is also in the marching band and concert band at RHS. For the marching band, she plays the tenor saxophone and for the concert band she just recently started playing the bassoon after Darren LeBeau, the band director, asked her to. 

“I never played the bassoon before, this is my first time ever playing it. I think now I’ve been playing it for about four months. Still not the best at it, but Dr. LeBeau asked me if I wanted to play it last year for this year. And I said sure,” she said. 

Phan said that one of her favorite things about marching band is getting close with the other students. She mentioned how her favorite memory is at her first competition. Her and a few other students were acting very seriously and could not contain their excitement when they found out they had received a one (one being the highest rating you can get). 

“We were full on expecting to get a two because it was a pretty bad performance, at that point we just didn’t care so every time a score or placing was announced, me and a few other people would sit there with our legs in duchess style and we’d clap a dainty clap and say stuff like ‘Cheerio.’ And then when we got a one, we screamed because we were so happy, and then we were like no this has to be graceful,” Phan said. 

With all of this Phan also has her own hobbies that she does when she is not at school. She mentioned how she likes to read, knit and crochet. She also talked about how she is really interested in true crime stories and unsolved cases. 

“I have a thing for unsolved cases . . . fifth grade to eighth grade I was obsessed with Marilyn Monroe’s death. It was just a thing, I know it like the back of my hand,” she said. 

Although Phan spends a lot of her time studying and doing schoolwork, she still finds time to do activities she loves. She will soon begin working on her next presentation for RSJ with the other members of the club and start performing with the concert band.