Changing Lives and Impacting Futures



Courtesy of @official_mhs_renaissance

Isabel Corona, Staff Writer

You’ve probably heard the name renaissance around the school. Maybe on posters, announcements and in whispers as you pass by the hall. But do you even know what Renaissance really is about? 


“Renaissance is about letting people know that we see them; that they matter”, says the Renaissance supervisor, Mrs. Castaneda.

The whole purpose of renaissance is to guide students and to ultimately be there for them. As Mrs. Castaneda put it, “We focus on student success”. “We want to recognize their hard work and just want to make sure they’re appreciated, which is why we do birthday buttons”. This is an admirable aspect of the group’s motives. They even take the time to acknowledge the staff’s dedication to cultivating student’s educational abilities by awarding them. What a great way to make teachers feel embraced by the students. 

The exceptional club has been around for a long time. Mrs. Castaneda beamed as she talked about her part in Renaissance. She’s been involved “since the beginning”, she exclaimed.

There are about 48 students in renaissance and are split up into groups with different jobs each week. Aram Mhassen clarified and said, “Each group in Renaissance has a specified task, which always contributes to the well-being of students and the school”. Daniel Sanchez explains their responsibilities as they partake in “quad cleanup, where we aid the custodians in maintaining a well kept environment”. “We do Cav of the week as we acknowledge our wonderful students and staff”. “The club hands out birthday buttons to celebrate our fellow peers as well as staff”. “We also help out in the student store by working and restocking items”. Another thing they do is put a spotlight onto the students of Montclair on Instagram as they “share fun facts about them and get to know each other”, says Sanchez. A great description by one of the club members. 

Mhassen adds on by saying, “Throughout the year, we do posters to encourage students”. “For example, we made posters to encourage and remind seniors to ‘get money for FAFSA’ or to ‘get those college apps’”. “More importantly, we make posters for months such as Suicide Prevention Month in which we wrote chalk-inspired words over the school”. “We even made a tree of students hands”. “At the end of the year, we have a rally for the students and staff as we acknowledge their academic accomplishments”. Well said by the president of Renaissance. Mrs.Castaneda also went on to say, “We make these posters to make sure people know they aren’t alone”. 

Hearing everything this group does for the school reveals the exemplary attributes of these students and their praiseworthy goals. It’s commendable how much renaissance cares for the campus and in cultivating the best environment possible. With this in mind such a club is integral in the school’s success. Mrs. Castaneda puts it like this: “It’s important for the school to have a renaissance because it helps to shape the culture of the school”. Mhassen states, “Renaissance is here for the students; if they need a safe place or someone to hear them”. “We let people know, especially the students, that we are always on their side”.

With the deep appreciation students and staff receive from Renaissance, it enables a cheerful atmosphere, where people are happy to be here. Mhassen continues on by saying, “Renaissance works towards impacting futures positively and hoping it can change someone’s life for the better”. When discussing the qualities a renaissance student should have, Mrs. Castaneda explained, “We take any type of student”. She elaborated by saying, “They just need to have a good heart and be willing to make a change”. “We’re just looking for somebody who wants to make a difference and wants to change the school in a positive way”

Natalie Castaneda recognized her experience in Renaissance as “nothing short of a blessing that has given me memories to last a lifetime”. Sanchez’s response is similar to that of Castaneda’s as he says, “Everyday I look forward to going to class and seeing everyone with a smile”. 

What most don’t realize is how deeply rooted Renaissance is in the school. This club lingers in the hallways as we walk by their creative posters meant for us. They come into our classrooms to sing happy birthday and highlight everyone’s achievements. They help make the school a better place.

Mhassen says with warm regards, “Renaissance is here for you”.