Joe Mathews writes for Zócalo Public Square about two of his classmates — and former fellow newspaper editors — at a private Pasadena high school, both of whom have been mentioned as a possible future U.S. Supreme Court justice.  Their names appear on opposing shortlists, however, making their potential nominations dependent on the outcome of this year’s presidential election.  Despite this, Mathews shares a common apprehension:  “When I turn on the news and see the toxic stew of American politics and the ugliness of a court confirmation hearing, I’m filled with fear for any friend of mine who might be thrust into such awfulness.”

One of the classmates is California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger.  Mathews describes Kruger in high school and her work on the school paper:

[Kruger] was . . . cool and calm . . . .  One of the youngest people in her class, she could be funny and gossipy with friends, but she chose her words with great care, which made you listen more closely.

Leondra was deeply interested in the world outside Poly’s cloistered gates.  She wrote for us about a Poly student who had left to go to public school and interviewed local teachers about California’s problems with education.  As editor-in-chief, she published smart pieces about the school’s library, diversity, drugs, and even student sex.  She also gracefully handled all the stories about the most traumatic event in our school’s life:  the shooting death of a beloved student, Ochari D’Aiello, during summer break.

The Paw Print became smarter and more serious, with sharper editing and shorter stories, once Leondra took over.  She ruled by consensus, in The Paw Print tradition, but had a strong backbone—she didn’t back down when people complained about coverage. When one student-contributor complained about his piece being cut, she replied:  “When it comes to writers, sometimes people think their articles will only reflect on them, but in The Paw Print articles reflect on the newspaper as a whole.”


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