On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 9:34 a.m., the bell sounds at Berkeley High School. Students settle down in their second period classes as teachers turn on the projector and play the much beloved bulletin. The three to five-minute videos start with a song from diverse genres, transition into various announcements for clubs, school, or sports teams, and often end with fun interview segments. Though many teachers may not play the bulletin as instructed, every BHS student has seen and heard of the chiefs of publicity. But who are they? And what does it mean to be the chief of publicity?
As the majority of BHS students know, the school holds yearly student elections in which candidates for leadership positions are chosen. Election season has given way to several scandals and controversies, with 2023 even seeing poster-based smear campaigns.
One of the most competitive student leadership positions is the role of chief of publicity at BHS. Each year, the three who are elected work together to create what BHS knows as the bulletin, giving the student body helpful and fun information about upcoming events.
Ki’Donyae Bell is a BHS senior and one of the chiefs of publicity. To Bell, it is so much more than an extracurricular activity or a responsibility; it’s a way he can work with friends in a creative and friendship-strengthening way. “It was cool already knowing the people that I was working with,” said Bell about his fellow chiefs of publicity. “I think it strengthened our bonds … it allowed me to talk to them more and work out plans to do skits with them and stuff like that.”
Bell views himself as a fun and outgoing person, which is why his position as chief of publicity comes naturally to him. When asked about the workload and stress of his leadership role, Bell said “I think it just feels stressful. Like for me it feels stressful. But like in reality it’s not.”
Being the chief of publicity is almost akin to being the face of the school: everybody knows your face and sees it regularly. “Oh, you’re the guy from the bulletin. Some people call me the bulletin guy. Some people call me Bulletin Boy,” said Bell reflecting on the school-wide recognition due to his position. But according to Bell, the recognition isn’t necessarily negative. “Even teachers recognize me more,” he said. “They always come up to me and tell me how good I am doing in the bulletin and how entertaining the bulletins are.”
It’s easy to overlook the importance of the Bulletin and the people who produce it. Ultimately, it’s a core part of the Berkeley High experience that gives a voice to students and clubs with a message to be heard. The significance of the bulletin is encapsulated by Bell’s statement: “If you don’t make the bulletin, you don’t get the information out.”